Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Blackhawks offer run-first challenge

By Jim Henry


Greenfield’s defense faces a different challenge in Monday night’s Class 1 sectional football game at Adrian.

“We’ll definitely play the run a little more than we have in the past,” Wildcats head coach Jamie LaSalle said. “We went about three weeks in a row against spread teams.

“Adrian runs the football most of the time and will play-action pass some. They are a pretty good all-around football team. Some of the teams we’ve been playing lately, they’ll have some superstars. This team (Adrian) has more really good football players all the way across the board. They are pretty solid at every position.

“They have 45 kids, so they are probably a little deeper than most Class 1 teams we’ve been playing. It seems like they switch out more guys on defense and offense than the others.”

Greenfield (10-1), which has a roster of 30, defeated Appleton City 25-6 in its playoff opener Wednesday night. The Wildcat defense limited Appleton City to minus-5 yards rushing.

Jordan Riehm rushed for 97 yards on 27 carries and scored a touchdown, and quarterback Jordan Bryant completed 6 of 9 passes for 96 yards, including an 18-yard TD toss to Jamie Gray to break a 6-6 tie in the second period. The Wildcats added fourth-quarter scores on short runs by Montana Hembree and Bryant.

“I didn’t think we played well at all on offense,” LaSalle said. “We fumbled the ball a ton. Being a single-wing team, our snaps were a little off, but our defense really played well.”

Adrian (10-1) needed two nights — and a late touchdown and 2-point conversion — to nip Rich Hill 15-14 in its first-round game. The Blackhawks and Tigers ended their game on Thursday night after Wednesday’s action was halted by lightning.

“I don’t know if it will matter a whole lot,” LaSalle said. “They only played a half on Thursday night.”

The Blackhawks have won nine straight games since a 51-14 loss at Galena, a 3A playoff participant in Kansas, on Sept. 5. Veteran head coach George Bruto, a Missouri Southern graduate, notched victory No. 200 on Oct. 3 with a 35-15 victory over Cass-Midway.

“They have two good backs, a really good quarterback,” LaSalle said. “The defense doesn’t give up the big play.

“We’re definitely going to have to be able to run the football. If they shut our run down, we’re in trouble because we’re not a passing team. We have to get movement on the line of scrimmage.”

The Wildcats have won eight straight since a 43-27 loss at Miller. Greenfield beat Rich Hill 13-6 in the final game of the regular season.

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