Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Want some surprising football? Bring back the single-wing

September 18, 2008

I don’t like to harp on the same subject, but the time has come to say it again. I wonder why some enterprising football coach — pro, college or high school, it doesn’t matter — doesn’t have his team run from the single-wing formation and surprise a stadium filled with fans.

Football today is the same Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Everybody runs from some version of the T-formation. Some win by large margins, but that’s because they either have better personnel, they execute better, the other team’s halfback has a bellyache, or they pull a trick play or two at appropriate times.
That’s well and good — except for the fact all teams look the same. They could all use the same playbook because their formations and their plays are basically the same.
Why doesn’t some coach liven up the game, especially on the high school level, by dragging out the old single-wing formation and having a go at it? Baseball teams, you may say, all look the same, but the conformation of the field accounts for that. With a football field, the offense can run any formation it wants.
“The T is a quick-opening formation,” some say. “It is sometimes easier to open a quick hole and have the runner speed through it and head east toward the goal line.
Or the pass receivers run their routes, and the quarterback is supposed to hit one with an accurate pass.
That’s OK. It works all right. But each team looks alike. The difference is mostly in the color of their uniforms.
Fifty years ago, someone brought out the T-formation, and it was different. It didn’t have the blocking of the single-wing. Running backs passed the line of scrimmage and didn’t have a lot of protection ahead of them. Blocking was faster in the T, which opened its plays more qquickly than the single-wing. But a single missed block could mean a loss on the play or a gang-busting tackle of the runner.
The single-wing was different.
Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice ran the single-wing all his career except with the Washington Redskins. He once told me, “I wouldn’t trade the single-wing for any other formation in the world. I felt safe running behind six blockers until I saw an opening, and then I would move away from the blockers and make the run on my own. But I didn’t have to go through the line naked, and that made all the difference in the world. It usually meant we gained some yardage.”
The quickness of the T-formation was not in the single-wing offense. The runner didn’t move as quickly as a T halfback going through the line.
“If the play was going to the right,” Justice said, “I had to wait until the left guard pulled out and joined the stream of blockers. Sometimes I had seven blockers ahead of me — if our left-side end was strong enough to block out anyone who might run me down from behind.
“I had to pause a moment after taking the snap to let that guard go by, and then I went through the line with my free hand on the tail of the last guard going through. I was on my own only after all of my interference had taken out their defensive men,” Charlie said .
He never felt naked, not with so many blockers paving the way.
“Shucks, my grandmother could have run behind the blocking I had in high school and college,” Charlie said.
Justice had a greater skill running in the open field than any runner I ever saw. Even while his blockers were getting their men, if Charlie saw a hole open to the right or the left, he took it, leaving his blockers behind. His skill in dodging tacklers and in running everywhere he saw a hole, was a tremendous contribution to the running game. He was better at open-field running than anyone he ever played against.
Not everyone is a Charlie Justice, I know that. In fact, I haven’t seen once since.
When the T-formation came along, everybody dropped the single-wing and ran the T.
Now it’s time for someone to reinstate the old single-wing. He would surprise a lot of teams, and surprise often wins football games.

This is the opinion of Bob Terrell. Contact him at bobterrell5@gmail.com or 712-6589.


Drifters JV football soars

Leonard Banks 17.SEP.08

After coming off a tough 12-0 loss to Goochland last week, the Colonial Beach Drifters junior varsity football team bounced back to rout Charles City, 30-0. Using a revamped single-wing offense, featuring Kiante Dickerson at quarterback, the Drifters played four quarters of solid football. Every time the Panthers tried to build a pattern of momentum, the Drifters made adjustments that eventually shut the Mustangs down.

Cedric Smith and Matt Anderson scored touchdowns in the first half on offense, while Thomas Haywood and Damien Eiras scored in the second half on defense.

Making their junior coaching debuts this season is head coach, and Drifter football great, Earl Payton and his assistants, Battlefield legend, Jonathan Parker and former Drifter star lineman, Kevin Sparks. Thus far this season, the Drifters have won two games, with one lost to the Bulldogs.

