Friday, December 28, 2007

Stone Bridge football makes history

Stone Bridge football makes history

Stone Bridge coach Mickey Thompson had two previous shots at a state football title – in 1999 with Park View and 2005 with Stone Bridge; both losses – but apparently neither of these meshed with the magical storyline that developed this season.

With one of his sons lined up at quarterback and the other starting on the defensive line, the gutsy Thompson was eventually doused with Gatorade at the University of Virginia's Scott Stadium – the very campus where Thompson played college football.

“It looked like it was meant to be, but you never know,” said Thompson, following his team's 38-0 win over Potomac to capture its first-ever state title. “There's hardly a parent who I don't know, and then to have that happen and come back [to the University of Virginia] on top of it with your kids is pretty special.”

Senior standout Jeron Gouveia led the Bulldogs (14-1) all season from his safety and running back positions, posting 22 total offensive touchdowns, 73 tackles and five interceptions (including two in the title game), but junior quarterback Patrick Thompson and senior wide receiver Ryan Moody stole the show on that blistery Saturday afternoon.

Thompson threw for 286 yards and four touchdowns, while Moody caught six passes for 158 yards and three scores.

Fairfax County Times

Single-Wing Sentinel Update!

As of 12/25/2007

I put a hit counter on the site 3 months ago and in that time over 20,000+ hits.
That's a lot of intrest in the Single-Wing!

There are over 325+ articles posted.

We have 170+ coaches/teams that have signed the Single-Wing Coaches Map (guestbook)

We're showing that there are Coaches/Teams in 48 states, plus the District of Columbia and 6 other nations.

The six countries other than the US are: Canada, New Zealand, France, England, Germany and Austria.

The States without a coach/team showing are:
1. Delaware
2. Vermont

Have you signed? Is your state represented? If not take a second to sign below!
If you know of a team any of the States not showing a team, let me know.

Off-Season: The thought is that the articles won't be as many during the off season, but I will post as many as I come accross.

Thanks, to all for making the Sentinel a success!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Single-Wing Sentinel Recognized

A few final thoughts on Pinkerton football

Ryan Lambert

Now that enough time has passed and we've been able to step outside of the hustle and bustle of football season, it strikes me as pretty impressive that Pinkerton won its third straight state championship.

"This is unbelievable," senior quarterback Peter Mazzola said after the championship game. "So many people don't have the chance to get one championship, and we've been here four times and won three straight. That's amazing."

In 2006, the closest game Pinkerton played in was a 17-14 win over Nashua South. The next smallest margin of victory came in a 27-7 win over Salem in the state title game. Apart from one game, no one came within three scores of the mighty Astros.

This year, the Astros had a handful of games that were blowouts (a 53-6 win at Memorial springs to mind), but many more were very close. Pinkerton had to do something to which it was unaccustomed: find ways to claw out the win instead of executing an impressive scorched-earth policy across a swath of Division 1 opponents.

Plus, the Astros actually lost, twice, which they hadn't done in what seemed like forever. The two losses, by the way, were by a combined score of 84-26 and account for almost half of the total points Pinkerton gave up this season.

The Astros haven't struggled in the past as they did this year, but they almost always rose to the challenge. Under head coach Brian O'Reilly (whom the players, to a man, came just short of calling a genius), the Astros settled for grinding out tough wins because, frankly, they didn't have the superstars of years past. However, if the Astros' dominant performance in the championship game proved one thing, it's that it's pretty much impossible to beat Pinkerton twice.

Bryan Farris, Ryan Lambert and Graeme Clohosey weren't walking through that door, but Pete Mazzola, Josh Lane and Bobby Dattilo didn't need them to.

Despite a paucity of players putting up big individual numbers, Pinkerton still scored the second-most points in Div. 1 (294, behind Londonderry's eye-popping total of 346) and allowed the third-fewest (182, behind Salem's 153 and Londonderry's 181). Salem, of course, played two fewer games than did Pinkerton, and one fewer than Londonderry.

But what should be the most frightening prospect for Div. 1 going forward isn't that Pinkerton doesn't have to blow you out to win, but the fact that they're only going to get better. Yes, the aforementioned trio of this season's big-time seniors will be tough to replace, but Pinkerton got big-time play out of a bunch of underclassmen too.

Look no further than Eric Guinto, who piled up 237 on 20 carries in the two playoff games. He also scored twice in those games, on a 33-yard run against West and the back-breaking 82-yarder against South. Guinto, whose speed, according to several Astros, is unmatched in New Hampshire, is only a sophomore.

But what of the hole at quarterback left by the departure of Peter Mazzola? Luke Somers, who took just a handful of varsity snaps this year in mop-up duty, seems to be O'Reilly's guy going forward. All reports indicate O'Reilly is high on the sophomore field general, though, and the few plays he did run that I happened to see were impressive. He was at least as poised as a few senior quarterbacks from around Div. 1.

For an Astros team that won three straight, the fact that its future is brightening does not bode well for Div. 1.

Online honors for Theodhosi

Apparently, there are more devotees of the Wing T [Single-Wing] than I thought.

The distinctive offensive style that Londonderry ran so well this year is the subject of an entire blog, the Single Wing Sentinel (

The reason it came onto my radar is because Londonderry's Alex Theodhosi, the first area running back since at least the early 1990s to break 2,000 yards on the ground, earned the Sentinel's "prestigious" Single Wing Running Back Athlete of the Month award. They even used a picture from the Derry News and will be hearing from our team of lawyers (not really).

By the way, the Sentinel does keep a very good record of a number of football teams that run the single wing. If you really like the way Londonderry runs its offense, you might also like hearing about the Colonial Beach (Calif.) Drifters or the Stone Bridge (Va.) Bulldogs.

Just further proof that the list of things that people will dedicate a Web site to is seemingly endless.

Derry News
P.O. Box 307
Derry, NH 03038

Sunday, December 23, 2007

With hard work, Jack restored Drifter pride

With hard work, Jack restored Drifter pride
December 15, 2007 12:36 am


Jeremy Jack was able to draw on past experiences as a player to help transform the Colonial Beach football program.

The Drifters head coach played on a winless team as a sophomore and junior at Keystone High School in western Pennsylvania.

That's why Jack didn't panic when Colonial Beach went 3-17 in his first two seasons, including a winless 2003 campaign.

"Having been at the bottom," Jack said, "I knew what we had to do get better."

Jack and his teammates at Keystone won four games his senior season and the program went on to five consecutive playoff appearances after he graduated.

Since the painful 2003 season, Colonial Beach has gone 39-6.

The Drifters entered the Virginia High School League for the first time since 1974 this past season with a bang.

They [the Single-Wing Drifters] went 10-3 while capturing Tidewater District and Region A championships.

They were the only team to advance to the state playoffs in the Fredericksburg area, helping Jack earn The Free Lance-Star coach-of-the-year honors.

"He should get that award because he's put in so much effort and time," Colonial Beach senior running back Brandon Foster said. "There are so many great things you could say about the man."

Jack attributes patience, positive thinking and a coaching staff with five former Colonial Beach players with turning the Drifters around.

But he added that a team can't improve simply because it wants to get better.

"We had to work hard and do things that are manifestations of winning itself," Jack said. "That's working in the weight room, conditioning workouts in the spring--just dedicating ourselves to winning."

The Drifters did plenty of winning from 2004-06 as an Independent school, but many people outside the program thought that would change when the Drifters entered the VHSL this season.

However, Colonial Beach--a school with just 185 students in grades 8-12--showed it can defeat schools with much larger enrollments.

When the Drifters finally bowed out of the playoffs with a hard-fought 48-39 loss to Buffalo Gap in the Group A, Division 1 state semifinals, they earned more respect from their supporters.

Colonial Beach athletic director Wayne Kennedy said he initially thought 5-5 would be a successful first season in the VHSL.

"But as I watched them work every day, I started thinking, 'I've undersold these guys,'" Kennedy said. "I knew they were good kids. I knew they were hard workers. But I don't think I realized [Jack] had developed some real intense competitors. There were a lot of kids on that team that refused to lose."

The Drifters started off the season 0-2 with close losses to Group AA King George and Goochland.

It was the 29-27 loss to the defending state champion Bulldogs on Sept. 7 that gave Colonial Beach confidence for the rest of the season.

They blitzed past their next 10 opponents, increasingly earning respect around the state with each win.

"In the long run, starting 0-2 was good for us," Jack said. "It put us in those tough games early."

The next step for Jack and the Colonial Beach program is to show it can be consistent winners in the VHSL.

That may be difficult next season because they lose several key seniors, including Foster, who has a full scholarship offer from Delaware State.

But Kennedy points back to some of the lessons Jack taught his players during the difficult times as to why the winning can continue.

After the Drifters' winless season, Jack gave his players an article about a team in California that went 2-8, but rebounded to go 10-0 the next season with just 17 players.

It reminded Jack of the Drifters.

"He said, 'They're no different than us. We can accomplish the same thing. We're the same size,'" Kennedy recalled.

