Officials get title game

More often than not, football officials make headlines for what they did wrong. A missed call here, an inadvertent whistle there and before long, a picture of a zebra-clad crew appears in the paper.

For a local group of high school football officials however, publicity is resulting from what was done wrong, but rather, from what was done right.

After several years of outstanding work on local football fields, a crew composed of local officials Don Haley, Arlo Rob, Toby McCoy, Charlie Rosenbaum and Dwayne Dale was selected to officiate two high school playoff games, as well as the Colorado 1A state title game on Nov. 23.

Pitting 1A football powers Paonia and Centauri against one another, the title game, which was won by Paonia 32-24, turned out to be a well-officiated contest.

“It was probably the best game that I ever worked,” said long-time umpire Arlo Rob. “The whole atmosphere and the whole thing about it was great.”

“For me, it was just like being a kid,” added head linesman Toby McCoy. “It was just as exciting for me to be there as an official as it was for those kids. I enjoyed every minute of it.”

Combining 116 years worth of total experience, the five-man crew’s passion for the game is clearly evident and throughout the title game,the crew’s experience paid off.

“We’ve done so many games together,” said line judge Charlie Rosenbaum. “The big thing is that we have great communication.”

Asked whether they would all be returning next season, the Cortez crew looked at one another before smiling and agreeing that they would.

“Working with these kids is a lot of fun,” said back judge Dwayne Dale. “I think that we’re helping these young boys with another life lesson through the game. What we’re trying to do is to teach them to be respectful in their interactions with people.”

A valuable lesson indeed and for the longtime officiating crew, working a Colorado state title game proved to be an extremely rewarding experience.