Just Another Electric Football Game

by Paul Pate

Clarksville, Tennessee on a fall Saturday morning, I was sleeping off a Nashville Friday night in the guest bedroom at the Fisher mansion. Breakfast was to be served at 7:30 AM., pancakes and sausage. My phone buzzed at 6:30 AM! It was a text from Bubba that said, “Where ya’ll at?” Bubba and Tago made the 3 hour drive that originated in the Eastern Time Zone. This was Central, yo!

Outside Skybox Stadium in Clarksville, Tennessee.

No matter, breakfast was eventually served and it was classic. There were ten or fifteen Electric Football enthusiasts there for the second gameday of the 2019 Ohio Valley Electric Football League season. The setting was a perfect picture of a childhood dream. There were NFL themed picnic tents spread out on the backyard concrete drive with an Electric Football board under each one. The Cowboys tent was right by the Steelers tent in anticipation of my Cowboys taking on Tago’s Steelers. The fence was lined with NFL flags from every franchise. The Tennessee air got a little warm, but that was okay. Between games coaches could head indoors to cool off in Skybox Stadium, a man cave for the ages. Multiple college football games were on and food was ready to be devoured.

After breakfast there was a nice ceremony to pay respects to a great Electric Football coach who had recently passed away. During that ceremony a personalized board was given to a sweetheart of a man, a 72 year old military veteran who loves football. It was quite a special moment. Once it concluded, everybody was just itchin’ to crack some plastic!

My Cowboys were able to squeak out a 3 to 0 win in their first game. I’m glad, because the next two were pretty resounding defeats to the dreaded Steelers and the dreaded Giants. As the day proceeded, a young coach named Phillip “Midwest” Ryan showed up with his Oklahoma Sooners. He’s young, as far as Electric Football coaches go, and fairly new to the hobby. This was his first OVEFL gameday and he took a beating his first two games. It was getting late and our two lackluster squads were getting set to square off for what would be… Just Another Electric Football Game.

The Sooners started things off with the ball on their own 25. The Cowboys were stingy on defense and soon it was fourth down. Midwest declared Electric Football was fun because you could go for it on fourth down on your first series. Well, you can in real football too. But, who does that? Midwest does! A quick Kyler Murray scramble and the Sooners converted. Their luck ran out on the next 3 downs as they lost yardage and coach was convinced to punt. The Cowboys took over on their own 32. They methodically moved the ball down the field with a steady dose of Tony Dorsett off tackle, Tony Dorsett on the screen, Tony Dorsett up the middle. Once in the red zone, the Cowboys offense sputtered. It was 4th and 5 from the 15. Instead of playing it safe with a field goal, I decided to go for it. A quick out to Drew Pearson put it on the five yard line with time running out in the first half. My Cowboys smelled pay dirt!


The offense lined up. The Sooner defense was in place. The board buzzed and Roger Staubach rolled left as Tony Hill shook his cornerback. As the buzzing stopped Tony Hill was about at the one yard line and the cornerback was at the five. It was good coverage, but I thought I could complete the pass. A 7 point lead at the half gave me a good feeling. I launched my errant pass and it bounced off the defender. Oh my! Intercepted. Tony Hill, with his good speed, was right behind the Sooner cornerback. When the board turned on this guy pulled away from Hill no problem. He streaked down the sideline as Tony Dorsett and Robert Newhouse missed too. My 7 point halftime lead was suddenly looking like a 7 point deficit. This guy was headed for a pick six!!!

It was a classic Electric Football play. Without reason, inexplicably, the Oklahoma Sooner cornerback who just picked off Roger Staubach and had nothing but 15 yards of perfectly groomed, vibrating, green metal, between him and glory, suddenly lurched to his right and out of bounds! I had to admit to Phillip, I was kinda pulling for him to make it. Though I was relieved to be deadlocked at zero for halftime, it was slightly disappointing to watch Midwest’s excitement fade to emptiness. Whew!! It was halftime, it was hot and muggy, and I was tired.

The Cowboys started with the ball in the second half. What I didn’t realize, is that the young coach Phillip had made adjustments to his defense during the first half that had eventually disrupted the Cowboys offense. The second half started with three and out. The Sooners had the ball on their own 35 with plenty of time. Coach made some second half adjustments to his offense too! It took two fourth down conversions, but the Sooner offense drove the length of the field and capped the drive with a Kyler Murray touchdown run up the middle. The sun was going down. Misquitos were starting to bite.  There were only a few minutes left in the game and my confidence in this offense was waning.

To drive 75 yards in three or four plays I was going to need to complete a pass downfield at least once. That’s what I did! Right outta the gate Tony Hill was open. Staubach hit him in the numbers with a clear path to the endzone. That same cornerback ran him down and kept it to a 25 yard gain. Only 50 to go! A Dorsett run and a short pass to Drew Pearson put the Cowboys at the 15 as the clock was ticking down. I got my offensive line down before the clock ran out, allowing the Cowboys one more play. One more shot to tie this game up or maybe win it with a two point conversion.