Kennedy's confidence in Jack also goes back to when he first accepted the job in 2002 after a short stint as a Drifters assistant coach.

"He said he was committed to bringing back Drifter pride," Kennedy said. "He certainly made all of that come true."


The Free Lance-StarFredericksburg, Virginia

Modern Day Rushing QB - Sets Record

Locker has chance to be better than Heisman winner

By Blaine Newnham
Special to The Seattle Times

In the wake of Tim Tebow's winning of the Heisman Trophy, fans in Florida are sure that Superman wears Tim Tebow pajamas. And not the other way around.

Is there anything this quarterback of the future can't do?

Possessor of a linebacker's mentality with stunning speed and a strong arm, Tebow was an easy choice to win the Heisman even as a sophomore, the first in history to do so.

He was also the first player to both run and throw for more than 20 touchdowns.

But I wonder if in a few years Washington's Jake Locker might be better.

The descriptions are striking similar. Both are 6 feet 3, 235 pounds, chiseled, courageous, charismatic.

Clearly, Tebow at this point plays on a better team and is a much, much more accomplished passer. He threw for 3,122 yards — completing 60 percent of his passes — while Locker threw for 2,062 yards and completed only 47 percent.

While Locker ran for more yards, the key for any quarterback is to stay healthy. The spread formation in which Tebow and Locker operate — as did Oregon's wily Dennis Dixon until he was hurt — puts the quarterback at great risk.

[Editor's Note: Locker, a redshirt freshman from Ferndale, established a modern Pac-10 record for most yards rushing in a season by a quarterback with 986. He scored 13 rushing touchdowns. He also passed for 2,062 yards and 14 touchdowns. He was intercepted 15 times and completed 47 percent of his passes. He was named Pac-10 freshman of the year in voting by the conference's coaches.]

It may take Superman to survive, or at least a quarterback who knows when not to fight for an extra yard in the interest of playing another down.

I'm old enough to remember the single wing, to remember Billy Kilmer at UCLA weaving his way down the field. Happy days are here again.

Today's running-throwing quarterbacks are better than the veer option quarterbacks of the '70s who relied almost exclusively on quick feet. They were just average passers who threw only when they had to.

Locker must perfect his passing, to make the long pass when the defense invites him to, to be as much a threat with his arm as he is with his feet.

But if he does, he could be better than Tebow because he is faster than Tebow and may have a stronger arm. Tebow's 40-yard time is listed as 4.5 to 4.6. Locker is 4.4 to 4.5.

Seven of the eight Heisman Trophy winners before Tebow had played in the national-championship game. Tebow didn't as Florida stumbled to a disappointing (for it) 9-3. Tebow didn't go unrecognized, and Locker wouldn't if Washington were to climb back into national-championship consideration.

While it's clear that Locker was Tyrone Willingham's job-saving recruit, don't overlook the recent commitment of Lakes tight end Kavario Middleton, the state's top-rated high-school senior.

It reminded me of when Don James recruited Mark Bruener, a tight end from Aberdeen who seriously considered Notre Dame, USC and Stanford before staying home.

Bruener, now with the Houston Texans, caught a touchdown pass in the 1992 Rose Bowl as a just-out-of-high-school freshman. He played in the Super Bowl as a rookie for the Pittsburgh Steelers, with whom he toiled for 10 years.

An impressive thing about Bruener is that he routinely donates money to the UW athletic department. He went out of his way to visit the Huskies in the Bay Area before their game with Stanford.

"I wanted to meet with coach Willingham and I wanted to talk to the team," said Bruener.

Bruener said his choice to play at Washington was an easy one.

He said he knew what he was getting from Don James, and said he believes today's recruits should feel the same about Willingham.

"I'd heard a lot from other NFL players about him, and wanted to meet him," said Bruener. "I realized almost immediately what a great person and coach he is. I see the similarities with coach James, the quiet confidence and the requirement that the players and coaches be accountable."

Bruener said he would like to see the time when the best players in the state routinely stay home as he did.

"With such a great university and a great football tradition," he said, "there is no reason to go anywhere else.

"But you need stability in the coaching staff. I had it at Washington and with the Steelers, where they had had two coaches in 50 years."

The words of not only a former player, but of a current donor to the program. Words of wisdom.

The Seattle Times

Mr. Everything in Single-Wing Offense -- a Defensive All Star

Londonderry, Senior, Defensive Back
Named to the 2007 Football All-Stars - Defense

See the excerpt from an article from December 16, 2007, below:

2007 Football All-Stars - Defense


Londonderry, Senior, Defensive Back

The 6-6, 220-pounder transferred in after three years at New Hampton and made an immediate impact. All-Division 1 pick had 28 solo tackles and 40 assists to go with a team-leading four interceptions. Was Mr. Everything in single-wing offense, rushing for 757 yards, recorded 154 yards receiving and passing for 146 yards. Scored 11 TDs. Committed to UConn. Also a standout basketball player.

Eagle Tribune -- 100 Turnpike Street -- North Andover, MA 01845

Wednesday, December 19, 2007



Josh Goodwin

Brandon Walsh

Running Back - Jordan Hughes Offensive Line - Caden Grenier Linebacker - Josh Goodwin

Linebacker - Nate West Quarterback - Josh Goodwin Defensive Back - Jordan Hughes Defensive Line - Reid Ashley

Offensive Line - Spencer Gloyn Defensive Line - Ryan Gregson

SWS Editor Note: ACH High School is a team that uses the I, Shotgun and Single-Wing.
Almira Coulee Hartline High School is located in Hartline, Washington

ACH Uses I, Shotgun and Single-Wing To Win State

Football Notebook No league title? No problem

By Craig Smith
Seattle Times staff reporter

TACOMA — Five teams in this year's championship games didn't win league titles.

They are: Class 4A Lewis and Clark, 2A Burlington-Edison, 1A Royal, 2B Toutle Lake and 1B Almira-Coulee-Hartline.

Almira-Coulee-Hartline got sweet revenge in the 1B (eight-man) final Friday by beating Northeast League champion Odessa, 38-14. Odessa hammered ACH 56-6 during the season.

Today, 1A Royal will try to duplicate ACH's accomplishment when the Knights play Connell, which beat Royal 23-20 in September on the way to the SCAC East Division title.

Sorry, Mom, I'm playing

Burlington-Edison coach Bruce Shearer didn't get to play two seasons of high-school football because his mother was afraid he'd be injured.

Shearer, who lived near Sacramento, suffered a knee injury playing football as a freshman. When he was a senior and had turned 18, he joined the team while his father was out of town on a construction job.

His parents found out, but because he was 18, his mother, Shirley, said, "I can't tell you 'no,' but you can't play running back."

So Shearer played tight end, nose tackle and returned kickoffs, which is about as dangerous as football gets.

He then played junior-college football and earned a scholarship to Humboldt State.

Irish through and through

O'Dea's defensive coordinator, Mike Crotty, played football at Notre Dame.

Crotty was a standout at Glacier High School, a since-closed school near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. He graduated from Notre Dame in 1972 after being a two-year starter at strong safety on teams coached by Ara Parseghian. He also returned punts and kickoffs.

The 1970 Notre Dame team, quarterbacked by Joe Theismann, beat Texas in the Cotton Bowl and wound up ranked No. 2 behind Nebraska.

Crotty, who played briefly for Ottawa in the Canadian Football League, is a counselor and teaches accounting at O'Dea. He has been on the football staff for 17 years.

O'Dea's biggest little fan

One of O'Dea's biggest fans might be the smallest.

Cody Marie Kohler, the daughter of O'Dea coach Monte Kohler, is only 19 months old.

Her first two words? "Go O'Dea!"

Her brother, 3-year-old John Edward Kohler, finds coins on the ground or floor and gives one to his dad to carry for good luck during the game. Most of the season, John Edward also has run to the sideline to give his dad a hug and kiss before leaving the game with his mom, Monte's wife, Jana.

The kids are the light of their daddy's eyes.

"They're wonderful," Monte said. "They're always excited when I come home, and they don't care if we win or lose."


• Friday's paid attendance at the Tacoma Dome was 8,050, up 231 from Friday of last year's Gridiron Classic.

• Edmonds-Woodway's Tony Heard was named Gatorade State Player of the Year. The 6-foot, 225-pound junior rushed for 2,238 yards for the 12-1 Warriors, who lost in the semifinals to Lewis and Clark. Prosser quarterback Kellen Moore won last year.

• Before the 3A title game, Skyline students chanted, "We have girls! We have girls!" at rooters for all-boys O'Dea.

• Skyline, which opened on the Sammamish Plateau in 1997, will return to 4A next fall. The Spartans won the 3A football title in 2000 and the 4A title in 2005.

Almira-Coulee-Hartline had four starters on offense [ which uses the I, Shotgun and Single-Wing] from the town of Almira and two each from Hartline and Coulee City. The school is in Hartline — in the middle, and 10 miles from the other communities. A new school is under construction in Coulee City.