Thrilled in his new role as the junior varsity quarterback, and faced with filling the shoes of former junior varsity quarterback stars such as Dylan Farinet, TT Carey and Brent Steffey, Dickerson has settled in and continues to build confidence in his new role as field leader. “I love being a leader, because people respect me, both on and off the field,” Dickerson said.

Payton has witnessed his new quarterback’s athletic growth since days of recreational football. “When he came into the program this year, I told him that I needed him to play quarterback, and that would mean less joking, and more control of the huddle,” Payton said.

After losing Paul Roberson, Dylan Farinet and Travis Cundiff to the varsity this season, many fans may have wondered if the junior varsity would be in a state of rebuilding. With Aaron Dickerson in the role of running back and linebacker and the speed of Eiras and Smith blazing down the sidelines, the Drifters could potentially give the rest of their division a run for their money towards the end of the season. Payton has already instilled the traditional iron-man style of football that will someday benefit them on the varsity level.

Payton realizes that the feeder systems associated with the Drifter football program are vital to the future of varsity football team. Fans have also become accustomed to four straight winning seasons of Drifter junior varsity football.

Recruiting players from the elementary school, where both Payton and Parker work as educators provides Payton an edge of developing a relationship within the confines of a classroom before competing on the field. Not only does Payton coach varsity level recreation football, but he has also worked as an assistant varsity coach. Given his high school, college legendary playing performances and present coaching experience, he has the right stuff to repeat the success of his predecessor, and present varsity assistant, Keith Dickerson.

Payton also understands the importance of off-season conditioning, and how strength related exercise would ultimately result in a more competitive team. “I told them, depending on what they do this season in the weight-room will determine what kind of varsity team they will be during the regular season,” Payton said.

The Drifters will host Lancaster on Wednesday, September 17, at 6:30 p.m., and travel to the unfriendly confines of Rappahannock on September 24, with the game starting at 6:30 p.m.

Menominee hook-and-ladder executed to perfection

September 13, 2008

Prep football: Marshfield drops heartbreaker

By Casey Krautkramer
For the Marshfield News-Herald

There were 12 touchdowns scored in Friday's border battle clash between Marshfield and Menominee (Mich.), but the outcome of the game came down to a single play.

Marshfield quarterback Luke Accola found Grant Bornbach for a 14-yard touchdown strike, but the Tigers still needed the two-point conversion to tie the game and Acccola's conversion pass to fullback Matt Hawley was deflected with seconds remaining as the Maroons escaped Beell Stadium with a 41-39 win.

The Tigers led 26-14 in the fourth quarter, but the Maroons stormed back when Jacob Pedesen, a multi-dimensional player who had nearly 300 yards of total offense, tossed a 5-yard touchdown pass to Justin Salzman.

Marshfield's back breaker was Menominee's designed split hook-and-ladder play when Jordan Maccoux passed the ball 10 yards to Salzman, who then pitched the ball back to Pedesen who streaked down the sidelines for a 60-yard touchdown run. The huge play gave the Maroons a 29-26 lead following Maccoux's 2-point conversion pass to Pedesen.

Menominee coach Ken Hoffer, in his 40th season coaching, said the hook-and-ladder play was executed to perfection out of his team's single wing offense, thanks to Pedesen's speed.

"Pedesen had a hell of a game, but the rest of the team played well, too," he said.

Marshfield immediately answered Menominee's score with a 45-yard touchdown scamper by senior running back Dipo Fagbemi and extra point by Sully Luepke, to take a 33-29 lead.

Menominee came back with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Maccoux to Pedesen, but the conversion passed failed, giving the Maroons a 35-33 advantage. The Maroons continued to ride the wave of momentum when Pedesen intercepted his second pass of the game and returned it for a 21-yard touchdown. The Maroons held a 41-33 lead, as Menominee's fans chanted "UP Power."

Accola completed 20 of 23 passes for 232 yards and two touchdowns. Ryan Danczak, coming off a three-touchdown performance last week in a win over Medford, had the hot receiving hand again, catching six balls for 123 yards and a 57-yard TD in the third quarter.

Fagbemi added 140 yards rushing on the ground, but Marshfield was outgained by the Maroons 443-374.

