Saturday, September 26, 2009

Thompson, Perkins lead Valparaiso's domination of Crown Point

PAUL JANKOWSKI - Times Correspondent Posted: Saturday, September 26, 2009 12:00 am

CROWN POINT When Matt Hittinger picked off Crown Point's Joe Hopman on the first play from scrimmage, one could sense it might be Valparaiso's night.

But no one could have expected the onslaught that followed Friday.

Valpo's powerful running game was in fifth gear in a 56-21 Duneland Athletic Conference victory over the Bulldogs.

The Vikings, again using multiple offensive formations, including the single wing, totaled 369 yards rushing, with seniors Michael Perkins and Nick Thompson picking up right where they left off last week against Chesterton.

Thompson carried 11 times for 168 yards with four touchdowns, the highlight a 65-yarder on the first play of the second half. Perkins carried 10 times for 166 yards with three rushing touchdowns and another on a 6-yard pass from Paul Andrie.

"Our line blocked extremely well and our running backs did what they do best," Valpo coach Mark Hoffman said. "Our two-headed monster did well today.

"Perkins is a thoroughbred from California and Thompson is a stallion who once lived in South Central. Electrifying, wasn't it?" Thompson's first touchdown came on an 8-yarder when he dove to the left pylon of the end zone, one play after Hittinger's game-opening interception. Thompson scored two more touchdowns, from 13 and 10 yards, running toward the same pylon.

"It became my best friend," Thompson said.

On his 65-yarder, Thompson appeared to stopped on the sidelines near the line of scrimmage. But he suddenly emerged from the scrum and raced to the end zone yet again.

"I felt their guys just kind of slowing down and I took the opportunity to give it everything I had left," Thompson said. "We're playing with passion now and we're finishing. I hope we're not peaking."

Valpo (3-3, 2-2) scored on its first eight possessions and led 42-7. The Bulldogs (2-4, 1-3) added two late touchdowns against the Vikings' reserve defense, including a 57-yarder by Pete Parks.

"It was ugly," C.P. coach Chip Pettit said. "But our kids are working at it. We'll get back to work."

Valpo again played without senior quarterback Zach Livovich, who has missed every game since the season opener against Penn.

"We've had a lot of adversity this year," Hoffman said. "But with our overall program and the leadership of our seniors, our kids give it all they have. Our seniors have played this season with a lot of ambition."


Valparaiso 56, Crown Point 21

Nick Thompson and Michael Perkins scored four touchdowns apiece for the Vikings.
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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

'Unique' offenses to collide

Prep grid preview

By Dennis Grall ESCANABA - The antiquated single-wing collides with the new-fangled spread offense Friday in a battle of high-powered football offenses.

The No. 2 Gladstone Braves, who unveiled their spread version last season, host No. 3 Menominee and its' vaunted single-wing in the Great Northern Conference opener for both teams. It is Menominee's first game against a Michigan opponent this season.

Another GNC opener occurs at Escanaba, where the top-ranked Eskymos (3-0) host Marquette (0-3). In the Mid-Peninsula Conference Friday, Manistique (1-2) visits Norway (3-0).

At Menominee, coach Ken Hofer has claimed three state championships using an offense he has operated since 1964, posting an overall 293-118-3 record.

There is not much difference between the single-wing and the spread, the shotgun, run-and-shoot or the NFL Wildcat for that matter. They basically try to spread out the defense to open more seams and bigger holes for the backs and receivers.

Glenn (Pop) Warner is given vast credit for the single-wing, if not perhaps for inventing it but for popularizing it at Carlisle Indian School, which gained notoriety with legendary Jim Thorpe running wild nearly 100 years ago.

With Warner's version, and the one used by Hofer, slick backfield ball handling occurs behind pulling linemen operating in an unbalanced line.

The quarterback, primarily a blocking back who lines up several yards behind the line, is one of three or four players who can receive a direct snap from center.

Gladstone's spread snaps the ball directly to quarterback Ryan Jacques, who is about five yards behind the center, and either hands off to Kollin Jensen, runs the ball or passes.

"They are kind of unique offenses," said Gladstone coach Josh Mileski. "The spread has been the fad lately. The running game is blocked differently, but the cut back run is what both teams are looking for to get to the edge. Both (offenses) are trying to play games with numbers."

Mileski said the single-wing is difficult to defend "because they try to out-number you. It is all based on personnel. Their sweep and power is number one, our zone read blocking is number one. Everything is based off that."

Menominee, which usually relies more on power football, is 2-1 after a 35-14 loss to No. 6 Marshfield, Wis. last week. The Maroons beat Wrightstown, Wis. 21-7 and Spooner, Wis. 42-7.