• Bothell ruined the chance of an all-Spokane 4A final by beating Ferris in the semifinals, 14-7. Anticipating a possible championship game between Ferris and Lewis and Clark, the schools had asked if the final could be played at Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane.

Mike Colbrese, Washington Interscholastic Activities Association executive director, said he will ask the WIAA board for its thoughts in case a similar situation arises.

• Lakeside School of Seattle was awarded the state scholastic award for 3A football teams for its 3.425 cumulative grade-point average. Eastlake (3.26) of Sammamish will get the 4A award tonight.

Seattle Times staff reporter Sandy Ringer contributed to this report.
The Seattle Times Company

Nevada occasionally runs out of a single-wing formation

Lobos will have their hands full with Wolfpack

By Gary Herron, Sports Editor
ALBUQUERQUE — Sure, says University of New Mexico football coach Rocky Long, winning Saturday’s New Mexico Bowl would be nice, but it’s not the be-all, end-all for his career.

Speaking at a media luncheon Thursday, Long said a victory over Nevada in the second annual bowl game, kicking off at 2:30 p.m. at University Stadium, is the best thing that could happen to his seniors.

“It’ll mean more to the seniors than me, because the rest of the team thinks they got another chance — they can do it again next year,” Long said. “(The seniors) will brag about (a victory) the rest of their lives.”

Long said his career would better be enhanced with a Mountain West Conference championship, which has eluded him in his 10 years at the helm.

Besides, he added, outside of Lobos (8-4) fans and Wolfpack (6-6) fans, nobody really cares about the New Mexico Bowl.

Or the Rose Bowl. Or the LIberty Bowl. Or the Cotton Bowl.

Really, nobody cares about any of 31 of the 32 bowl games being played between Dec. 20 (Poinsettia Bowl) and Jan. 7, when the BCS championship game between Louisiana State and Ohio State is contested.

Long, of course, is aware of the disappointment he hears from fans about annually losing in bowl games.

“I hear it here. Friends will ask me, non-friends will ask me and bums will ask me ... but once I leave New Mexico, no one knows, no one cares.

“There’s only one bowl game that the final score matters to anybody in this country other than your fans, and that’s the national championship game,” he said. “If you’re not a fan of USC (or Illinois), they don’t care who wins the Rose Bowl — unless you’re a fan of one of those two teams.

“Now, people care about who wins that Ohio State-LSU game, because that’s the national championship game. That’s why they ought to be a damn playoff — because then, every team matters.”

Right now, Long said his biggest concern is seeing if his defense can contain Nevada’s. So far, the Lobos’ D is having trouble against the scout team.

That problem, he said, is because of the height of Nevada starting QB Colin Kaepernick, who stands 6-foot-6, and tailback Luke Lippincott, who lines up directly behind Kaepernick, even in shotgun formation, which makes it hard for the defense to track the ball.

“He’s hiding the tailback,” Long said. “Sort of like the fullback in the Wishbone -- linebackers can’t find that Wishbone fullback, so a guy at the line of scrimmage better hit him because the guys back there can’t see him.

“Normally, a quarterback under center is about six yards from the tailback,” Long explained. “So there’s a lot of room in there that you can actually see the quarterback and the tailback and the offensive line. So by the offensive linemen and the action, you can usually tell if it’s a play-action pass or a running play.

“You can’t see the offensive linemen by the time those two mesh — and two or three times in practice, we had the quarterback running with the ball and nobody knew he had it. ... So it’s got to be the relationship between the quarterback and the tailback. The mesh is better or the action is quicker — I don’t know exactly what it is, but it’s making it’s making it much more difficult for our defense to read if it’s run or play-action pass, bootleg, or whatever.

“And I’m sure (Nevada) runs it better than our scout team runs it.”

Long said redshirt freshman Blair Peterson, who stands 6-3, has been running the scout team and he hides the scout team tailback. “You can’t see those guys back there ... the linebackers in the middle of the field can’t see (the tailback).”

Kaepernick is a redshirt freshman; he assumed the reins when sophomore Nick Graziano got hurt in the fifth game of the season. Since then, Kaepernick threw for more than 2,000 yards and 19 touchdowns, with three interceptions, and has earned WAC Freshman of the Year honors and National Freshman of the Week honors along the way.

In fact, former NFL player Bill Curry, an analyst for ESPN, called Kaepernick “the best young freshman quarterback I have seen in my life.”

Long said Kaepernick runs well, too.

“It’s always tougher to defend a mobile quarterback, opposed to an immobile quarterback,” Long said, comparing him to San Diego State QB Kevin O’Connell, who ran for 82 yards and scored twice in UNM’s narrow, 20-17, victory at San Diego on Oct. 20.

All Lippincott did was lead the WAC in rushing, accumulating 1,380 rushing yards to lead the WAC and score 18 TDs. He was fifth in the entire nation in pass efficiency with a rating of 161.06.

Long said Nevada occasionally runs out of a single-wing formation.

“What (the defense has) to do is start concentrating more on the line of scrimmage. Get the action out of the backfield, but see if it’s run or pass from the line of scrimmage,” Long said. “Linemen have a hard time disguising it: If it’s a running play, they’re down the field. If it’s a passing play ... they never leave the line of scrimmage and they usually block a lot higher.”

On defense, the Wolfpack came on strong late in the year and finished third in the WAC in total defense. The D is led by senior LB Ezra Butler, who led the WAC in tackles for loss (1.25 per game).

Nevada will have its hands full with UNM running back Rodney Ferguson, who ran for 1,177 yards and scored 14 TDs, and capable receivers Marcus Smith and Travis Brown.

Ferguson could be the key to the game.

“We play well when we can run the ball,” Long said. “If we can’t run the ball, we don’t usually play very well.”

Ferguson ran for 102 yards on 22 caries in last year’s New Mexico Bowl, when he also caught eight passes, good for another78 yards, but coughed the ball up twice. UNM fumbled the ball away four times in the 20-12 loss to San Jose State.

If UNM can finally win a bowl game, Long says, “The players coming back will be really happy. If you’re happy, you perform better in the off-season.

“I don’t think necessarily, winning is going to help our recruiting,” he continued. “I think if it’s a good game on TV; last year’s bowl game helped our recruiting, because that was a good game — it was a fun game to watch.

“Being on ESPN, national TV, there’s a lot of people sitting around on Saturday before Christmas; there’ll be a lot of people watching the game,” he said. “Now, if you get blown out, it’s going to hurt recruiting. But if it’s a good, entertaining game, it’ll tremendously help recruiting.”

Win or lose — the Lobos are 0-4 in bowl games under Long — Long said the best thing about being invited to a bowl game is the additional practice players get, to be ready for the next season, and to have fun.

“They have to have a good time. I mean, this is a reward — they have to have a good time,” he continued. “You’re going to ruin the incentive for playing in a bowl game if they don’t have a good time. A lot more than losing the game, and I agree with that.

“I think I have a lot to prove here,” Long said. “This win in this bowl game’s more important because it’s more important to our team. It doesn’t mean a damn bit of difference to me. Now, I said that, but I want to win. I want to win maybe as bad as our players, but that doesn’t justify my existence, that doesn’t make me feel like any better coach — it doesn’t.

“I think we can do better here than we have. Am I proud of what we’ve done? Yes. I’m very proud of what we’ve done to this point,” he concluded. “Do I think it’s enough? No, I don’t think it’s enough ... We’ve got to get a lot better and we’ve got to win a lot more games.”

Lobo lowdown: Fans should expect a close game Saturday: Nevada has been in five bowl games since 1992 and no game has been decided by more than three points, including the Wolfpack’s 21-20 loss to Miami at last year’s MPC Computers Bowl in Boise.

... This will be the second trip to New Mexico in less than two months for Nevada, which edged New Mexico State 40-38 on Nov. 2 at Aggie Memorial Stadium. Kaepernick threw a 31-yard TD pass with one minute left in the game for the final points. LIppincott ran for 143 yards on 30 carries against the NMSU defense.

... UNM and Nevada haven’t met on the football field since 1942, when they dueled to a scoreless tie in Reno. In 1941, 36 days before the bombing of Pearl Harbor, UNM beat Nevada 23-7 at Zimmerman Field.

... The Lobos have 21 seniors on this year’s roster; six start on defense, six start on offense; punter Jordan Scott and kicker John Sullivan, a Walter Camp All-American, are also seniors.

... Long predicted that “three or four spots out there in the college coaching world, that if they lose their bowl game they’re going to get relieved of their duties.”

... Don’t look for former Rio Rancho High School standout Michael Love to get on the field Saturday. Although he was suited up for the Lobos’ regular-season finale vs. UNLV, Long said he didn’t think Love would play — and that Love, whose grandmother died in the fall, is the only person holding himself out from playing football.

... Long is UNM’s all-time leader in victories, with 60. He’s also the school’s all-time leader in losses, with 61. “We’re a good football team and we’ve got a good, solid football program. We’re not special — I’d like someday for people to think we’re special,” he said.

