Friday, September 28, 2007

Mohigans back into fire

Mohigans back into fire against Wheeling Park

By Bob Hertzel
For the Times West Virginian

MORGANTOWN — Once upon a time, in the Kingdom of Championships, it wouldn’t have mattered much to King Morgantown that it had defeated Preston in a football game.

That seemed to be their birthright.

Ah, but times have changed, and coach John Bowers admits that this year’s 19-0 slaying of the Knights was cause for celebration throughout the one-time Kingdom of Championships.

“I listened to (Michigan State) coach Mark Dantonio at a coach’s clinic, and he was talking about celebrating every win. There were times when a Morgantown High win over Preston didn’t mean a whole lot. But when we’ve had a season like we’ve had, we need to celebrate every victory. We were ecstatic to beat Fairmont West. We’re ecstatic here.”

Indeed, Morgantown stands at 3-2 after five games, but one of those three victories is a forfeit over Martinsburg, which admitted to using an ineligible player after thumping the Mohigans in the season opener.

It’s back into the fire for Morgantown this weekend as it hosts a strong Wheeling Park team at Pony Lewis Field on Friday night.

Winning at Preston wasn’t easy for the Mohigans, who struggled through a dismal first half tied at 0-0 before taking over and scoring all 19 points in the third quarter.

“The offense played a great second half. It didn’t play bad in the first half; it was just you get something going, then something would happen like a fumbled snap or a dropped pass or something,” Bowers said. “The defense played a great entire game. Our kids have never quit playing hard. We just made a few silly mistakes here.

“We’re still green. We have to take baby steps, and we have to be happy with any gains we make. Any time you come out in the ‘W’ column, no matter who it’s against, you have to be happy with it,” Bowers said.

It was those silly mistakes that forced Bowers to go back in time and put in his version of the old-fashioned single-wing offense in the second half, using Daniel Strosnider as his single-wing tailback.

“The thing is, when you throw it the kid has to catch the snap, throw it, someone has to catch it, learn the route. We would put three or four good plays together, then we’d drop a snap or drop a ball. It didn’t seem like we could get any continuity to it,” Bowers explained.

“When you snap directly to a guy and he doesn’t have to do anything with it, just run, that’s pretty safe. Daniel does a nice job. He’s a former quarterback. We have throwing in the package and he can throw it pretty well.”

Spreading out in the formation also has took some pressure off the offensive line, allowing them to not have to hold their blocks quite so long.

“We decided we needed to spread the field because we’re not a great blocking team,” Bowers said.

The important thing was that it worked and got a victory out of the game for Morgantown.

E-mail Bob Hertzel at


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