Lions meeting

Marshall Lions Club member Robert Wood, left, welcomed guest speaker Mac Abney, center, a retired CPA and referee for high school football and volleyball to the club’s recent meeting. Also pictured is Jerry Pye, publisher at the Marshall News Messenger, at right.

The Marshall Lions Club met Sept. 3 at the Panola-Harrison meeting room, 410 E. Houston. A lunch of deep-fried catfish was served by Catfish Express Catering.

Vice-President Robert Wood called the meeting to order and welcomed Lions with a reminder to turn off or silence cellphones. Lion Robert asked Lion Ken Poindexter to open the meeting with prayer, followed the Pledges of Allegiance to the U.S. and Texas flags led by Lion Dudley Swofford.

“Little Brown Church in the Vale” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic” were sung with gusto, led by song leader Lion Alan Grantham, accompanied on the piano by Lion Stacy Bowen.

Lion Tamer Patrick Owens was absent and Lion Robert welcomed all to the meeting. Guests included Donna Lane, spouse of Lion Stephen Lane, and Jerry Pye, publisher of the Marshall News Messenger, who talked to Lions about the upcoming East Texas Taco Fest, taking place Sept. 14 on the Peter Whetstone Square.

“There will be great fun for the whole family with a Kids Zone, Salsa Dance lessons and a Jalapeno pepper eating contest,” Pye said. Jerry had a sign-up sheet for Lions to participate.

The count in the Den is 24. The Thought for the Day is: “One small positive thought in the morning can change the entire outcome of your day!”

Tail Twister Chris Horsley levied some fines on several Lions still picked on Lions Dorthie Craig and Jimmie Van Norden for getting Lions to add to the Lions Camp Cans. Lion Jimmie told him there were lots of children counting on us to keep the camp up and running. He fined Lion Paul for being late.

Lion Chris said the celebrations this week include his, Lion Fuzzy Harmon and Lion Chuck Abma’s birthdays and the wedding anniversary of Lion Terri Brown and her husband, Ross. Lion Chris appointed Lion Harold Raines to lead the club in singing our “Happy Song” to them.

Marshall Lions will have a team for the Marshall/Harrison County Literacy Council’s Annual Spelling Bee on Sept. 13. Lions Cody Holloway and P.A. Almquist, along with Gayle Westmoreland, wife of Lion Dare Westmoreland, will try to win the trophy for us.

VP Wood introduced the program in the absence of the program chair for September, Lion Tim Young.

Lion Robert told Lions that he was sure most Lions either knew Mac or new “of” him, and introduced Mac Abney, local retired CPA and referee for high school football and volleyball.

He and his wife Claudia, also a CPA, are parents of a son and daughter and have several grandchildren. He has been very active in the life of Marshall.

Mac related that he has been a referee for many years in high school football. He says referees must have training each year to learn the changes in the rules.

A major emphasis for officials this year is “blind-side blocks.” To be legal, blocks must be made in the opponent’s field of vision and be above the waist. Officials should also be flagging hits on players who are trailing a play and obviously out of the action.

Abney reported that the Texas High School Coaches Association expressed concern to the UIL and the Texas Association of Sports Officials (TASO) that targeting fouls were not being flagged because officials did not want to disqualify players.

This year, the UIL has designated two types of targeting fouls. Flagrant targeting fouls, where the crown of the helmet is used to punish an opponent, defenders contact a defenseless opponent in the head or neck area or defenders are launching at an opponent and not playing the ball will result in player disqualification along with a 15-yard penalty.

Since high school does not have instant replay, non-flagrant targeting fouls will result in a 15-yard penalty but not a disqualification when the officiating crew is not in 100% agreement that the foul is flagrant. A player is disqualified if he receives two non-flagrant targeting fouls during the game.

Mack informed Lions that this season, Texas high school football will include the NCAA 10-second runoff provision. Inside the last minute of either half, if there is a foul that stops the clock, such as a false start, defensive offside with contact, illegal forward pass, injury or helmet coming off the opposing team will have the option of taking the penalty yardage and taking a 10-second runoff.

The fouling team can “buy” the time back by taking a timeout. If the offended team declines the penalty yardage, they lose the option of taking the 10-second runoff. If the foul occurs with less than 10-seconds remaining in the half or game, the foul could end the half or game.

On kickoffs, the illegal wedge rule has been changed. Now, if two players position themselves shoulder to shoulder, it will be a foul with a 15-yard penalty from the spot where the wedge was formed. It is not a foul when a wedge is formed on an onside kick, fair catch, kick out of bounds or on a kick that ends in a touchback. The wording on a leaping foul (where a defender not on the line of scrimmage runs up to the line of scrimmage and leaps to block a kick) has been changed to an “apparent” kick play.

Lastly, in overtime games, after the second and fourth extra periods, teams will be given a two-minute mandatory break period. Also, starting in the fifth extra period, a team’s possession will be one play at the 3-yard line (unless relocated by penalty).

Mac answered several questions before closing with the final rule change — there is a two-minute rest period after 2 overtime periods. Several said they were now in the mood for Friday night football!

VP Wood thanked Abney for his interesting and informative program and presented him with a Lions writing pen. Lion Wood asked Lion James Thompson to close with prayer and adjourned the meeting.