... Tickets for the New Mexico Bowl are available at the UNM ticket office at The Pit Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m., online at and; they also will be sold on game day, starting at 10 a.m. at University Stadium.

The Observer
1594 Sara Road - Suites D and E
Rio Rancho, New Mexico 87124

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Theodhosi is Player of the Year

Theodhosi is Player of the Year
New Hampshire Union Leader Sports
Sunday, Dec. 16, 2007

Alex Theodhosi opened many eyes during his record-setting season running the football.

Opposing coaches confessed that he closed quite a few, too.

"If anyone could say 'He's not that good,' it's me. He only got (48) yards against us," Pinkerton Academy of Derry head coach Brian O'Reilly said. "But it was the (48) scariest yards. He was an explosion waiting to happen."

Londonderry High's standout senior running back routinely dismantled Division I defenses in 2007. Amassing 2,001 rushing yards and 27 total touchdowns, Theodhosi headlines the 24-player New Hampshire Union Leader All-State Football Team as Player of the Year.

Bill Ball, head coach of Division II state champion Exeter High, is Coach of the Year. Ball guided the Blue Hawks to an 11-1 record and fifth title in program history. Exeter ended the three-year reign of Nashua's Bishop Guertin with a 14-13 title-game triumph.

Several candidates contended for Player of the Year honors. Theodhosi separated himself for two reasons, best said by Nashua North head coach Jason Robie.

"At the Division I level, it's very impressive. You rush for 2,000 yards when (opponents) know you're getting the ball? The numbers he put up in one year are just phenomenal," Robie said. "But it's as important what you do off the field as on it."

Theodhosi broke Steve Miller's 1999 school record of 1,440 rushing yards in the second-to-last week of the D-I regular season. Yet the pursuit of a 2,000-yard campaign still placed second to a classroom statistic: a cumulative 4.019 grade-point average.

Maintaining that mark will always mean more than running the length of 20 football fields, said the 5-foot-11, 205-pound Theodhosi, lauded by various coaches for avoiding disciplinary problems that hurt some standout athletes.

"When I was younger, my mom always forced me do all my homework. I didn't like it, but now it's habit. It helps me get A's on my report cards," said Theodhosi, currently drawing interest from several schools including Dartmouth College. "I used that (classroom approach) for football to prepare the same way on the field."

The assault on Londonderry's rushing record book began in the season-opener against Manchester Central. Londonderry unveiled its new offensive system -- the almost exclusive run-oriented Single Wing. In victory, "Theo" thundered ahead for 208 yards and a TD on 25 carries.

Similar efforts continued all season to key Londonderry's 7-4 campaign and second consecutive playoff berth. Theodhosi's performance in the state semifinals against top-seeded Nashua South nearly lifted Londonderry to its first title game since 2001.

Theodhosi ran 37 times for 333 yards and two TDs as the Lancers and Panthers combined for 662 total yards. The back-and-forth game, won by South, 35-31, earned a mention in the Nov. 19 issue of Sports Illustrated ("Ground Force," p. 127).

"For what he did for his team, he almost single-handedly brought them to the championship game -- almost," O'Reilly said. "I don't know what more you can do."

Extraordinary endurance was the key to Theodhosi's 255-carry campaign, said Londonderry's outgoing head coach, Tom Sawyer, who has guided the program since its inception in 1980.

The big-play running back had 200-yard outings against Central, Salem (42 carries, 228 yards, four TDs) and Manchester Memorial (25-271, four TDs). He twice cracked 300 yards, first achieving the feat against Concord (33-340, five TDs) before his memorable afternoon in the state semifinals.

"As far as a running back with power, who can hit, spin and break tackles, I think he's No. 1 (in the history of Londonderry football)," Sawyer said.

Bill Ball, in his ninth year as Exeter's athletics director, edged Sawyer and Pelham's Tom Babaian for the coaching honor. Adding to his responsibilities at Exeter, Ball serves on the NHIAA football committee and board of directors for the Joe Yukica New Hampshire chapter of the National Football Foundation.

"One of the things I like about being the AD and (football) coach, it gives me a real sense of what other coaches go through on a daily basis," said Ball, whose Blue Hawks have appeared in 10 of 12 D-II finals since 1996. "I think that's a really important thing to understand." Ball coaches the only football program to beat BG in the last four years. The Blue Hawks topped the Cardinals three times during the '06 and '07 seasons.

In 15 years as Exeter's head coach, Ball is 125-37 (.772 winning percentage).

Though the coach prefers to praise his players rather than accept credit, Brett McAllister said Exeter's success starts at the top.

"He (Ball) pushes you to the limits and he helps kids get there," said McAllister, one of two Blue Hawks on this year's team. "I never felt pushed beyond what I can do. All he wants is all you have. If you give 100-percent effort, he'll help you become a better athlete and better person. It's honestly all true."

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Lancers' Griffin commits to UConn

H.S. Football: Lancers' Griffin commits to UConn
New Hampshire Union Leader Sports
Thursday, Dec. 13, 2007

One glance at Londonderry High's Ryan Griffin and it's difficult to look away.

The 6-foot-6, 227-pound senior has been described as a "physical specimen" by several New Hampshire high school football coaches.

The University of Connecticut coaching staff apparently agrees.

Griffin said last night that he accepted a full scholarship on Monday to play Big East football for UConn.

"It happened so quickly. They offered it Sunday night, (UConn offensive line coach and recruiter Mike Foley) visited Monday and I took it right there," said Griffin, recruited to play tight end. "Can I believe it? I think I can believe it. I put in the work. It's definitely inspiring."

"We verbally shook hands. It's an honorable agreement between men at this point," Joe Griffin, Ryan's father, said. "When all is said and done on national signing day, that's where he'll be going."

Griffin, recruited during his middle school days to play quarterback at New Hampton Prep, isn't the only local talent Granite Staters can continue to follow on the big-time college gridiron.

Carl Cutler, Hanover's 6-foot-3, 235-pound senior tight end/linebacker, accepted a full scholarship earlier this year to play football for Syracuse University. Josh Lane, the 6-foot-2, 275-pound Pinkerton Academy of Derry offensive/defensive lineman, accepted a full scholarship last Saturday to play for the University of New Hampshire.

UNH also offered Griffin a scholarship last spring at Boston College's football camp. UConn wasn't represented at the camp, Griffin said. But word of his size and speed still made it to Storrs, Conn.

That will happen, outgoing Londonderry head coach Tom Sawyer said, when an athlete of Griffin's size and weight runs a "4-7 (4.7 seconds) and change in the 40 (-yard dash)."

UConn wasted little time acquiring game footage of Griffin. Soon after the Huskies hit him with a blitz of the scholarship variety.

"Connecticut, once the blood was in the water and they saw film of him, they were very aggressive," Griffin's father said.

Sawyer, who retired at the conclusion of the 2007 season, said UConn's coaches will be welcoming an "impact player" to campus. In Londonderry's Single Wing offense, Griffin earned Most Valuable Player honors. He scored nine touchdowns and rushed for 749 yards on 95 carries in '07. He completed 15 of 25 passes for 160 yards and a TD (no INTs) and caught 10 passes for 147 yards and a score.

UConn, Sawyer said, is searching for play-making threats in the passing game. Griffin could provide that boost.

"Right now, they're like a Big Ten team. They're going to slug it out (with the running game)," Sawyer said of UConn. "They're looking for guys who can go up and catch the football, help them take the next step, and beat those spread teams."

"I've been blessed to have people who tell me what I need to work on," said Griffin, who said the UConn coaches want him at a playing weight of 255 pounds by the end of his freshman year. "There's pressure, but you've got to live with it. If you don't deal with it, you break and you don't go to Connecticut. There's no other choice for me."

Pinkerton's Lane, much like Griffin, said he didn't hesitate when the Wildcats made their offer.

"Coach (Sean) McDonnell came to school on Friday and offered the scholarship," said Lane, whose older brother, Jason, is a scholarship offensive lineman at Northeastern. "I had my mind made up. I wanted to do Division I-AA. If not, I would go to prep school. (UNH) was my top choice. I didn't even bother waiting around."

Lane said the UNH coaches will likely use him as an offensive guard or center. En route to their third consecutive Division I title this season, the Astros routinely ran behind the powerful and aggressive lineman. In fourth-down conversion situations, Lane was always asked to clear the way, Pinkerton head coach Brian O'Reilly said.

Equally dominant on the defensive line this season, Lane ranked sixth on the team in tackles (68). He also recorded 15 tackles for a loss and three quarterback sacks.

"Josh Lane is the best lineman I've ever had in my program. No one has ever compared to him," O'Reilly said after the D-I championship game. "Josh Lane is immense on both sides of the ball. He's the nicest kid you'd ever want to meet. But on a football field, he is one of the meanest kids I have ever coached. He is all business on a football field."