Maroons 41, Tigers 39

Menominee, Mich. 7 7 7 20 -- 41

Marshfield 0 6 13 20 -- 39

MEN--Jacob Pedsen 30 pass from Jordan Maccoux (Steve Busick kick).

MEN--Pedesen 31 pass from Maccoux (Busick kick).

MAR--Dipo Fagbemi 1 run (conversion pass failed).

MAR--Ryan Danczak 57 pass from Luke Accola (conversion pass failed)

MAR--Danczak 18 pass from Accola (Sully Luepke kick)

MAR--Joshua Lutz 2 run (Luepke kick)

MEN--Justin Salzman 5 pass from Pedersen (Busick kick)

MEN--Pedesen 70 yard pitch from Salzmann (Pedesen convesion pass from Maccoux)

MFLD--Fagbemi 45 run (Luepke kick)

MEN--Salzman 15 pass from Maccoux (conversion pass failed)

MEN--Pedesen 21 interception (kick failed)

MFLD--Grant Bornbach 14 pass from Accola (conversion pass failed)


First downs 16 12

Total yards 443 374

Rushes-yards 40-170 28-142

Passing yards 273 232

Comp.-Att.-INT 27-28-1 21-24-2

Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-0

Individual leaders

Rushing-MEN: Pedesen 22-171. MFLD: Fagbemi 22-140.

Receiving-MEN: Pedesen 10-122. MFLD: Danczak 6-123.

Passing-MEN: Maccoux 20-21-1-194. MFLD: Luke Accola 20-23-2-232.

Records: Menominee 2-1 overall; Marshfield 2-1 overall.


Monday, September 29, 2008

New Singke Wing Team Gets First Win!

Stark’s first win of the season comes on the road at Bedford

David Wilson’s arm was well rested when he dropped back and found his open receiver on a 29- yard second-quarter touchdown. Wilson and the John Stark Single Wing offense used a heavy rushing attack to dominate the time of possession, earning a 26-6 road win on Friday, Sept. 19, at Bedford High School.

John Stark didn’t put the ball in the air until Wilson’s pass with 11:14 remaining in the second quarter, and only threw the ball three times in the contest, instead using its multi-back set to keep the ball out of Bedford’s hands.

The defense was able to keep the Bulldogs from putting together any offensive consistency, and kept them out of scoring range until a high snap gave Bedford the ball with a first down on the John Stark 12-yard line with just under a minute remaining in the contest.

Bedford took advantage, scoring the first points in the program’s three-game history with 10 seconds remaining to spoil John Stark’s bid for a shutout. In addition to Wilson’s touchdown strike to Garrett Wagner, the signal-caller also added a 7-yard run in the first quarter to open the scoring and capped Stark’s scoring on a 1-yard rush with 3:53 remaining in the game.

John Stark’s head coach, Bob Clarke, was impressed with his team’s ability to run the ball with such ease.

“You can’t beat that,” he said. “It’s a coach’s dream. When you run the ball and block that well, you’re going to do well.”

After losses to Portsmouth and Pembroke, the win against Bedford was the first of the season for the Generals.

As his team huddled around him after the victory, Clarke told the players to keep the result in mind as they head forward. “Remember this feeling,” he said. “You aren’t as tired at the end of a game when you win.” Brendyn Miller also chipped in a touchdown for the Generals on a 6-yard run, slicing through the Bedford defense on a draw play.

Following John Stark’s second score of the game, Kevin LeBlond contributed a 35-yard extra point after a General penalty moved the spot of the kick back.

The Generals next take the field on Saturday, Sept. 27, travelling to play Hollis/Brookline.



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Suite 100

Manchester, NH 03101


Housatonic looking to improve on 6-4 season


By: KEVIN D. ROBERTS , Register Citizen Staff

FALLS VILLAGE - What will the Housatonic football team do for an encore this season?
The Mountaineers, who co-op with Wamogo, surprised some with a 6-4 record last season, the first winning season for the school since 1993. Using a formidable running game, Housatonic raced out to a 3-1 start. Three consecutive losses in the middle of the season brought the record to 3-4, but the Mountaineers rallied for three straight wins, including a decisive 42-12 win over rival Gilbert in the Berkshire Bowl.

