A New Jersey high school spent the entire 2018 season without tackling a single teammate in practice. The result was a state title. Now, other coaches are trying to determine if that’s the best way forward.
As reported by the Washington Post, the Ramapo (N.J.) High School football program mapped out the entire 2018 season without players participating in any self-tackling drills. Yes, players “wrapped” each other up, but the ultimate sin was considered dropping a teammate to the turf when participating in the man-on-man contact drill.
At the end of a long 2018 campaign, Ramapo was not only a state champion, but the first to win 13 undefeated in the history of New Jersey sports. Just two Ramapo players suffered concussions during the 2018 season as well, something Ramapo coach Drew Gibbs has held up as a monumental success.
According to the Washington Post, Gibbs was essential in inspiring New Jersey to pass new, much more strident practice limitations for the 2019 season.
Gibbs can’t help other teams become “shoulder tackling” teams, but he does hope they take notice of what Ramapo has achieved and at least consider following suit.
“I think the benefits a young man gets from playing high school football, they outweigh the risk and certainly balance the risks off,” Gibbs told the Post. “We’ve made the game even safer than it’s ever been.
“If you don’t feed the dog all week, he’s hungry on Friday nights.”