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Stone Bridge pummels Potomac

PREP FOOTBALL: Stone Bridge pummels Potomac for D-5 title

By Scott Ratcliffe / Daily Progress correspondent
December 9, 2007

Stone Bridge head coach Mickey Thompson finally got over the hump. On a Saturday afternoon when the 18-year coach returned to his alma mater’s stadium to play for the VHSL Division 5 championship, his Bulldogs made it look easy, knocking off previously undefeated Potomac, 38-0, at Scott Stadium.

“So many guys are getting their opportunities, and there’s no jealousy, there’s no fighting, and the guys just played hard together, and I thought that was a big part of what happened today,” Thompson said. “We’ve got so many playmakers and so many guys who can make a big play, it’s incredible.”

Both teams got off to a seemingly slow start, as neither managed to score in the opening quarter. Potomac had a few golden opportunities early, but squandered them away with turnovers, penalties, and a botched snap on a field-goal attempt with a few seconds to play in the first quarter.

It appeared as if the fans in attendance would possibly be in for a defensive stalemate. Stone Bridge’s duo of quarterback Patrick Thompson (the coach’s son) and receiver Ryan Moody, however, would soon give their faithful something to cheer about, and they did it in a big way.

Just a minute into the second quarter, Thompson connected with Moody on a 42-yard touchdown to give the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead, and the two were just getting started. Potomac running back Darius Brent helped give the Panthers a shot to tie the game on the ensuing drive with a 32-yard scamper, leading his team down to the Stone Bridge 19-yard line. Panther kicker Eric Dobratz missed a 36-yard attempt, and the score remained 7-0.

The Bulldog offense moved the ball right back into Potomac territory, and with tremendous protection from the offensive line, Thompson threw a laser to Moody that was caught, but when he hit the ground the ball popped up in the air, and reserve tight end John Bladel came out of nowhere to get a hand under it in the end zone, pushing the Bulldogs lead to 14-0.

Moody had fumbled the ball away late in the 2005 state championship game, a game that Stone Bridge lost, and he says that still haunts him to this day.

“I felt so bad for the seniors of that class,” Moody admitted. “I still think about it, I thought about it last night before this game. ‘Keep my eye on the ball’ was the gameplan for me for today. I told [Coach] Thompson all year, I owe him this ring, and I felt like I did a good job getting him that ring today.”

Potomac started a nice drive into Stone Bridge territory, but again shot itself in the foot, as Panthers quarterback DeAirius Thomas was clobbered as he threw a pass, and Stone Bridge’s Jeron Gouveia picked off the pass at the 25-yard line with just two minutes left in the first half. Stone Bridge drove the length of the field with the help of direct snaps and fake handoffs, and Ronnie Shaban kicked a 31-yard field goal as time expired, giving the Bulldogs a 17-0 halftime lead.

In the third quarter, Gouveia, who plays both offense and defense, converted on two third downs and one fourth down, to give Stone Bridge another opportunity to score, and Thompson again hooked up with his favorite target, Moody, this time from 48 yards out with 4:11 left in the period.

Then, just when Potomac coach Ted Lilly thought his team would make a game of it, the Panthers turned the ball over on downs twice. Stone Bridge added to its lead, as Thompson again hit Moody on a 20-yard strike with about 7 minutes left, to go up 31-0. Junior halfback Daniel Allen added a 6-yard touchdown run with 4:03 to play to seal the deal.

Patrick Thompson finished the game with 286 yards passing and four touchdowns, while Moody had six grabs for 158 yards and three trips to the end zone.

Potomac committed 13 penalties for 104 yards, turned the ball over three times and was just 2 of 9 on third-down conversions. Brent finished with a team-high 61 yards rushing, and Donald Vaughn led the Panthers with 84 yards receiving on four catches.

“It’s been a heck of a ride for us this season,” coach Lilly said after the game. “I can’t tell you how proud I am of the young men that I had an opportunity to work with this season.”

Potomac’s defense held the single-wing offense of Stone Bridge to just 67 yards, but gave up big plays through the air. The Panthers finished the season with a record of 13-1.

Thompson was asked what it was like winning his first championship at his alma mater, with his sons contributing significantly.

“It was one of those things that people dream of,” he said. “Words can’t describe it.”

Tough Lost For Bearden


Baker gets recipe just right

Posted on Sunday, December 9, 2007

The perfect script ended with a perfect ending.

Senior Josh Baker kicked a 22-yard field goal with five seconds remaining to give No. 2 Mount Ida a 17-16 victory over top-ranked Bearden in the Class 2 A final before a crowd of 5, 284 on Saturday afternoon at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.

It was the first state championship for the Lions (15-0 ), the only team in Arkansas to finish with a perfect record this fall.

Baker was perfect, too He attempted only two field goals this season, but, of course, nobody in Montgomery County will remember his successful 35-yarder in a blowout victory over Danville in the first round of the playoffs. “In practice, he’s usually dead-on from 45 [yards ] in,” Mount Ida Coach Michael White said. “We were very confident in the decision there. He’s real good from that hash mark, at that angle.” Baker’s field goal capped a dramatic 1 10-play, 76-yard drive in the final 2 / 2 minutes that erased a 16-14 Bearden lead. Baker, the game’s most valuable player, ran eight times for 40 yards on the drive. But it also included a 36-yard pass from senior quarterback Taylor Elder to junior wide receiver Josh DePriest to the Bearden 18 with 1: 25 remaining. Five consecutive runs by Baker allowed Mount Ida to reach the 5 and use its final timeout to set up its field-goal attempt, from the left hash mark, with nine seconds remaining.

After Bearden’s final timeout, Baker, a straight-on kicker, successfully drilled the attempt through the collegiate-width uprights in the north end zone.

Baker recovered a fumble as Bearden tried to lateral on the ensuing kickoff, a fitting ending since he rushed 37 times for 159 yards and 1 touchdown and had a team-high 13 tackles at linebacker.

“The Baker kid proved he’s one of the best around,” Bearden Coach Mike Cox said. “It’s hard to go in there and kick the field goal playing every down of the game and have to play as hard as he did.” Bearden (13-1 ) was trying to give Ouachita County a state championship for the first time since Camden in 1952.

But the Bears, who were playing in their first final, had 4 turnovers and were penalized 6 times for 60 yards.

Maybe more important, standout senior quarterback Dewayne Watts was hampered much of the day with a knee problem he’s had the past three weeks, Cox said.

Watts helped Bearden overcome a 14-0 second-quarter deficit — the first time the Bears trailed this fall — with a touchdown pass and 2, two-point runs.

But Watts, who entered with more than 1, 000 yards rushing and 1, 000 yards passing this season, clearly was limited physically. He accounted for only 52 yards rushing and 58 yards passing.

Bearden spent much of the second half snapping directly to senior tailback Carlos Chambers in Single-Wing and Spread sets.

“We just didn’t get it done,” Cox said. “I probably didn’t help myself. I should have just ran the ball when we had a lead. Bottom line is we just came up short. We ain’t got no excuses. They just beat us today.” Mount Ida outgained Bearden 309-211, had no turnovers and had a 27: 58-20: 02 advantage in time of possession.

Mount Ida, which won its final three playoff games by a combined five points, finished the season plus-40 in turnover ratio.

“That’s been a big factor in all our games,” said White, a 1993 Mount Ida graduate and former Lions player. “We’ve had a lot of close games. Getting that turnover margin in our favor has won several games along the way. It gave us a chance to get here. When we got here, the same thing happened.” The Lions opened the game with a 17-play, 64-yard drive that ended in Baker’s 1-yard touchdown run with 4: 28 left in the first quarter.

The drive, which included two fourthdown conversions, consumed 7: 32.

Defense set up Mount Ida’s second touchdown.

Senior linebacker Chase Whittington raked the ball away from Watts on a keeper, and senior defensive end Randall Dickerson recovered the fumble at the Bearden 29 with 11: 37 remaining in the first half.

Nine plays later, Elder scored on a 1-yard run with 7: 19 remaining in the first half.

At that point, Mount Ida had run 38 plays for 140 yards and held possession for 14: 46. Bearden had run just five plays for 22 yards, with only 1: 55 of possession time.

“We had trouble with their front,” Cox said. “Their offensive line kind of dominated us a little bit. But we don’t have anything to be ashamed of. We represented pretty well, I thought.” Aided by a roughing-the-passer penalty, Bearden moved 81 yards in 10 plays to finally score late in the first half.

Chambers took a direct snap and ran 4 yards for the touchdown with 1: 58 remaining in the second quarter. Watts ran for two points on a power sweep around left end to cut Mount Ida’s lead to 14-8 at halftime.

Bearden took its only lead when, on fourth-and-3, Watts threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Michael Belin and then ran for two points with 5: 31 left in the third quarter.

Bearden seized the momentum midway through the fourth quarter when it stopped Mount Ida on fourth down from the Bears’ 41.

But after the only punt of the game rolled dead at the Mount Ida 19 with 2: 35 remaining, the Lions wouldn’t be denied the perfect ending.