The Cowboys lined up with their typical formation, Staubach in the shotgun, Dorsett and Newhouse in the backfield. Billy Joe DuPree was the tight end on the right side, Hill split left, Pearson flanker right. Phillip scrambled to get his defense into place. They played what I would call a 3-6. Three defensive linemen crowded the middle, leaving the tackles open. But six speedy linebackers that quickly filled the gaps. The last thing I did before I called my offense set, was turn Dorsett to the outside. Phillip quickly got his defense into place as I counted down from ten. His final move was to bring in a stationary safety for the guy who normally covered his deep middle. But he placed this defender over to the left so he might cover Dorsett out of the backfield. We were all set and it was the moment of truth!

I hadn’t called this play the whole game. So, I figured now would be the time. Dorsett, off the break, to the outside. The Sooner defense was in a slightly less aggressive posture. I thought Dorsett may be able to punch it in without any defensive adjustments. Plus, that stationary safety was over there putting down roots. I was gonna go for it! “Thirty three, Dorsett, off the break.” I handed Midwest the switch and he cut the board on! Dorsett, sho nuff, got around the edge. TD was headed for a TD! Just had to get around Pearson who was blocking the corner. I don’t know exactly what happened next. I think DuPree pushed a linebacker into that stationary safety. All I know is that safety snagged Dorsett by a shoe string and stopped him at the five. Game over!

My Cowboys ended the day with one win and three losses. The Sooners were one and two. But, that 7-0 game? What a game!!! You know what though? It was Just Another Electric Football Game.

This article is online content only.

Coach Profile – Ricardo Riley

It is the thing which all electric football hobbyists and players gather around. Without it the game is not possible. It is the board. Although commercial boards are what many players grew up with and are still readily available, there are many electric footballers who choose a different path: custom boards. The last few years have seen a rise in custom board designs and building. Among the current (and more famous) names of elite custom electric football board builders is Ricardo Riley.

Raised in Washington, D.C. and now living in San Antonio, Texas, Ricardo Riley has been building custom boards for himself and others since 2013. Crackin’ Plastic sat down with Ricardo to ask him some questions about board building and what motivates him.

CP: Why did you start building electric football boards?
RR: “There were plenty of boards available for purchase. I just wanted to build my own and customize it my way. I wanted a 24” x 48” for myself and I felt that I could possibly build one. It would be uniquely mine.”

CP: How did you learn? Did you have help?
RR: “I’ve had lots of help along the way. Shabby J (aka James Partipilo), Roger Fisher, James Harris, and a special shout out to Edwin Hinton. He [Edwin Hinton] actually asked me to make him a board: Met Life Stadium. RIP my friend. I’ve met a lot of great people along the way. My boards aren’t perfect, but I try and give the best that I can, and I replace any and all things, always.”

CP: How many boards do you think you’ve made so far?
RR: “Ninety plus.”

CP: Do any boards stand out in your mind?
RR: “I have a Cancer Survivor board, and a board that has “Suggies Cleaning Supplies” on one side of it! Coaches really make them their own. The Cancer board was Edwin Hinton’s third board. He recently died, but he was an avid EF hobbyist. Sorry about the curse word [the board states, “F— Cancer”], but that’s what he wanted. It gave him hope to keep on battling.”

CP: How much time do you devote to building boards?
RR: “On average I’ll spend my weekends building, painting, etc.. 15-18 hours a week. I do all of my own covers, building, painting, lettering, logos, etc., so I can control the building time now. I used to outsource quite a bit in the beginning.”

CP: So it’s not a full time job then?
RR: [Laughs] “No, I’m a manager in Corporate America. I have 16 people that report to me at any given time.”

CP: What do you enjoy most about building boards?
RR: “The best thing about building the boards is seeing them in people’s homes and at tournaments. I never thought that something that I’d make could really make others happy, and that they’d enjoy it. It seems I was kind of wrong about that one!”

CP: So, we have to ask: you’re from Washington, D.C. but you’re a Dallas Cowboys fan?
RR: “Tony Dorsett and #12 [Quarterback Roger Staubach]. Saw them and it was a wrap!”

CP: Will you continue to build boards in the future?
RR: “Not sure. It’s not really cost effective. FedEx is raising shipping by 90 bucks. I don’t pass that along, so…
But that being said, I do love building boards.”

Article by Greg Ingold


Cracking Plastic’s first issue is sold out. The last issue was sold to Earl McMillan in California. Earl gets the next issue for free. Everybody at Crackin Plastic (the number of people is growing) would like to say thank you to the EF community for the support! Because of your outstanding support we will be able to make a $75 donation to Kids Food Basket.

