Officials From District 2 Selected To Work Class 2A State Final
When the yellow flag comes out of the pocket, flies through the air and lands somewhere in the field of play, a football official understands that in the court of public opinion, only 50 percent of the fans in the stands are going to agree with the decision that was made.
That is the life of a football official. And while the goal for any official is to be able to walk off the field at the end of the game and not be recognized, there comes a time when being recognized has its benefits.
For seven District 2 officials, this afternoon’s Class 2A state championship game between Southern Columbia and Wilmington is one of them. Because after working district and state playoff games, they received their reward: being selected to work the state final. Something only 42 officials across the state can say.
Chuck Suppon, Dave Novrocki, Frank Galicki, Chris Barnic, Rodney Williams, Steve Grzymski and Ray Boyton all graded out well enough through the postseason to earn the honor to officiate in Hershey this afternoon at 1. For Suppon and Galicki, it will be their second state championship game, having worked the 2006 title game featuring Terelle Pryor and Jeannette.
For the others, this is their first opportunity. Suppon, Novrocki, Galicki, Barnic and Grzymski are Wyoming Valley Conference officials.
“It really means a lot, this is what you work hard for,” said Suppon, who will wear the white hat today. “To get to a final, look at it. There are 500 school districts across the state, just public. That is not counting the charter and private schools. It is a huge honor.”
For an official to be considered to officiate in a state game, he must first be recommended by the league assignor through the district committee. From there, they are evaluated in the postseason, and must have officiated a certain amount of varsity games as well as participate in the PIAA education convention that is held every five years, according to Bill Schoen, the District 2 officials representative.
“This is what every official strives for,” said Schoen. “There are so many variables involved in getting there. It is a great honor and great recognition of work accomplished not only in a given year, but over a period of time. Five are going for the first time so it is exciting for them. (Suppon and Galicki) have been there before, but it is an honor to be asked back.”
For Novrocki, who has been officiating football for eight years, it is a goal he set when he actually watched Suppon in the 2006 state final.
“I would say it is the pinnacle of high school officiating,” Novrocki said. “It is really what you want. This is something that I have wanted since I started.”
But there is more to it than just walking on the field and making calls. There is time spent studying the rule book and gaining as much information on the teams involved as possible.
“We do a lot of preparation for it,” Novrocki said. “There is a lot of reading of the rules. I have been in a number of district playoff games, semifinals and championships. It is such a big stage. We get to the stadium about two hours before kickoff and (Suppon) will go over as many things as he thinks he needs to. Then he will open it up to us for questions. He runs a phenomenal pregame.”
But in the end, it will be all about enjoying the experience. Because an official never knows when or if the opportunity will come again.
“This doesn’t happen every day,” Suppon said. “I just tell the new guys go out there and give it your all. It is just like every Friday or Saturday. You don’t want to get over excited or anxious because it is a state final.”
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