Housatonic lost several key players from last year's team, including running back/cornerback and all-league defensive player Tom Kennedy, all-league defensive end Jesse Backer (also an offensive guard) and Berkshire Bowl co-MVP Johnny Habacker, who played running back and outside linebacker.
"We lost some seniors to graduation that were team players," coach Deron Bayer said. "That happens."

Bayer is looking at the big picture, and part of that picture is the realization that Sept. 20 is the beginning of a new year for Housatonic football. The Mountaineers host last year's Class MM runner-up Tolland.

"As far as we're concerned, last year is over," Bayer said after practice Friday. "This is completely different season. This is a completely different team."

Bayer said the coaching staff has challenged this year's seniors to step up and be leaders like last year's seniors were. He said the team goal has not changed since he started as head coach.

"Our goal is to be as competitive as we can be and be more competitive than last year," Bayer said.

All-Pequot league and Berkshire Bowl co-MVP running back Will Kennedy (senior) leads the returning players, which also include senior offensive tackle/defensive end Ed Ustico, senior offensive/defensive tackle Jake Blass, offensive guard/defensive end Nick Cook, tight end/outside linebacker Pat Kelleher, center/defensive tackle Connor Johnson, running back/linebacker Sam Schwartz and kicker Gian Lovedole.

Newcomers Trevor Watts (senior running back/defensive tackle), Cole Liebrock (offensive/defensive line) and Tanner Brissett (running back/defensive back) will also look to contribute.

Bayer said his team will look to take advantage of its size and experience up front, though the team is lacking in depth. Bayer said that his team will need to scratch and claw every week against a tough league schedule.
"The Pequot League does not get enough respect around the state," Bayer said. "We have tremendous coaches in the Pequot League."

The tests begin immediately for Housatonic with the home opener against Tolland. The Eagles defeated the Mountaineers 34-6 last year on the way to an 8-2 season and a berth in the state playoffs. Tolland advanced to the Class MM state title game, where it nearly pulled off an upset before bowing to NVL power Seymour 44-34. The Eagles lost plenty of players to graduation, but still return good, experienced players this season.

"We're starting with a playoff game," Bayer said of the matchup. "We're hosting a state finalist."
After Tolland, Housatonic travels on the round for two tough road games in a row against Ellington/Somers (7-3 last season) and Avon, a 9-1 team that did not make the playoffs in Class M.

On the field, the single wing will still be run as the Mountaineers look to take advantage of their size. If the offense has the same kind of success it had last season, Housatonic could be in for another strong season.
Bayer cautioned that everyone is starting out "0-and-0" this season and that it's a different year with different players.

"Our goal is always the same," Bayer said. "To be more competitive week to week."
Another part of the experience at Housatonic is teaching life lessons through football, a point Bayer emphasized.

The Register Citizen
190 Water Street,
P.O. Box 58
Torrington, CT 06790

Stone Bridge Bulldogs blow Rams away

Bulldogs blow Rams away
By Jamey Malcomb
Source: Special to the Loudoun Times-Mirror

Senior running back Daniel Allen rushed for 108 yards and three touchdowns to lead host Stone Bridge to a 49-7 victory against Robinson Sept. 5 in Ashburn.

The blowout victory allowed the Bulldogs to avenge their only loss of 2007. The Rams defeated Stone Bridge 41-7 in the second week of last season before the Bulldogs ran off 13 straight victories to capture the Virginia Division 5 championship.

Stone Bridge (2-0) amassed 241 yards rushing and more than 450 yards of total offense Friday night in dominating Robinson (1-1) on both sides of the football.

“I think the thing that separates us is our ability to spread the field and make plays,” Stone Bridge coach Mickey Thompson said.

“In the past, we’ve been very single-wing oriented, and you have to spend the time to prepare for us in the single wing. But now you also have to prepare for us in the spread as well.”

Bulldog quarterback Patrick Thompson started the scoring with a 7-yard touchdown run on the opening drive of the game. Stone Bridge took the ball 46 yards, after being set up in excellent field position by a 49-yard kickoff return by Marcus Harris.

