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High School Sports Blog

The latest news and analysis on high-school sports around the Seattle area

December 29, 2008 at 5:39 PM

Football team goes whole season without punting

Sounds like how I play Madden, but it’s true.

Pulaski Academy coach Kevin Kelley elected to go for it on every fourth down this season. The result? An Arkansas 5A state championship.

Now obviously having a talented team makes the decision easier, but what are your thoughts on never punting — no matter how close you are to your own endzone?

“You can just tell people are in the stands thinking, ‘You’re an idiot,’ ” Kelley said.

Kelly implemented his no-punting scheme after the second game of the ’07 season, when his Bruins allowed an 80-yard punt return after what was surely an agonizing call. Pulaski only punted twice that season, the other time was to keep a score from getting too lopsided.

The article goes on to address the impact on play-calling (e.g. third down becomes less of a pass-exclusive down). The strategy also requires a great deal of preparation by an opposing defense leading into the game.

Kelly also justifies his playcalling by using odds (the odds his team will convert, the odds the opposing team will score given a certain field position, etc). This also appears to explain his love for the onside kick, which he does 75% of the time.

Football is a sport that has continually reinvented itself: the forward pass, the West Coast offense, the spread and the A-11 formation as a couple examples. Do you think punting is being phased out of the game?

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