“We have to play hard to compete with the athletes like Bearden’s,” White said. “That’s why we’re here and that’s why we won. It’s because of the desire and the passion of the kids.”

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
212 N. East Ave.
Fayetteville, AR 72701

Sawyer the Soothsayer

Excerpt From:

2007 High School Football Wrap-up
Extra Points

Hector Longo

Sawyer the Soothsayer

Eyes were rolling all over the region, starting with these two, and all over the Granite State when Londonderry High coach Tom Sawyer announced he was switching from the already run-crazed wing-T to the even more antiquated, but ground-game friendly, single-wing.

The snickering ceased in Week 1, when senior Alex Theodhosi set out on the most prolific Lancer running campaign of all-time and Londonderry earned a return to the Division 1 playoffs.

Theodhosi, who ran for 584 yards as a junior, nearly gained four times that, becoming the region's second 2,000-yard rusher by finishing with 2,041 yards on 259 carries in 11 games.

Not since 1998-99 when Steve Miller put up back-to-back 1,400-yard seasons has a Lancer finished so high on the regional rushing chart.
The Eagle-Tribune Publishing Company
100 Turnpike St
North Andover, MA 01845

Monday, December 10, 2007

One-on-one with Coach Dan Mullen

Larry Vettel
Dec 21, 2004

Sunday evening I had a chance to visit on the phone with one of the new members of the Gator coaching staff, quarterbacks coach Dan Mullen. After helping Alex Smith to a top four finish in the Heisman voting, Mullen will attempt to do the same with Gator junior-to-be Chris Leak. Here is a partial (edited) transcript.

Vettel: How tough has it been to prepare for the opportunity at Florida while still doing justice to Utah and the kids who got you to this point?
Mullen: It's been real tough, I mean Urban's put together a great plan. I have yet to make it to Gainesville even, which I can't wait to get down there. But I've been staying here trying to keep people focused on the bowl game in our own program. The great thing that's happened for us out here is that the University of Utah has hired a new head coach, Kyle Whittingham, the defensive coordinator who is already here. That alone has brought complete stability back to the program and allowed the kids breathe a sigh of relief and now get their focus back on football and winning this bowl game.

Vettel: Talk to me about this offense. It does a lot of similar things to what Florida does, but also mixes in some unique things with the quarterback running with the ball. How would you describe what you guys do out there?

Mullen: Really when the offensive was created what we wanted to do was spread people out and make them defend the entire field. When you talk to defensive coaches, what causes them the most issues, you know? One being a team that can throw the ball. If you want to be a successful passing team in college the best way you do that is by spreading the field out, getting into empty sets, spread it out and let the quarterback see what's really going on. When I was at Notre Dame with Bob Davie we'd be playing Tennessee and Michigan and those people. You know he'd be kinda worried but feeling okay with the defense. Then we'd go play Navy and he'd be in a cold sweat, so what we tried to is combine the option football with that spread passing attack to really cause defense problems and force them to stay in one defense.

Vettel: Most teams are either pass-oriented or run oriented. They are option teams or they're not. You're basically creating a three-style hybrid. My question is, how hard is that to teach, and thus how hard will it be for returning players to learn here in Gainesville?

Mullen: In all the offenses I've been involved with I think it's the easiest offense. Now, the tricky part is it takes a little while to get used to it. But once you have things down, very little changes. We don't change a whole lot of our plan from week to week. When you're coaching the quarterback and you can say, okay this is the defense they're running this week, he'll come in and say, I pretty much know the game plan already because I know how we attack this defense. Our goal obviously is by the end of spring and by the end of camp, to get everything cranked up and everybody on it for the opening game against Wyoming next year and we get a chance to let it go a little bit.

Vettel: One thing that Urban said in his press conference that really stuck with me was that, really there is no offense, per se. There is a scheme and a philosophy that is tailored to the personnel. You've had it with Josh Harris at Bowling Green and now Alex Smith at Utah, now you're inheriting a guy in Chris Leak who has had quite a bit of success. Give us a sense of how things can be tailored for the skills of the quarterback.

Mullen: What we'll do is in designing who is going to carry the ball, or who is going to touch the ball. What we can go is tweak little things on reads. We were at Bowling Green and we had Josh Harris, who was basically a 235-pound tailback who could throw the ball. We would just line up there and almost be a single-wing team and let him pound away at people. When we came out here to Utah, well, we had Alex, and the best way to make people defend was to find more ways to get the ball into the running backs hands and one way to do that was to make people back up and defend the pass. From everything I know about Chris (Leak) he's a great student of the game and he's obviously a great passer. From what I've seen so far he going to be much more in the mold of an Alex Smith; a smart, good decision maker who is a great passer. So we can kind of stay on the same path we've been on here. The thing I'm excited about is I hear there are great wide receivers and a lot of skill guys we can create matchups against and cause some issues for the defense that way.

Vettel: Yeah, you got some good toys to play with.

Mullen: I can't wait, I'm thrilled and I think it's going to be exciting, you know and I hope all the kids down there are excited to get to learn a new offense. Our offense is a lot of fun and kids enjoy playing in it because there are a lot of ways to spread the ball around. If you're a receiver you are going to get to run with the ball we're going to pitch it to you and you're gonna run. If you're a running back, we're going to throw the ball to you and move it that way. We're going to try and create matchups and get the ball into our playmakers hands as much as possible.

Vettel: Have you had a chance to talk with Chris Leak?

Mullen: I spoke with him briefly, just to introduce myself. He and I talked and his biggest focus right now, and Chris knows this, is to beat the Hurricanes. That'll be a great launching point for our season next year to come away from the Peach Bowl with a big victory.

Later this week I'll have more with Dan Mullen, including his personal scouting report on the Gators' new head coach. Plus he shares his thoughts on spending New Year's Eve watching the Gators and Hurricanes, and why it's important to all the coaches coming to Gainesville that Utah get the job done against Pittsburgh in the Fiesta Bowl.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Is Florida's Tebow Revolutionizing The Position?

By ANDY STAPLES, The Tampa Tribune
Published: December 8, 2007

NEW YORK - The scene looks so familiar. A linebacker-sized quarterback in the shotgun. Five receivers, spread the entire width of the field.

The quarterback takes the snap and runs into the teeth of the line. He bursts through. The free safety stands in his way. The poor, poor free safety. The quarterback dips his shoulder. Kaboom! The free safety lands on his back. Two defenders finally wrestle the quarterback down inches short of the goal line.

Another one for the Tim Tebow highlight reel, right? Not exactly.

The scene is the first play of a highlight video for Los Alamitos (Calif.) High junior quarterback Clark Evans. And thanks in part to the 51 TDs scored this season by Tebow, the University of Florida's sophomore quarterback, the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Evans could become one of the nation's most prized recruits next year.

After tonight, the demand for a single-wing tailback with a howitzer for an arm may soar. Tebow could become the first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy in the award's 72-year history.

While Tebow, Arkansas tailback Darren McFadden, Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan and Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel wait to learn who will claim the trophy, coaches from schools throughout the country are scouring high schools looking for the next Tebow. Meanwhile, thanks to Tebow, junior varsity linebackers, tight ends and fullbacks may go to bed tonight dreaming of one day tossing TD passes and freight-training free safeties.

"I've been saying it all season. I think Tim Tebow is revolutionizing the position," ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit said. "There are kids who are in middle school now, built like linebackers or tight ends, and they've always been pushed in a certain kind of way as a 13-, 14- or 15-year-old.

"Now they see Tim Tebow, who's built like a linebacker, but he has the ability to throw the ball and now there's a place for that guy in this spread offense."

Even teams that don't use the spread may want a Tebow-type running their offense.

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier, Florida's first Heisman Trophy winner and one of the nation's best molders of pro-style, drop-back quarterbacks, decided after this season he needs an athlete - not just a pure passer - under center. To that end, he hopes former Jefferson High star Stephen Garcia, a mobile, 6-3, 215-pounder, can win Carolina's starting job next season.

"You need a guy back there who can move around," Spurrier said, "because four or five times in the course of a game, you have an opportunity to change things." recruiting analyst Barry Every believes other coaches who run more traditional offenses may alternate between recruiting drop-back passers and what recruitniks call "dual-threat" quarterbacks. Every, who said West Virginia quarterback Pat White deserves as much credit as Tebow for the paradigm shift at quarterback, said coaches who run pro-style offenses might use the athletic quarterback as a change of pace. Florida did it last year, spelling Chris Leak with Tebow. This season, LSU played its way to the national title game with pro-style quarterback Matt Flynn occasionally replaced by dual-threat Ryan Perriloux.

"You're really going to see schools try to get an athletic quarterback," Every said.

Recruiting rankings have begun to reflect that demand. Rivals lists Terrelle Pryor, a 6-6, 235-pound dual-threat quarterback from Jeannette, Pa., as the nation's No. 1 prospect in the class of 2008.

