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Tuesday, September 19, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Sideline Smitty

Too many men on the field? Depends on geography, opinion

Seattle Times staff reporter

Q: When a high-school team from Washington plays in British Columbia, is 11-man or 12-man football played? I know that the pro Canadian Football League plays 12-man football. What do Canadian colleges play?

A: British Columbia is the only province in Canada that plays 11-man football with United States rules, according to John Buchanan, president of the B.C. Secondary School Football Association.

Canadian colleges play 12-man football, which helps prepare players for the CFL.

The 12-man Canadian game is more wide open than U.S. football. There are three instead of four downs, the field is longer and wider, and up to four men can be moving at the snap and they can be going forward.

We're all married to American football, but if you arrived from Pluto with an open mind and had to choose one form of football over the other, you might just pick the Canadian brand.

Q: What is the NCAA Clearinghouse? A college recruiter asked me about it and I didn't know what he was talking about.

A: The clearinghouse is a branch of the NCAA that determines whether a prospective Division I or Division II athlete has met the NCAA-mandated minimum high-school academic requirements.

The main thing the clearinghouse does is check to make sure the boy or girl took and passed the required number of "core" subjects.

The clearinghouse will issue a "preliminary" certification of the athlete during his or her senior year after examining the athlete's transcript and planned course load for the final semester. It will issue a "final" certification after graduation once the final transcript is reviewed. All transcripts are sent directly by high schools to the NCAA to avoid possible tampering.

Getting cleared by the clearinghouse doesn't guarantee admission to any Division I (such as University of Washington or WSU) or Division II (Western Washington or Central Washington) school.

But if you don't get certified by the clearinghouse, you can't play. It's that simple.

Q: What is the state 11-man rushing record? Micah Lape of Skyview of Vancouver ran for 415 yards and scored four touchdowns in a 34-16 win over Hudson's Bay this month.

A: The record of 471 yards is held by two players: Danny Wilm of Steilacoom (2003) and Easton Johnson of Hazen (2005).

Q: Among the state's big schools, which do you think are the most recognizable nicknames?

A: I go with Richland Bombers, Lake Washington Kangaroos and Kentwood Conquerors.

Bombers is one of a kind, and also controversial because the school has a mushroom cloud painted on its gym floor. Plutonium used in the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, to hasten the end of World War II came from Hanford, just north of Richland.

Every Bombers grad I've met has been proud of the nickname. When I've introduced Richland grads at a social occasion and said, "Barry, Bill was a Bomber, too," you'd think I was introducing long-lost relatives.

Kangaroos shortens nicely to "Kangs" as in the Kirkland slogan "Once a Kang, always a Kang." Conquerors shortens to "Conks," which the students seem to prefer. It has helped that Kentwood has won some major titles this decade and "Conks" has appeared in headlines.

Q: I hail from Sturgis, S.D., where the high-school football team just snapped a 79-game losing streak. What's the Washington record for consecutive football losses?

A: Tyee High School lost 46 straight games from 1988 to 1993.

Have a question about high-school sports? Craig Smith will find the answer every Tuesday in The Times. Voice mail (206-464-8279), snail mail (Craig Smith, Seattle Times Sports, P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111) or e-mail csmith@seattletimes.com.

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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