Kearsley teacher selected to officiate football state final

Mr.+Darrick+Puffer+officiates+a+game+between+Goodrich+and+Durand+on+Sept.+12%2C+2008.
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Kearsley teacher selected to officiate football state final

Mr. Darrick Puffer officiates a game between Goodrich and Durand on Sept. 12, 2008.

Mr. Darrick Puffer officiates a game between Goodrich and Durand on Sept. 12, 2008.

IMAGE / Rae Puffer

Mr. Darrick Puffer officiates a game between Goodrich and Durand on Sept. 12, 2008.

IMAGE / Rae Puffer

IMAGE / Rae Puffer

Mr. Darrick Puffer officiates a game between Goodrich and Durand on Sept. 12, 2008.

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Mr. Darrick Puffer has been selected to officiate a state final game for football.

Puffer, who is normally a referee, will be the field judge in a seven-man crew of officials.

The state finals are Friday, Nov. 24, and Saturday, Nov. 25, at Ford Field. Because the MHSAA requires that assignments remain confidential, Puffer cannot say which game he is working.

Puffer teaches English and journalism at Kearsley High School.

He has been a football official for 31 years and was a basketball official for three years until he began coaching the sport.

IMAGE / Mr. Robert L. Pickens
Mr. Darrick Puffer, center, with his five-man crew before a game at Grand Blanc. The Bobcats took on Carman-Ainsworth Aug. 27, 2016. The rest of the crew is Mr. Dennis L’Hommedieu (l to r), Mr. Mike Fielder, Mr. Sami Khal, and Mr. Don Lougheed.

According to Mr. Paul Gaudard, athletics director, Puffer is well-received in the officiating community.

“He has a strong reputation in the officiating community,” Gaudard said.

Puffer is grateful to be selected for the final, the first of his officiating career. In addition, he officiated his first semifinal, a Division 3 game Saturday, Nov. 18.

“I’ve spent three decades studying the rules and mechanics of proper officiating, so it’s exciting to be able to use my knowledge and experience to give the players and coaches in these premier games the best officiated game I can give,” Puffer said.

He enjoys officiating because he remains a part of the sport he loves.

“Being an official can be a rewarding experience,” Puffer said. “It let’s me be a part of the game, and I have met many officials who have become my friends.”

But there is a lot of studying involved with the job.

Puffer has watched 15 training videos on positioning and rules in the past few weeks alone. In addition, the MHSAA held a training session to prepare its semifinal and final officials.

If you’re a good football official, you walk off the field at the end of the game and no one pays any attention to you.”

— Mr. Darrick Puffer, MHSAA official

Gaudard is glad to see Puffer recognized for his commitment to officiating.

“It’s a nice honor,” Gaudard said. “Of all the officials, there are only a handful selected.”

Puffer has two goals as an official.

His first goal is to protect players from getting hurt and his second goal is to do such a good job that nobody remembers the officials were there.

Puffer said, “If you’re a good football official, you walk off the field at the end of the game and no one pays any attention to you.”

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