Meanwhile, across the country, Los Alamitos coach John Barnes is preparing for the onslaught of college coaches who will try to get Evans to make their campus his home in 2009. Barnes, who used four-receiver sets before Evans, said he has switched to a version of the spread, except near the goal line. There, Barnes said, Evans runs a 1950s-style single-wing. Evans threw for 2,358 and 16 touchdowns and ran for 958 yards and 13 touchdowns in 10 games as a junior. Do those numbers ring familiar?

"I tell coaches," Barnes said, "he's Tim Tebow."

But the Tebow effect hasn't only changed offenses. Just ask Armwood coach Sean Callahan, whose team lost to Tebow's Ponte Vedra Beach Nease team in the 2005 Class 4A state title game.

"We changed our defense," Callahan said, "because of him."

Callahan realized he needed faster defensive linemen to stop the spread. Now, when it comes time to place a player on offense or defense, Callahan makes sure his biggest, fastest players go to the defensive line - because they might stand a chance against a rampaging 235-pound QB.

Still, some believe the Tebow effect may be limited because Tebow may have once-in-a-generation ability.

"Is he going to revolutionize the position? I don't see many out there like him," Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer said this week. "That's a very unusual skill set he has. I don't see many Tebows out there."

Maybe because they've all been playing linebacker or defensive end. But the next generation of football players may not feel constrained by an antiquated idea of how a quarterback should look. Want proof? Go to Google and enter the phrase "next Tim Tebow" into the search box.[See Video below]

Then click the second link and watch Clark Evans and imagine how many more running, throwing juggernauts dot the football landscape. And while you're at it, pity the poor, poor free safeties who'll get steamrolled by a quarterback revolution.

Reporter Andy Staples can be reached at (352) 262-3719 or

The Next Tim Tebow?

Watching Junior quarterback Clark Evans of Los Alamitos (Calif.), it doesn't take long to find a quarterback to compare him to. How many other quarterbacks in the country run the ball like Mike Alstott and have a good enough arm to play quarterback in college?

Los Alamitos coach John Barnes is preparing for the onslaught of college coaches who will try to get Evans to make their campus his home in 2009. Barnes, who used four-receiver sets before Evans, said he has switched to a version of the spread, except near the goal line. There, Barnes said, Evans runs a 1950s-style single-wing. Evans threw for 2,358 and 16 touchdowns and ran for 958 yards and 13 touchdowns in 10 games as a junior. Do those numbers ring familiar?

"I tell coaches," Barnes said, "he's Tim Tebow."

Single-Wing Touchdowns the Diffence In Heisman

Tebow Makes Heisman History

NEW YORK (AP) — Tim Tebow needed only two years of college to graduate to Heisman Trophy winner, putting the sophomore in a class by himself.

Florida's folk-hero quarterback with the rugged running style and magnetic personality won the Heisman on Saturday night to become the first sophomore or freshman to take college football's most prestigious award.

Since 1935, when Single-Wing Tailback, Jay Berwanger of Chicago won the first Heisman, every winner had been a junior or senior — until Tebow, who picked up quite a souvenir on his first trip to New York.

"I am fortunate, fortunate for a lot of things," Tebow said. "God truly blessed me and this just adds on. It's an honor. I'm so happy to be here."

He beat out Arkansas running back Darren McFadden, the first player since 1949 to finish second in consecutive seasons. Tebow received 1,957 points and 462 first-place votes to McFadden's 1,703 points and 291 first-place votes.

Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan was third, and Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel fourth.

A year after Tebow helped Florida win a national title, and in his first season as the Gators' starter, the chiseled 235-pound quarterback in a fullback's body put together a historic campaign. He's the first major college player to run for 20 touchdowns and throw 20 TD passes in the same season.

"When I get back to the University of Florida, we're going to have fun," Tebow said.

In an unpredictable college football season, the Heisman race was as unsettled as the national title chase. Tebow emerged as the front-runner even though Florida (9-3) stumbled early.

Six of the last seven Heisman winners picked up their bronze statues on the way to playing in the national championship game. Tebow won't get that chance this season, but Heisman voters didn't hold Florida's failure to defend its national title against him.

McFadden slumped in October before finishing with a huge November, capping his season with a spectacular performance — 206 yards rushing, three touchdowns and a TD pass — in the Razorbacks' 50-48 triple-overtime win over No. 1 LSU. It seems doubtful the junior with sprinter's speed will return to Arkansas next year to make another run at the Heisman. Not with some NFL team likely to make him a top-10 draft pick.

Brennan and Daniel each passed for over 4,000 yards and led their teams to breakout seasons.

But no player was more important to his team than Tebow.

The closest he came to a bad game came in a 28-24 loss at LSU, when he completed 12 of 26 passes for 158 yards, throwing for two scores and running for another. He finished with a school-record 3,970 yards of total offense and accounted for 51 touchdowns.

Simply put, he's the perfect quarterback for coach Urban Meyer's spread-option offense.

Florida fans might argue Tebow is just plain perfect.

Tebowisms have become all the rage with Gators fans on the Internet. A sampling: Superman wears Tim Tebow pajamas. Tim Tebow has counted to infinity ... twice. Tim Tebow ordered a Big Mac at Burger King, and got one.

And if joining Steve Spurrier and Danny Wuerffel as the only Florida players to win the Heisman Trophy wasn't enough to make Tebow the most popular man in Gainesville, there's one more reason for Gators fans to be excited: the promise of two more years of Tebow, who has said he has no plans to leave school after his junior season.

The legend of Tebow started at Nease High School in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., where he once finished a game playing on a broken leg.

Homeschooled by missionary parents who run an orphanage in the Philippines, Tebow took advantage of a Florida state law to play for Nease, about 90 miles from the University of Florida campus.

Tebow has worked and preached at his parents' orphanage since he was 15. He regularly speaks at schools and delivered his message of faith at a prison in Florida earlier this year.

He arrived in Gainesville with superstar status, and Gators fans could hardly wait to see their quarterback of the future.

In a part-time role as a complement to Chris Leak, Tebow played with a fiery passion. He bowled over defenders and bounced around the field, fists pumping and arms waving.

He ran for 469 yards and eight touchdowns as a freshman, throwing only enough to take advantage of defenses stacked to stop him from running.

This season, the Gators became Tebow's team and at times he was a one-man offense.

He completed 68 percent of his attempts for 3,132 yards and 29 touchdowns and continued to run with reckless abandon, even while playing the second half of the season with a very sore shoulder.

Compensating for the Gators' lack of a reliable tailback, Tebow led Florida with 838 yards rushing and set a Southeastern Conference record with 22 touchdowns. With speed and a strong arm to go with his power and grit, Tebow is part throwback to the days of single-wing football and part 21st century prototype for the position.

Add winning the Heisman as a sophomore, and Tebow is truly one of a kind.

The Associated Press

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Stone Bridge: A Trip Down Championship Road

Stone Bridge vs Langley Football 2007
Game played on 10/12/2007 in Langley, Virginia.

Madison vs Stone Bridge Football Highlights 2007
Game played at Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn, Virginia on 10/20/07. Final score: Stone Bridge 27 Madison 7

2007 Northern Region Football Final: Edison vs Stone Bridge
Nov. 23, 2007

2007 Div. 5 State Football Semifinal: Phoebus vs Stone Bridge
Dec. 1, 2007. In fine come-from-behind style, Stone Bridge won 38-24.

Video of State Championship win to be posted as sonon as avaialible.

Bulldogs Crowned Champs

Photos by: Tracy A. Woodward
The Stone Bridge football team, with head coach Mickey Thompson, celebrates its AAA Division 5 Championship win (38-0) over Potomac

With five minutes left in the second quarter, Stone Bridge's No. 11 Ryan Moody makes this catch but the ball pops into the air and Stone Bridge's No. 15 John Bladel completes the catch and scores the touchdown for Stone Bridge. On defense for Potomac is No. 2 Mulku Kalokoh.

In the first quarter, Stone Bridge's No. 3 Jeron Gouveia is taken down by Potomac's No. 4 Darius Brent.

In the first quarter with 3:43 on the clock, Stone Bridge's No. 8 Matt Irwin takes down Potomac's No. 7 Abdul Kanneh.

In the fourth quarter with 10:57 on the clock, Stone Bridge's No. 3 Jeron Gouveia comes under Potomac's No. 2 Mulju Kalokoh. Stone Bridge was up, 24-0, at the time.

The Washington Post -- 305 Harrison St. SE -- Suite 100-ALeesburg VA 20175

Your Virginia Group AAA State Champions

The Stone Bridge Bulldogs
Virginia Group AAA State Champions
Congratulations to Coach Mickey Thompson and his Stone Bridge Bulldogs
On December 08, 2007, the Singe-Wing Bulldogs defeated the previous undefeated Potomac Panthers 38-0!

Apopka Great Year Ends

The Single-Wing Sentinel Congratulates The Blue Darters for an Outstanding Year!
It's a Brave new world for Boone

The Braves outlast Apopka 21-18 to secure their first trip to the state final, and it will be a short one to the Citrus Bowl.