Field position defined the first quarter, with the Bulldog offense taking over after a three-and-out series by Robinson at the Rams’ 42-yard line. Allen carried the ball six times for 24 yards on the drive and scored the first of his three touchdowns on a one-yard carry.

After another Robinson punt, the Bulldogs faced the longest field they would see all evening, taking over at their own seven. The situation got even worse when Patrick Thompson was picked off by the Rams’ Xavier Duncan at the Bulldog 41.

On the second play of the drive, Rams quarterback Timmy Meier found Duncan behind the Bulldogs' secondary for a 37-yard touchdown strike and cut the Stone Bridge lead to 14-7 early in the second quarter.

The Bulldogs quickly snuffed out any momentum Robinson had gained by driving right back down the field for another Thompson touchdown run, this time from the eight-yard line. The defense did its part as well, not allowing another first down for the remainder of the half and only one more first down in the final three quarters of play.

The Bulldogs took a 28-7 lead into the locker room and didn’t look back in the second half. Stone Bridge added three more touchdowns, and the defense did not allow the Rams a chance to get into a rhythm.

Stone Bridge will travel to Marshall High School Sept. 12 to open Liberty District play against the Statesmen.

Bulldog stat leaders
Passing: Thompson (14 of 24 for 201 yards)
Rushing: Allen (19 for 108 yards, 3 TD); Thompson (9 for 53 yards, 3 TD)
Receiving: Sheehan (4 for 30 yards); Prince (3 for 64 yards)

Loudoun Times Mirror - 9 E. Market Street - Leesburg, VA 20176
Stone Bridge - 43100 Hay Road -Ashburn, Virginia 20147

Single-Wing Payback

Not the season opener Indians had hoped for

By Greg Taylor
Contributing writer
Sep 10, 2008

You know what they say about payback.

Well, Powhatan’s football team got theirs last Thursday as Louisa roared into town and shutout the Indians 21-0, exacting a measure of revenge for the 40-0 blowout last year by the Indians.

Friday also marked the first time Powhatan had been shut out in 83 regular and post-season games.

The game was moved to Thursday because of the impending Tropical Storm Hanna. With the storm bearing down on the Eastern Seaboard, the hot, humid tropical air would have an effect on the players throughout the game

After a scoreless first quarter, Louisa jumped on the scoreboard early in the second quarter when Anthony Hunter (16 carries for 102 yards) capped off an eight-play, 73-yard drive by plowing up the middle of the Indians’ defense for a six-yard touchdown.

Powhatan’s offense, which had only two yards rushing in the first quarter, could not seem to get on track throughout the night. After the touchdown, their next series ended abruptly when Christian Higuchi coughed up the ball and Louisa recovered. The Indians had only 72 total yards of offense at halftime.

Despite giving up the touchdown, the Indians’ defense maintained a” bend but don’t break” approach for the first half against the single wing offense employed by Louisa.

While Louisa had three straight shots at the end zone near halftime, they came up empty and the teams headed to the locker room with the score Louisa 7, Powhatan 0.

The third quarter was all Louisa as Powhatan came out of the locker room flat. The Lions took the opening kickoff of the half and needed only seven plays to cover 71 yards for their next score.

Anthony Hunter had two big gains on the drive as the Indians’ defense could not stop the run. Quarterback Dillon Hollins scored from three yards out to push the Lions to a 13-0 lead.

The hot, muggy air began to take a toll on some players. Both Shawn Minor (7-14, 57 yards, 1 Int) and Shawn Henderson (15 carries for 47 yards) left on consecutive plays on Powhatan’s next possession because of cramping. Minor’s replacement, Phillip Schoeffel, dropped back to pass with Powhatan on Louisa’s 31-yard line and threw a perfect strike that hit the player right between the numbers. Too bad it was Louisa middle linebacker Kerry Wynn, who raced 73 yards for a touchdown and a commanding 21-0 lead.

The rest of the game saw Louisa run a ball-control offense to take time off the clock. Powhatan had a few more drives left but had one end on an interception and the other on downs.

As the final horn sounded, the Powhatan sideline seemed in shock at what the scoreboard showed. The players knew that this was an important game, a season opener and the first game without Tahliek Taliaferro roaming the middle.

