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Monday, November 23, 2020




Bob Petras Sr.

First Down Markers—toboggans, ball caps, jackets and sometimes houses placed strategically anywhere from ten to fifty yards apart, depending upon the length of the sandlot.


Regulation Kicking Tees—The elevated toe of one fearless and sometimes stub-fingered placekick holder and occasionally a divot dug out with the heel of the kicker’s Converses.


The versatile toboggan, used as first down markers, penalty flags, footballs  and sometimes helmets.

Two-hand Tab—A supposedly non-contact version of sandlot football, played on Sundays by players wearing their Sunday clothes.


One-hand-after-the-other Rule—In two-hand tab, the tackler’s hands must simultaneously touch the ball carrier for the tackle to count.


I’ll-take-my-ball-and-go-home Rule—The undiplomatic leverage by a player who has sole ownership of the sole football used during a sandlot game, usually invoking this rule on a disputed one-hand-after-the-other rule.


Halftime—Communion services at St. Francis when Father Cappelli turned to face the altar and one hundred and three boys would spill out the back of the church.


Next-touchdown-wins Rule—Usually cried when mothers and sisters caterwauled “Supper!” from back porches, though occasionally invoked by a team trailing by six or more touchdowns.

Blitz—Designated pass rusher, eligible to rush qb after counting out loud a cadence of three to five Mississippis, not skipping a syllable. 


Safety—A defensive back positioned a medium of 40 yards away from the line of scrimmage, often manned by a player needing a rest or a smoke.


Touchback—Not to be confused with the safety.  A touchback is called when a kick returner fails to move the football out of his own end zone, whether by running or by passing, the kickoff team awarded anywhere from ¼ to two points.


Toboggan—a knitted wool cap often used as first down markers, though occasionally substituted for footballs after the I’ll-take-my-football-home Rule has been invoked.


New One—Option of kick returning team if it does not like a punt or a kickoff, even an onside kick, and has an unlimited number of them.


Hiker—The offensive player who hikes the football to the quarterback.  He could be anyone on the line or the quarterback himself, picking up the ball or toboggan from the ground.


Punt Pass—Option to use a forward pass  instead of your foot to punt.


Punt Check—Call by hiker-punt-passer to make designated pass rusher stand ten yards back and spell Mississippi.

Designated Pass Rusher—A great pass rusher has the legs of a cheetah and the lip speed of a country auctioneer.


Time-Outs—Unlimited number of them with no duration limits, unless one team strategically calls “No More Time-outs!”


Steady Quarterback—Sandlot rule that allows the use of the same qb on both teams, usually invoked when an odd number of players shows up or the kid simply was still wearing his Sunday clothes after sneaking out of church at halftime, or has a leg in a cast, the injury suffered from a previous sandlot game.


Trick Play—Wide receiver feigning to limp with a broken leg and then sprinting past an unsuspecting safety playing sixty yards deep while puffing on a Lucky Strike, or a running back executing the old hidden toboggan trick.


Piling On—Occasion when players on both offense and defense avalanche upon a dude for behavior unbefitting the gentlemanly game of sandlot football.  

About the author:  Bob Petras Sr. is a graduate of Toronto High School and West Liberty University.  His single season record of 16 quarterback sacks still stands after 50 years as does his career total of 27.  He went on to play on scholarship with the Young Thundering Herd featured in the Matthew McConaughey film "We Are Marshall."  He has never been in Mississippi and preferred  playing safety on the sandlots.

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