Don’t panic! There are is one more chance to get your dirty mitts on the first issue. But, it’ll need to be in person with our reseller. It’ll be at a surprise location. There are a select few issues remaining.

Again, thanks all you MFers!

Coach Profile – Montago Jones

Crackin Plastic sat down with Ohio Valley coach and APEX Electric Football founder Montago Jones to see if we could find out what makes him tick.

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I assume you played Electric football as a kid. What was it like? Did you have a lot of friends to play against?

Playing electric Football as a kid was without a doubt the best time(s) of my childhood. I grew up as an only child, and was fortunate enough to have uncles that also played the game as well. They came up in the hobby painting figures with broom straws and tooth picks. They would cut the names out of telephone books and place them on the back of the jersey. Their games had stats, individual awards and styles. Some played using pennies, others using nuts or bb’s, and athletic tape was eased into the mix as well. Our neighborhood stayed creative. Electric Footabll was huge in our housing units (neighborhoods, projects). Their were many great guys and coaches back then, Keith Powell being one of them.

Did you play real football?

I grew up playing every sport possible. I played basketball and football both in high school and college, as well as tennis. I excelled and exceeded all expectations, no tales, wrestling,chess, raquet ball, golf, and baseball.

When did you start playing Electric Football again?

I started playing EF in 1979, but I recieved my first very board in 1982 (which I still own). From there, I played faithfully until 1990. That’s when I discovered girls were fun too. High school sports and college put the hobby on hold for me. I didn’t pick the hobby back up again until 2012. Then we had an eight coach league that lasted a couple of months. Father Time and kids quickly broke our league up, so we called it quits, up until April of 2018, Keith Powell asked me to jump on Facebook and see if anyone else was still playing EF because he was looking to get back into it. Well, the rest is history.

You play with the Steelers in the Ohio Valley league. What are your favorite teams?

The Steelers and Penn State are my favorite teams.

Who are your favorite players?

I have many favorite players that have played the game. Almost too many to mention. I Love the game. I’m a linebacker guy by nature. Junior Seau would take the honors. But, Bo Jackson and Greg Lloyd are worth mentioning.

Where did the idea for APEX Electric Football come from?

The idea for APEX Electric Football started with the simple concept of having fellowship. Brian Phillips and myself shared several phone conversations about competitive challenges and one day the concept stuck. He allowed me to bounce ideas across to him and he’d convey what he thought would and wouldn’t work. He and I spent more time in heated debates than one would know! But the love for the hobby prevailed. Electric Football is meant to bring more than one person to a table to strategize and execute. But football is a TEAM sport. Kentucky has very few professional electric football coaches (only 3 that I’ve personally played against or met). Keeping the team concept in mind, I realized that many coaches represented themselves, but not their actual league or league mates. So I sat out to change that perception of the hobby, hence the APEX was established. Brian Phillips played a very valuable part in the birth of the APEX.

There are a lot of leagues and tournaments around the country. Some coaches have been really dedicated for years, and sacrifice a lot to attend many of them. What made you believe you could host a successful event after being involved in the hobby for such a short time?

Being on the TOC circuit for just 1 year now, I had no idea if I could pull it off. But I felt like it was time to try something that I’d like to see happen. Believe me, their were many people that felt as though I couldn’t pull it off, and had negative opinions on why it wouldn’t work and why they weren’t coming. But I had a league mate (Paul Pate) say, “Don’t worry about who’s not showing up, concentrate on who does.” Everything became easier after that. I knew that I was passionate in my purpose and I also knew that others were just as passionate. So I took a chance and reached out too a couple of league veterans and great coaches and asked for their support and advice. Charles Lane and Brian Phillips were both, “All hands on deck!” The response and support that I received from their league mates were worth noting and the competition levels were off the hook!!!! Ohio Valley showed up and showed out but we just didn’t have enough in the tank. I encourage ANY LEAGUE across the country to join the APEX Leagues vs Leagues Challenge. It’s the ONLY event in the country that guarantees you 7 games (or as many as you wanna play), great food, and a TEAM concept. You’ll have a chance to play against Hall of Fame coaches, Gold Ball winners, world champions, league amd Tournament champs, every round.

What’s the top 3 things you love about Electric Football?

The 3 things I love about the hobby is the stories behind the coaches and their teams. 2. The friendships I’ve made in a short amount of time. 3. I LOVE to hear the smack talking between two old heads, it’s hilarious!!!!!

What’s next for APEX Electric Football?

I believe and hope that coaches will be on the lookout for the next Apex event!!!! It’s going to be another great event. It’s going to be the…

!!!!!! APEX Coaches Challenge Tournament !!!!!!

2 on 2 coaches will be allowed to coach their teammate (in huddle only, nothing aloud) during the setup clock. The main focus is too enjoy the competition and have a chance to come away with the hardware. More details will follow. The event will be taking place in October. See everyone there!