Different Roughrider number has Red Dog coach seeing red

Fierce rivalries can be born over little things, but a jersey number?

After the Bismarck Roughriders' 29-20 victory over Rapid City on Sunday, the Red Dogs were seeing red.

They felt Bismarck's Nikia Parson, who wore No. 66 but was listed at No. 99 on the official roster, shouldn't have been able to play. In fact, the Red Dogs felt so strongly about it that they filed a protest with the NIFL trying to force Bismarck to forfeit the game.

"They cheated, pure and simple," a livid Rapid City coach Dan Maciejczak said. "There was no No. 66 on the 25-man roster. They should overturn it, but this league is (B.S.) so they won't."

When Andy Nelson left the Roughriders early this week, they were left with no center and his replacement wasn't prepared to play on Sunday. So instead Bismarck converted Parson -- a pass rushing defensive end -- to center as a stopgap solution.

The problem is that 99 is not a legal number for offensive linemen by NIFL rules, and the referees informed the Roughriders of that.

"We were going to have to report him as an ineligible (receiver) on every down if we had to," Bismarck coach Collins Sanders said. "They told us to change the number."

Which Maciejczak also took exception to. The point was argued before the game, delaying the kickoff nearly 10 minutes, but was never resolved to Rapid City's satisfaction.

Sanders laughed at the notion that the league might take away Bismarck's win and was irked that the Red Dogs were making such a fuss over it.

"If the fact that Parson wore a No. 66 jersey changed the result of the scoreboard, then I'm all for a forfeit," Sanders said. "But the fact is we beat them with the same players we did two weeks ago and with a guy who's not even a center."

It should be fun when the teams meet again in Rapid City on June 1.

* NOTES: Sacks are hard to come by in the NIFL, but not for the Roughriders. Bismarck led the league with nine coming into this weekend and to the Rapid City quarterback twice more. On the other side of the ball Bismarck allowed its first sack of the season when Andrae Rowe blew past Parson to take down Jason Baliko. Š Running back Adam LeGette was supposed to be in the lineup for Bismarck on Sunday but pulled his hamstring in pregame warmups.

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