Powhatan’s inability on the offensive line to provide protection for Minor and create holes for Henderson really put the Indians behind the eight ball early.

The line has the size to be dominant but does not have the practice and continuity of working together to be effective.

With three new players on the line, it will take time for the unit to gel. But that timetable may need to be accelerated as this offense needs to control the clock to be successful.

It became apparent in the second half that the Indians defense did not have either the intensity or the ability to make something happen as many a defender tried to arm tackle only to come up short.

Though this was a season opener, it was effectively played as a second scrimmage game since Prince George cancelled their Aug. 29 scrimmage with Powhatan.

So, the real season starts on Friday as Powhatan looks to rebound when they travel to Caroline, a team they have not lost to this decade.

Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.

Powhatan Today - P.O. Box 10; Powhatan, Virginia 23139

Edwardsville edges Alton with blocked extra-point kick in overtime

Posted on Sat, Sep. 13, 2008

The Edwardsville Tigers, playing without their starting quarterback and first-string kicker, had the odds stacked against them heading into overtime against the Alton Redbirds.

But the Tigers still managed to come away with a victory as senior Nick Griebel blocked an extra-point kick in overtime, enabling the Tigers to turn back the Redbirds 21-20 Friday in their Southwestern Conference opener.

The Tigers (3-0) scored the first touchdown of the overtime on a pass by sophomore quarterback Chase Westra that deflected off the hands of Alton defender Demarco Hodges to junior tight end Blair Henry.

"Blair Henry had the sense to adjust to the ball," Edwardsville coach Mark Bliss said. "He just had the frame of mind of catching it and getting himself into the end zone. They tried to bring him down at the 1, and he drug two of them into the end zone. It was just an incredible effort on Blair's part. It was a great effort on Chase Westra's part, being a sophomore. This was a huge game for a 15-year-old kid to play in."

Westra didn't know he was starting for the Tigers until two minutes before the game when senior quarterback Ishmiah Roundtree was scratched because of an ankle injury.

Sophomore Tyler Rujawitz, a replacement kicker filling in for Sam Fink, who was playing in a soccer tournament, booted the extra-point. Rujawitz had misfired on his only other extra-point kick in the game.

"We put a sophomore on the spot tonight, and you could see the silver-dollar eyeballs when he had the kick after we scored that first time," Bliss said. "Then we just tried to keep him poised the rest of the game, and at the end of game we just told him that he had to do his thing, and he really delivered in overtime."

The Redbirds (1-2) answered with a four-yard touchdown run by Dominique Robinson on third down of their possession in the overtime.

David Willings' extra-point kick was blocked by Griebel, a senior linebacker who had an all-around strong performance against the Redbirds.

"Nick Griebel was all over the field and did some great things," Bliss said. "He's as good a linebacker as I've had, and I've had four (Division I) linebackers. I think the young man has a shot if he just keeps working and doing what I think he can do."

For the Redbirds, who rallied back from a 14-0 halftime deficit, it was a disappointing loss.

"That ball is not round, and it's not always going to go the way you want it," Alton coach Joe Hook said of Henry's catch. "Tonight, it didn't go our way. The ball hit Hodges in the hands, and they were right there and made the catch."

The Redbirds lost four fumbles in the first half, including a fumble on a punt that Edwardsville's Bryan Reller picked up and returned 45 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.

"That was probably the worst half of football we've had in 10 years here from a capable team," Hook said. "I can't say we gave them 14 points, but we sure didn't help ourselves any."

The Tigers got on the scoreboard first after Reller recovered a fumble at the Alton 31.

Westra threw an 8-yard touchdown pass over the middle Will Triggs with 3:43 left in the first quarter.

The Tigers dominated the first half, but the Redbirds dominated the second half.

Alton quarterback Dylan Warren threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Colby Highlander streaking down left sideline to cut the Redbirds' deficit to 14-7 in the third quarter.

Conner Smith had a 33-yard touchdown run to cap a 59-yard drive that tied the game at 14-14 with 4:41 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Smith had 61 rushing yards during the drive. He finished with 109 rushing yards in the game.

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