The Maroons graduated six All-U.P. players from a 5-5 team and are starting four sophomores, virtually unheard of in Hofer's tenure. "It's sort of a mystery what we're going to do this year," Hofer said in the preseason.

Several running backs are being used, and after graduating the top five receivers, the Maroons lost a key returnee for the season with an ACL knee injury to James Graham.

Erik Hines is the prime receiver for the Maroons, who managed just 41 yards passing on six completions last week, from four throwers, and had three interceptions. Tyler Uecke ran for 68 of Menominee's 142 yards.

Jensen has already piled up 526 rushing yards as Gladstone's main weapon. Jacques, who primarily employs a vertical aerial game, has thrown for 302 yards and run for 107.

"They're not one dimensional, but most of the emphasis is on Jensen," said Hofer. "He has excellent balance, good speed and he finds the hole. They have four excellent receivers. They spread it around. Jacques is getting better and better."

At Escanaba, the Eskymos come off a rousing 24-21 victory at Antigo, Wis. that was not secured until Mitch VanEffen returned a punt 77 yards for a touchdown with 3:10 to play.

He also ran out of the backfield for the first time this season, gaining 160 yards in 23 carries.

The Eskymos, starting an easy two-week stretch of a weak schedule, face a Marquette team that finally hit paydirt last week in a 35-8 loss to Cheboygan after losing 33-0 to 1-2 Sault Ste. Marie (which visits Esky next week) and 48-0 to Petoskey.

Jared Wales ended the point drought with 2:05 to play with a 6-yard run. The Redmen had 48 yards rushing and 19 passing.

Second-year coach Chris Soha said that 15-play, 53-yard drive could be a key for the Redmen. "Our players did not give up, they didn't lay down," he said.

Manistique beat Gwinn 34-13 last week on a pair of 99-yard scoring drives. Norway will provide a much stiffer test Friday.

Justin Fila had a game-opening 90-yard kickoff return in a 35-0 pasting of Newberry last week and also had TD runs of 29 and 16 yards. The Knights had four sacks, recovered two fumbles, intercepted a pass and blocked a punt for a touchdown.

Daily Press
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Escanaba, MI 49829


Wildcat: An old offense with a new name

CHESTERTON — They call it the Wildcat formation now. But for many Valparaiso High School football fans, it’s an old offense with a new name.

When Michael Perkins lines up behind center and takes a direct snap and then picks his hole as a couple of blockers fan out in front of him, it’s just like the single wing offense that Tom Stokes made famous with Valparaiso. Stokes, one of the last coaches to regularly employ the single wing, led the Vikings to the state title in 1975.

When he retired after the 1976 season, the single wing went with him.

Valparaiso coach Mark Hoffman was an assistant under Stokes. Perkins rushed for 231 yards in the 35-23 victory.

Can’t stop them both

It’s fairly common knowledge that Portage features two dynamic players in junior running back Jake Dixon and junior quarterback Zach Huston.

Crown Point focused much of its defensive effort on Dixon, and largely contained him in Portage’s 43-22 victory. Dixon had 54 yards on 13 carries, with 29 of those yards coming on his final three carries. His last attempt resulted in a 6-yard touchdown run with 1:02 left in the game.

Perhaps Dixon’s most impressive run of the game went for only 3 yards. After the Indians had taken possession following a safety, Dixon’s dive as time expired in the first half came up just short of the goal line. The play had started at the 4-yard line, he ran left almost to the sideline, was hemmed up well behind the line of scrimmage, reversed field and nearly made it all the way back around the right side to the pylon.

Huston ran for 148 yards and a 78-yard TD on 18 carries, and completed 3-of-9 passes for 92 yards, including a 72-yard score. On the other side, the Bulldogs didn’t put up huge offensive numbers.

“The offense is still maddeningly inconsistent, because you can see in spots good things are happening,” Crown Point coach Chip Pettit said.
1433 E. 83rd Ave.
Merrillville, IN 46410

Monday Night Football: single-wing versus no-huddle

By Gregg Easterbrook

Ever wonder what would happen if a single-wing team from the 1950s met a high-tech no-huddle team of 2009? What would happen is Indianapolis 27, Miami 23.

There cannot be a greater contrast in styles than what happened on "Monday Night Football." Miami played much of the contest with no quarterback on the field, rushed 49 times for 239 yards, kept the Indianapolis offense on the bench, tired out the Indianapolis defense with an incredible 45:07-to-14:53 edge in time of possession, yet lost. The incredible time-of-possession edge allowed Miami, despite a run-oriented game plan, to pass 10 times more than Indianapolis did; the Dolphins had the ball so long, they led in every statistical category save points. Indianapolis played the entire contest in hurry-up mode, called offensive plays at the line of scrimmage, ran the ball a mere 11 times, pressured the Miami defense with lightning strikes, and prevailed. Not by much, though, obviously. The Colts benefited from good luck on several big plays -- luck is a greater factor in sports than generally recognized -- plus Ted Ginn Jr. of the Marine Mammals had both hands on the ball in the end zone with 22 seconds remaining for what could have been Miami's winning play. (It was no easy catch, though.)