Tania Ganguli
Sentinel Staff Writer
December 8, 2007

The Boone Braves will play for a Class 6A football state championship.

Those words never had been true before Friday night.

The Braves (14-0) defeated Apopka (12-2) 21-18 to advance to the Class 6A state championship game for the first time. Boone will play Miami Northwestern, the nation's No. 1 team, next Saturday at the Citrus Bowl.

"I don't think any coach at the beginning of the season thinks his team is going to be undefeated going into the state championship game," Boone Coach Phil Ziglar said. "You dream about something like this."

Facing a fourth-and-6 at Boone's 22-yard line, Apopka was down by three and in field-goal range with less than two minutes remaining. Apopka took its last timeout.

Then Ziglar gathered his players and reminded them of what happened last year when Boone played Lake Brantley in the state semifinal, took the lead with 1 minute, 49 seconds left, gave up a touchdown with 1:17 remaining and lost 34-31.

"I said, 'Guys, it's 1:40 again,' " Ziglar said. " 'Let's not go home this time.' "

Apopka fumbled the snap and fell on it, and the nervous Boone fans who made up two-thirds of the sellout crowd erupted.

"We were not going to lose this game," Boone defensive back/receiver Jeremy Brown said. "We love this stuff."

The big plays with which Apopka demoralized opponents most of the season belonged to Boone in the first half.

The Braves' James Washington finished with 186 rushing yards, including an 80-yard touchdown run. He picked up a 54-yard run on the first play after Apopka's kickoff. He later picked up a 22-yard run to start the Braves' first touchdown drive.

On Boone's fourth possession, quarterback Sam Hutsell found receiver Jeremy Brown on a deep route for an 80-yard touchdown.

"We observed that there was no deep safety," Brown said. "It was a great throw from Sam Hutsell."

Facing an early deficit and unable to break off spectacular plays, Apopka put together methodical but effective drives. Quarterback Jeremy Gallon finished with 127 rushing yards and a touchdown. Apopka running back Jeremy Rouse finished with 108 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

"They were the better team tonight," Apopka Coach Rick Darlington said, nodding.

The Blue Darters failed to convert two-point conversions on their first two touchdowns, then missed the extra point on their third.

Three crucial Boone fumbles helped the Blue Darters stay close.

With 3:34 left, Hutsell was hit hard and fumbled right at Apopka's Deiontae Payne. Payne's fumble recovery began the drive that threatened Boone's lead.

But the comeback was not to be.

"I love these kids; these sophomores played like seniors," said Akeem Jones, an Apopka senior offensive lineman, one of the few senior starters on the team. "This is just the building block for next year."

Orlando Sentinel
633 N. Orange Avenue
Orlando FL 32801

Single-Wing Used as Back up QB

After the way his team has played during its eight-game winning streak and four playoff games, Coach Barry Stewart of Mount Tabor is confident that it will perform well during today’s Class 4-A championship game at BB&T Field.

But Stewart also has one major worry about the Spartans’ opponent, Wilmington Hoggard (14-0).

“Our worry is that they will push us all over the field,” Stewart said.

Today’s game will showcase Mount Tabor’s speed against Hoggard’s brawn. It will be the second championship-game appearance for Mount Tabor, the Class 4-A runner-up in 2003, and it will be the first appearance for Hoggard, a team that is 28-1 over the past two seasons.

Hoggard’s offensive success comes from a big offensive line that has sprung tailback Shawn Sidbury for 1,624 yards. Quarterback Mark Crecco, who was injured in the quarterfinals and played sparingly last week, has practiced this week and likely will see some playing time. But he could share the snaps with Brad Busby, a 6-3 junior who brings an element of added athleticism.

Last week against Southern Durham, Hoggard also added a new wrinkle to its offense, lining up Luke Caldwell, a 6-3 senior and the Vikings’ top receiver, at tailback in a Single-Wing formation.

“They like to pound it at you with the Sidbury kid,” Stewart said. “He can run at you, he can run over you, and he can run around you. He is very athletic. They are a very big and very physical team. They don’t make many mistakes up front.

“Crecco (pronounced cree-co) gives them a little more in the passing game. He has been there for a while and can probably communicate with coaches the things he has seen on the field. Busby is an athlete, which a lot of times, that’s more dangerous. He might not have as good a grasp on the offense, but if he busts a play he can still make something happen.”

Stewart stressed that Hoggard wants to run, as it did in last week’s 21-6 win over Southern Durham. The Vikings rushed on all of their final 37 plays.

On defense, Hoggard has decent size on its line, especially the side that includes Jonathan Cooper. Cooper is a 6-4, 300-pounder who also starts at left guard on offense and has narrowed his Division I choices to three schools, including Wake Forest. Cooper has also been chosen to play in the Shrine Bowl, where he will team with Ed Gainey of Mount Tabor, a senior safety.

Stewart said that the Vikings have a strong secondary and quick linebackers.

“They have the best defense we have seen,” Stewart said. “But we may be one of the better offenses they have seen, especially with the way we have executed in the playoffs.”

Mount Tabor and Hoggard have made their paths to the final look pretty easy - the Spartans have outscored their four playoff opponents 152-55, and Hoggard has outscored its opponents133-51.

Mount Tabor’s season has been a roller-coaster ride, one that started with high expectations, lapsed into mediocrity with three losses in midseason, then rose again with its winning streak.

Since the Spartans have gotten healthy, their performances have been steady and convincing. The only time Mount Tabor has trailed in the playoffs was in the first round. High Point Central took a 7-0 lead in that game, but the Spartans scored 35 points unanswered points to win going away.

In subsequent playoff games against Shelby Crest, Gastonia Ashbrook and Watauga, Mount Tabor had leads of 14-0, 21-0, and 30-0, respectively, before their opponents scored.

Hunter Furr, Mount Tabor’s junior halfback, has averaged 187.8 yards rushing a game in the playoffs, and the Spartans have averaged 279 yards rushing in the playoffs. On defense, the Spartans have limited teams to a little more than 200 yards a game.

Hoggard went virtually untested during the regular season and won its games by no fewer than 16 points. Along the way, the Vikings beat some talented opponents, including New Bern, which will play Charlotte Independence today for the Class 4-AA championship. Hoggard beat New Bern 39-13 in their season opener.

Stewart took his team to BB&T Field last Friday night after it returned from beating Watauga in Boone. He said he wanted to motivate his players to work hard during the past week rather than just enjoy the fact that they had made the big game.

“This team has a character of its own,” Stewart said. “They have developed a lot of character throughout the team with things they have had to overcome. They have a lot of common sense. They understand what’s going on. The kids have great work ethic and they do realize whatever the outcome (today), it will happen based on whatever happened Monday through Friday and the work they put in there.

“We have two programs coming in that are, I don’t want to say exactly at the top of their games, but they are pretty close.”

Winston-Salem Journal
418 N. Marshall St.
Winston-Salem, NC 27101

1st Year SW Coach Selected as Coach of the Year

Berg led Baldwin on a magic ride
By Jesse Temple

December 8, 2007

Baldwin High football coach Mike Berg knew his team’s 4-5 record last season was an anomaly. He just had to make sure it didn’t happen again.

Determined to right the ship, the 10th-year coach scrapped his old offense in favor of the single-wing formation this year. The offense is known for being run-oriented — something Berg hoped would suit Baldwin well this year while having no varsity experience at the quarterback position.

The switch paid dividends as the Bulldogs rushed for more than 3,000 yards, blasting their way to a 10-3 record and their first Class 4A state semifinal appearance in 19 years. It also earned Berg selection as the Journal-World’s all-area football coach of the year.

“Going into this season, I knew we had a special group of kids,” Berg said. “I just keep going back to our seniors because they were such a special group of guys that took it upon themselves. They did not like 4-5, and they said, ‘We’re going to work hard and get the younger kids to follow us.’ So it was a total team effort.”

Eudora High football coach Gregg Webb, whose Cardinals team lost to Baldwin, 20-19, this season, said Berg had plenty to do with his team’s turnaround.

“He’s a great leader, and he gets his kids to know what they’re supposed to do,” Webb said. “Every year that we play them, their kids have been tough as nails. They’ve got a leader that instills great pride in their program, and everybody kind of rallies around it. That makes for a great coach.”

Behind Berg, Baldwin advanced the farthest it had since a 1988 state runner-up finish. In the Class 4A semis, the Bulldogs came within one touchdown of returning to the championship.

“We’ve had some really good teams in my 10 years, but we have never gotten past the sectional game,” Berg said. “Being in the top four out of 64 is pretty special.”

Berg said the key to his team’s success was the players’ work ethic and their level of coachability. Berg helped instill a toughness in his team by adopting the motto, “Don’t accept being average.”

“As a coach, you get what you demand,” Berg said. “We demanded that they look better than they did the day before. When you demand that, it’s going to happen.”

The Lawrence Journal-World
609 New Hampshire
P.O Box 888
Lawrence, Kansas 66044