No number on football player

Football players often don't wear numbers during high-school football scrimmage games. (Photo by Deb Kolt)

Ever been to a high-school football scrimmage and try to figure out which player is which? That very often can be a challenge.

  The thing about scrimmage games is there is no real organization of players, as far as them wearing correct roster numbers. Some don’t even wear numbers, just blank jerseys.

Making the challenge harder is rosters aren’t provided at scrimmages.

Some teams might have multiple players wearing the same numbers. Or, uniform numbers are all jumbled about. A player who normally wears, say, No. 18 for his regular-season jersey could instead be sporting a No. 35, or something else, during those scrimmage contests.

Some players have their last names taped to the upper front portions of their helmets, but maybe just a few of those. So what is that all about? Are those second- or third-string players or something?

For any outsiders, even for coaches in some situations, it’s definitely quite hard to figure out who is who, with usually the exception of the quarterback position. They most often aren’t hidden in disguise and wear their proper numbers.

Also, starting players most often play at least the first two quarters, but almost never an entire game.

As for a newspaper photographer trying to find out correct identification information for any photos taken during those scrimmages, good luck. Sometimes a photographer literally will have to ask the specific player, or their parents, for their names and the correct spellings. That has happened more than once.

The actual play of a high-school football scrimmage, sometimes also used as a training ground for new referees, is usually pretty well-organized and not difficult to follow.

But the player identification portion of such action is most often totally chaotic.

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