So 1950s-style single-wing football almost came out on top. Because Miami rushed so well, all the Dolphins needed was for Lucky Charms receivers to drop a couple of Peyton Manning throws, and Miami might have cruised to victory over an exhausted Indianapolis defense. But Manning's throws weren't dropped, nor were any blocks missed in an extremely efficient offensive line performance. Single-wing style, Miami's longest gain from scrimmage was 21 yards. Indianapolis had gains of 24, 48, 49 and 80 yards. This is a reason time of possession can be a deceptive stat: A team that scores really fast has poor time of possession, but don't you want to score really fast? Even though it wasn't on the field much, by the fourth quarter the Dolphins' defense looked tired, at least mentally, from the relentless Colts pace. In the fourth quarter, the Dolphins' defense folded, allowing the Colts to go 79 yards for a touchdown in 3:17 and 80 yards for a touchdown in a mere 32 seconds, as Miami's coaches panicked and started calling blitzes, which only made matters worse. The no-huddle offense doesn't exhaust a defense when it's not working. But when the quarterback has a 133.9 rating on the night, as Manning did, the no-huddle spooks defenders.

Peyton Manning is praised so much, I hesitate to stack another accolade on the pile. But egads, this gentleman is good. Nobody throws as accurately off the back foot -- the ability to throw accurately while your body is moving backward enables a quarterback to frustrate a pass rush. Nobody throws precise sideline routes as well as Peyton, and right-on-the-sideline is the hardest point for the secondary to defend. Obviously, Manning excels at calling plays at the line of scrimmage. Miami tried to confuse him by showing one front, then backing out of it after he made his call, then returning to the original front. He didn't fall for it. Except for on two snaps, Manning's read of what Miami was about to do was right -- and on the game-winning throw to Pierre Garcon, he read the Dolphins' defense perfectly.

Setting single-wing versus no-huddle aside, the rest of the contest came down to calls, coaching and individual performances. What were the Dolphins doing in a standard 3-4-4, rather than a nickel or a dime package, against a team that always splits out three receivers and often sends the tight end downfield? On tight end Dallas Clark's two huge gainers, of 80 and 49 yards, he was covered by a linebacker -- both times by an inside linebacker (once by Channing Crowder, once by Akin Ayodele) -- because Miami didn't have a nickel package on the field. A defensive game plan in which football's best pass-catching tight end is covered deep by an inside linebacker is a strange game plan.

Why when Miami got the ball trailing 27-23 with 3:13 remaining did the Dolphins run a play, let the clock go down to 2:26, and then burn a timeout? With six seconds left, Miami was on the Indianapolis 30-yard line -- add back the 25 wasted seconds and maybe Miami wins. Why did Miami's defense bite hard on a play-fake on the game's first snap? Coming into Monday night, the Colts had rushed for 32, 64 and 71 yards in their last three games. They're clearly having trouble running the ball. So don't fall for their play-fakes unless they prove they can run! Yet not only did the Miami front seven bite on Manning's play-fake on the first snap, so did safety Yeremiah Bell. Watch the tape -- as Clark cuts down the center of the field and Manning's pass arcs toward him, Bell is running forward toward the Indianapolis line of scrimmage to stop a run. Bell goes right past Clark, totally ignoring him, while a throw that would end up as an 80-yard touchdown is in the air. That's how hard he bit on the play-fake. Bell was also the last defender on Garcon's winning touchdown, and failed to make the play. Let's put the sports-talk world's campaign for a Pro Bowl slot for Bell on hold, please.

