- Scott Powers, ESPN Staff Writer
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Football coaches seem as if they stick together whether they’re in high school, college or the pros.
While Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith has taken a bath of criticism from the public and media for going for it fourth-and-goal when his team trailed the Lions 14-13 in the fourth quarter on Sunday, some of the area’s top high school coaches supported Smith when asked their opinion on Tuesday.
Maine South coach David Inserra, who has won back-to-back state titles, approved of the decision.
“I did not hear his interview after it, but I'm sure he talked that his team should have been able to get the TD from that short a distance in four plays,” Inserra said. “It gets to a point where you need to prove yourself as a team to gain that half yard. Also, the defense was playing well and has to do their job. Finally, one point is usually not going to win you the game at that point in the game. That wasn't his decision, it was the offense’s lack of execution that led to it. I like the call.”
Glenbard West coach Chad Hetlet, whose team finished second in Class 7A last season, was just as supportive.
"In all fairness to Lovie, none of us were at practice or meetings and have no idea what they may have seen," Hetlet said. "What I mean is they may have seen something that made them think they could get the touchdown. For us it comes down to KYP (Know Your Personnel). Can we get that yard? Honestly, I would have done the same thing … if we can't get a yard when it counts we don't deserve to win.”
Elk Grove coach Brian Doll respects Smith for the call.
"This is a tough question due to the fact that I am not involved in all the intangibles that happened during this game," Doll said. "As a head coach, you are asked to make difficult decisions during a game at crucial times. We all have different philosophies on how to handle this situation. If my kicking
game is sound, I am confident in kicking for the lead when you have the chance while time is running out.
"However, other things could come into play: weather, maybe your kicker is not having a good day, or maybe you want to make a statement to your team that you have the confidence to run the ball from the 1-yard line. I can't guess what was involved in his decision, but it is way more than people realize. While some will disagree with his decision, I respect that he as a professional is putting his team in what he believes is the best position to win."