No ‘Dirty Birds’ found in Natchez on Friday nights

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 9, 2000

The Mile-High Salute. The Dirty Bird. The Ickey Shuffle. The Lambeau Leap. The Bob and Weave. Professional football players have never had a problem expressing their emotions after scoring a touchdown.

Where the problem lies, at least for referees, is where to draw the line between a healthy expression of joy and an excessive taunting of the other team.

The same problem is faced by high school referees and players.

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&uot;I think the rules are too strict sometimes,&uot; said Trinity lineman Chad Barnes. &uot;It’s gotten to the point that you can’t be happy after a touchdown.

&uot;I mean you can, but you have to do it in secret, because you’re afraid you’ll get caught,&uot; he said.

It is up to the referee to decide what is allowed and what isn’t, said Ferriday head coach James McFarland.

&uot;Anything can be a penalty,&uot; he said. &uot;You can jump around, or maybe spike the ball, but anything they think is excessive celebration they can call.&uot;

And the penalty is a hefty one — a personal foul worth 15 yards, the maximum distance penalty in high school football.

&uot;We had a penalty call like that against us when we played Winnsboro,&uot; McFarland said.

Brent Swilley, an offensive lineman for the Adams County Christian School Rebels, said the rules are a little too strict for his taste.

&uot;It’s a game. Why not celebrate?&uot; he said. &uot;If you make a touchdown, you should be able to celebrate a little. Just don’t over do it.&uot;

If players would do just that — use a little restraint — there would be no need for such rules, McFarland said.

&uot;If you score on an opponent, they already feel bad,&uot; he said. &uot;You don’t need to make them feel any worse.&uot;

McFarland said there’s nothing wrong with a rule that helps players remember their manners.

&uot;It’s a good rule,&uot; he said. &uot;You should show class at every level of the game, but especially at the high school level.&uot;

Despite being flagged once for violating the excessive celebration rule, the coach of the undefeated Trojans said his team has no trouble complying.

&uot;We want to show we’ve been there before,&uot; McFarland said. &uot;We typically hand the ball back to the refs and go back to the huddle to do what we’ve got to do.

&uot;Our guys are used to scoring touchdowns.&uot;