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."