Ammerman to call state finals tomorrow

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By Lee Kendall

For the second year in a row, and third time since 2000, a local high school football official has been given the honor of calling the last high school football game of the season.

On Friday afternoon, Joseph Ammerman will be the line judge in the Class AAA State Championship Game between Louisville Central and Breathitt County. That game is set to kickoff at 3 p.m.

Last year, Mike Aldridge was tabbed to call the Class AAAA finals as the umpire and in 2000 Bobby Ammerman, Joseph’s father, was the pick to be the referee in the Class AAA finals. All three work the same five-man crew through the regular season.

“You don’t usually see three people from the same crew get picked to work the state championships in such a short period of time,” said Joseph on Tuesday night.

The younger Ammerman’s selection brings with it a couple of interesting and unique items.

First, it is extremely rare to have a father/son combination be honored with the same selection to work a state final game.

“This is my 39th year doing high school football and I can’t remember any situation where a father and son have both worked the championship round of the playoffs, which is not to say it has never happened,” said Bobby Ammerman. “I don’t know any way to verify that, I just don’t remember it happening during my career.”

Second, Joseph Ammerman, though a nine-year veteran of calling varsity high school games, is only 27 years old.

“I’m not sure about how many father/son combinations have been honored by both being able to call the championship round, but the thing to me that is even rarer, is somebody as young as me getting the opportunity to call the finals.”

His father concurred, “To my knowledge there has never been anyone younger than Joseph who has been picked to do a final game.”

Young Joseph explained the long and short of his refereeing evolution.

“The first freshman and junior varsity games I called I was 17 years old and in high school and the first varsity game I called was when I was 18,” he said. “I’m sure there were players on the field that were older than me when I first did varsity ball.”

He explained that it was current KHSAA Assistant Commissioner Julian Tackett that asked him to fill in for that first game. At the time, Tackett had his own crew..

Ironically, it was Tackett that made the final decision on selecting Ammerman for this year’s AAA title game.

After that early start on the varsity level, Joseph soon joined his father’s crew on a full-time basis and has been there ever since.

“Dad had an opening pop up on his crew, and he requested that I be added on a full-time basis,” explained the younger Ammerman. “The other crew chiefs in our association didn’t have to go along with that request. They could have said they didn’t think it would be a good idea, but that’s not what happened.”

Ammerman does not consider his relative young age to be a detriment and says he only thinks about it a couple of times a year.

“Once the game gets started, you just do your job the best that you can. I am always stationed in front of the visitors bench on the line of scrimmage, opposite of the chain crew. I am responsible for all illegal procedure and encroachment calls on my side of the line of scrimmage, for all pass plays along my sideline and for marking forward progress on all offensive plays. The only time all year that I realize how young I am comes when we have our rules and association meetings. Even though I have called varsity games for almost 10 years, I am always about 10 years younger than all the men who attend those meetings.”