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All-veteran prep officiating crew saluted on Veterans Day

Three high school playoff games were scheduled in Southern Nevada on Veterans Day. So it seemed appropriate that one should have a lineup consisting solely of veterans.

Veteran football officials. As well as veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces.

The referee for the Silverado-Coronado 4A semifinal was retired Marines Sgt. Maj. John Hathaway. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Tim Kiefer was the umpire, Marines Staff Sgt. Tim Harris the head linesman, Army 1st Sgt. Alan Hennig the line judge, Air Force Tech. Sgt. Stan Ward the back judge, Army Sgt. 1st Class John Longo the field judge and Air Force Master Sgt. Dex High the side judge.

The sideline chain gang was comprised of Marines Master Sgt. Charles Coffman, Army Sgt. 1st Class Randy Crawford, Navy Sonar Tech 2nd Class Karega McCollum and Air Force Lt. Col. Larry Austin.

Up in the press box, Air Force Sgt. Richard Mumford and Air Force Tech. Sgt. Robert Steele manned the clock. Army Sgt. Gordon Washington recorded penalties and completed the crew.

Between them, the 14 veterans (10 now retired) have accumulated 262 years of military experience. The number of illegal procedure and roughing the passer calls they are responsible for is anybody’s guess.

“I have a big place in my heart for veterans because military service has been such a big part of my life,” said referee Hathaway, 65, who spent 27 years in the Marines.

He even owes his officiating career to the armed forces. His debut as a referee came at a flag football game featuring the embassies of Germany and West Africa in Bamako on Mali when Hathaway was stationed overseas.

The El Paso, Texas, native couldn’t have been more proud when the veterans wearing zebra stripes were announced by name, rank and service branch before Friday night’s game. Each was applauded and stood a little taller during the the national anthem, he said.

“We do that to bring honor to veterans,” said Hathaway, a Southern Nevada Officials Association member since 1997. “But when the game starts, it’s all about the kids.”

Around the horn

— Bruce Rollinson, the legendary coach at Mater Dei in Santa Ana, California, the nation’s top-ranked high school football team, has announced his resignation at the end of the season.

Rollinson, 73, has a record of 344-86-3 at the school (with three wins against Bishop Gorman, including a 24-21 victory on Sept. 26) He has coached Heisman Trophy winners Bryce Young of Alabama and Matt Leinert of Southern California but has come under scrutiny recently when a Mater Dei player suffered injuries in a hazing incident.

— Former Gorman quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson explained on Jim Rome’s radio show this week how not declaring for the NFL draft aided his progression at UCLA and as a human being.

“Yeah, I could go right now, but how much better could I be using this extra year of college that I get to be around these guys that I built something with … as well as my personal benefits of learning how to be a grown-up and getting my degree,” he said of his decision to return to school.

— This year’s Gorman football team got even with Liberty’s Andre Porter in a 56-14 victory in Friday’s 5A Southern Region football championship game. Porter, who caught three passes for 74 yards and rushed three times for 15 yards, was a member of the Patriots’ basketball team that ended the Gaels’ run of nine consecutive state titles in last year’s dramatic championship game.

Astute fans may recall that Porter sank a basket at the end of regulation that would have won the game for Liberty. But it was ruled to have occurred after the buzzer sounded, forcing an overtime period in which Liberty prevailed.


— NASCAR is going to have a float in the Tournament of Roses parade, to call attention to its 75th season. Formula One is going to have an armored car, to call attention to how much money it is going to haul off from the ticket-buying public in its return to Las Vegas.

Contact Ron Kantowski at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

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