Sunday, November 18, 2007

'First one to 100'

'First one to 100': S-hawks, Tribe to open it up
By RICK KOZLOWSKI/Journal sports writer

MARTINSBURG — Berkeley Springs and Logan scored almost at will a week ago in their Class AA, first-round playoff game, a 55-40 victory by the Indians.

Are you ready for Round 2?

“First team to a hundred wins,” Berkeley Springs assistant coach Tony McKee joked.

Maybe he was joking.

Maybe he wasn’t.

“If that’s the case, I hope it’s us,” said Indians coach Angelo Luvara, who guided Berkeley Springs to the school’s first playoff win a week ago.

The Indians and visiting Scott have the ability to score often, score fast and also have struggled at times to prevent the other team from scoring as they enter Saturday’s 1:30 p.m. quarterfinal at Martinsburg’s Cobourn Field.

“It seems all indications favor an offensive explosion,” Scott coach Shane Griffith said.

No kidding.

Scott’s Jordan Roberts — he’s No. 28 in the program and listed as a quarterback, but is more of a single-wing ballhandler than typical signal caller — ran for 353 yards in last week’s 40-27 win over Sissonville and now has 3,248 rushing yards this season. He already broke the regular-season rushing record and needs some 300 yards to establish the mark including playoff games.

Berkeley Springs’ pair of Codys — Reed and Hess — have a comparable 3,198 between them.

“Those kids together have 50 touchdowns between the two of them,” Luvara said. “The people at Allegany (Md.) said if one of them were to get hurt, the other one would rush for 400 yards.

“We’re successful at that. Those kids are a pleasure to coach. They really are.”

All three players have consistently been listed among the state’s Kennedy Award candidates.

It looks to be a far different matchup than two seasons ago when Scott won its first playoff game during a 21-6 win over the Indians. The Skyhawks held Berkeley Springs’ offense in check during that game.

“This will be a very good second-round Double-A playoff game,” Griffith said. “Both teams have quite a bit of experience coming in and both teams are extremely good at running the football.

“That’s what high school football is all about, hard-running offenses and defenses that will have to step up.”

Or offenses that will have to outscore the other one if the defenses do a lot of chasing.

“Who’s going to get those three, four key stops during the game that’s going to make a difference,” Luvara said. “Either that or a getting a turnover.”

Said Griffith: “With both teams’ offenses being as efficient and powerful as they are, it’ll come down to which defense can get one or two key stops. You go into these games, it’s going to happen, so you got to take care of third down to close out a drive.”

Both teams know what players to stop.

It’s a matter of doing it.

“We sure have that breakaway ability, don’t we?” Luvara said. “The kids were saying, ‘How are we going to keep the ball away if we score so quick?’ But I’m not going to turn down the scores.

“If you have one back, they can load up on you. With us, they don’t know what set is coming because we don’t change our personnel; they don’t know who’s getting the ball. We give (quarterback) Matt Colwell two plays and he’s been making the right call depending on what defense they’re in.”

Berkeley Springs — the whole state, actually — knows Roberts will be getting the ball. For one thing, it comes right back to him when it’s snapped in the Skyhawks’ so-called “Scott Gun.”

Scott came into its offense almost by accident when current tight end Drew Runion suffered a concussion late last season running the Skyhawks’ traditional I offense. They just decided to snap the ball to Roberts and see what would happen.

When Roberts hit the yardage meter for more than 400 yards running and throwing the football, a new offense was born.

The Skyhawks put eight players on the line, one wideout and Roberts stands next to a running back and takes the snap.

“You have what I call an athlete who distributes the ball,” Griffith said.

Or usually keeps it.

“It does follow a lot of the principles (of the single-wing),” Griffith said. “The ball goes through his hands on every play, even a simple handoff. It puts pressure on the defense because the ball goes through his hands every play. There’s so much of a threat, you have to be honest on defense.

“It’s a throwback to the days before people knew what the quarterback position was. Using modern-day terminology, most people would refer to him as a quarterback because of how he lines up. In our scheme, we don’t really have a quarterback, so to speak.”

Griffith compares Roberts to Magic Johnson and thinks a lot of the Skyhawks’ attack style resembles the Los Angeles Lakers’ “Showtime” of the 6-foot-9 point guard.

Roberts has led the state in rushing and scoring each of the past two seasons.

“He’s really shifty,” Luvara said. “When he gets into the open field, he’s hard to tackle. The key to him is to get him going before he gets going.

“If we can win the turnover battle, that’s a big key. I don’t know if you stop him, but you got to keep him to a minimum, and I think we’ll be OK.”

Berkeley Springs got its quarterback, Matt Colwell, going last week, and he went 7 for 7, helping to keep Logan on its toes and forcing the Wildcats to empty the box of the eight players they tried to use.

“It’s a situation they pose,” Griffith said. “You have to honor that running game, and you have to honor it in a significant way, but you have to watch out for that quarterback.”

Mostly, though, eyes will be on the Berkeley Springs running backs and the Scott “quarterback.”

It could be quite the offensive display.

—Rick Kozlowski can be reached at (304) 26-33381, ext. 116 or


The Journal

207 W. King Street,

P.O. Box 807 Martinsburg,

WV 25402-0807


No comments: