Welcome to “Official View,” a weekly feature on the MHSAA’s Second Half website designed to deliver must-know information to Michigan’s 10,000 high school officials – while also showing administrators, athletes and fans a slice of the officiating life from those in the avocation.
Each edition will include a rule of the week, present an “It’s Your Call” segment, keep our officials up to date on important news and notices and provide a behind-the-scenes glance at officials making our games possible.
It’s Your Call
SOCCER In the video clip below, a player takes control of the ball in the area at the top of the goal box and behind two defending players and fires a shot toward the net. Is this player offside?
(Click the video play button below; you'll then need to click again to view on YouTube, starting at 2:20 and ending at 2:39.)
You make the call: No, the player is not offside. The ball was last played by an opponent – in this case through the air on a header – and the player receiving the ball only would’ve been off-side if receiving the ball from a teammate. Rule 11-4-1b (included paragraph).
Rule of the Week
VOLLEYBALL The right-side hitter on Team S spikes the ball to the opposing side floor for a point. As she comes back to the ground following her leap, she both strikes the net and steps completely across the center line. The ball touches the floor before the hitter lands.
Ruling: This is a legal point. In order for either violation to be called, the ball must still be in play.
Deadline for Tournament Consideration Requirements: Both the 2018-19 Rules Meeting and the Sport Rules Exams must be completed by Sept. 13. Check your Rules Meeting and Rules Exam status on MHSAA.com by logging in, clicking “Official Services” and then selecting the links for Exams and Rules Meetings.
If you haven’t already, get your current season schedules into the MHSAA and confirm your MIGS (Member in Good Standing) status on the MHSAA website to make certain you are eligible for postseason consideration. You must complete all of the above requirements to ensure your eligibility.
In the photo at the top of this edition, pilot Dean Lefebrve flies his football crew to its Week 2 varsity game, Negaunee at Calumet. The crew also included, just above, Dean Nelson, Rich Lundholm, Paul Angeli and Andrew Lewis.
Separated by 527 travel miles – whether over Mackinac Bridge or around Lake Michigan, the Novara family celebrated nearly parallel football successes this fall.
At Portland, John Novara completed his 25th season as head coach leading the Raiders to a 12-1 record – their best since finishing Division 5 runner-up in 2018, and a second-straight Capital Area Activities Conference White championship on the way to reaching the Division 4 Semifinals.
At Kingsford, fifth-year coach Mark Novara led the Flivvers to a 10-2 record – their best since posting the same in 2004. Kingsford shared the Western Peninsula Athletic Conference Copper title and won a Division 5 District title, its first District championship since 2009.
John Novara graduated from Iron Mountain in 1989, and younger brother Mark graduated from Kingsford in 1993.
Similarly parallel, both teams were quarterbacked by Novaras. Dominic Novara directed the Raiders’ attack, and cousin Nic Novara led the Flivvers. Both are juniors. (Mark Novara was a Division III All-American at quarterback at Lakeland College in Wisconsin.)
One more connection: Portland athletic director Kevin Veale quarterbacked the Iron Mountain teams with John Novara as tight end long before they worked together downstate. Veale’s nephew Garrett Veale was a standout two-way lineman for Mark Novara and Kingsford this fall.
Small gesture, memorable connection
Dante DeGrazia’s senior season was sadly short-lived this fall, as he suffered a season-ending injury during the first half of South Lyon East’s opening game against White Lake Lakeland at Michigan Stadium.
But an official provided a memory the DeGrazias will not forget.
Chris Curtis had begun his 16th season as an official earlier that day at U-M, and stuck around to watch the Lakes Valley Conference matchup. A month later, he was officiating the East/Warren Mott game, and made sure to check in with DeGrazia – a small gesture, but a meaningful one as well and another reminder of the interconnectedness of communities within educational athletics.
“When he heard my son wasn't able to play anymore, needed surgery and that he was a senior, he offered him kindness and a hug on the field,” Dante’s mother Dana DeGrazia wrote to East athletic director Greg Michaels. “As a parent whose son is going through a rough time dealing with losing his senior season, hearing this story from Dante means a lot to me and the support that was given to him and I wanted to reach out and tell him thank you.”
PHOTOS (Top) Kingsford football coach Mark Novara, far left, quarterback Nic Novara and Portland coach (and uncle) John Novara celebrate the Flivvers' District title. (Middle) South Lyon East's Dante DeGrazia (33) and official Chris Curtis meet for a quick hug during East's Week 5 game. (Photos courtesy of the Portland football program and DeGrazia family, respectively.)