Indianapolis' winning play was a study in tactics and performance. Second-and-10 on the Miami 48 with 3:29 remaining. The Dolphins show a seven-man front against the Colts' three-wide formation, with only one safety, Bell, deep. Manning goes into his chicken dance, calling assignments at the line. Immediately the Dolphins back off into a 3-4-4. But Manning wasn't fooled and kept the play the same -- and sure enough, Miami jumped back into the seven-man front. That front meant that in the double-receiver set to the right, there was a cornerback on Garcon, safety Gibril Wilson on the slot man, and safety Bell was the sole deep defender. Manning's call was a hitch screen to Garcon. Not just a hitch, a hitch screen -- the offensive line deliberately let the pass rush in. Miami big-blitzed, just as Manning hoped. Don't throw me into that blitz patch! When will the league catch on that Peyton Manning wants to be blitzed? The hitch action enabled Manning to release the ball very quickly, before any blitz could reach him. Six blitzers meant Miami had five players to cover four receivers; the four were each singled, with Bell the only one on the last line of defense. Garcon catches the hitch with two defensive backs nearby. But remember, it's a hitch screen, offensive linemen are coming! Undrafted and future Hall of Fame center Jeff Saturday, long a TMQ favorite, hustles downfield and blocks the cornerback near Garcon. Guard Mike Pollak hustles 20 yards downfield and hits Bell. Garcon spun, and was gone. When you put eight guys up on the line and blitz six, you better get to the quarterback or make the first tackle, because one broken tackle means a game-winning 48-yard completion.



Lynx and their rarely-seen single-wing offense had piled up 329 rushing yards

Indian gridders trip on the road

By Bob Fenske
Of The Summit

WEBSTER CITY - Chad Moore stood on the empty Webster City football field last Friday night and told it like it was.

“They told everyone - their newspaper, their radio, everyone - that they were going to come right at us and win it up front,” he said. “And you know what? That's exactly what they did. They beat us up front.”

When it was over, the Lynx and their rarely-seen single-wing offense had piled up 329 rushing yards on their way to a 34-20 win in the Class 3A, District 2 opener for both teams.

Truth be told, though, it wasn't so much the offense Webster City ran, it was the way they executed it.

“They pushed us around, and that was disappointing,” Moore said after his team fell to 2-1 overall. “It's why we emphasize the weight room so much, but tonight just wasn't pretty.”

The fifth-year coach tried to coax himself into a smile, but it was a minute one.

“It's one game and there's a lot of football left,” he said, “but we've got to get better. I know we set the bar awfully high [in a 48-23 season-opening win over Crestwood], but we've taken a step back each week. We've got to get it together.”

The irony is that for those not at the game who only saw a stat sheet - sans score, of course - it looked like a pretty even game.

Both teams finished with 369 total yards, and Forest City quarterback Andrew Rosacker ran for 111 yards and threw for 183 more while Zeke Kasper had 68 hard-earned yards on just 10 carries.

But on this night, the yards on the stat sheet weren't much of an indicator of what happened on the field.

The Indians were done in by three things - the Lynx running game, their penchant for turnovers and their inability to cash in on scoring opportunities.

Forest City threw three interceptions and lost a fumble, but maybe the key moment in the game came on Forest City's opening drive that began when Tyler Harmon recovered a fumble near midfield.

The Indians marched to the Webster City 15-yard line, where they faced a third-and-1. Two plays later, the Lynx had stuffed Forest City and had taken over on downs.

“Who knows if scoring there would have made a difference,” he said, “but I sure would have liked to find out.”

By the end of the first quarter, Forest City was looking at the wrong end of a 14-0 score and the Lynx went up 20-0 midway through the second quarter on the second of Dalton Keane's three touchdown runs.

Still, the Indians didn't go quietly into the night. Kasper set up his 16-yard touchdown run with a bruising, breaking-tackles-everywhere 25-yard run.

“That's the kind of heart we've got to get 11 guys playing with,” Moore said. “Talk about refusing to go down. That was Zeke.”

But Webster City scored on its first possession of the second half, and after another Kasper TD run at the end of the third quarter, the Lynx put the game away with a Keane touchdown pass early in the final quarter.

Forest City would add a late touchdown when Andrew Rosacker hit Tyler Harmon in the game's final minute, but it was too little, too late.

“We didn't quit, I'll give our kids that,” Moore said, “but we've got to get better and we've got to get better in a hurry. There are no easy ones in this district.”

The good news for the Indians is that they come home for two straight games - hosting Charles City Friday before playing Iowa Falls-Alden a week later.

Moore, though, spent a good 10 minutes Friday night challenging his players to return to the form they showed in that season opener.

After the Indians headed to the locker room, he stood alone on the field.

“It's time for the leaders on this team to step up and be counted.”

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105 South Clark Street
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Monday, September 21, 2009

Apopka defense stifles Edgewater

By Buddy Collings Staff reporter
12:36 AM EDT, September 19, 2009

APOPKA — Host Apopka came up empty three times in the red zone Friday. But in a game where two fierce defenses bowed up with their backs to the goal line, the Blue Darters needed only two scores to prevail against rival Edgewater 15-6.

Blue Darters senior Bradley Gallon punctuated his strong performance at middle linebacker by breaking up a fourth-and-goal pass early in the final quarter with unbeaten Apopka (3-0) leading by 15.

Edgewater (1-2) scored on its next possession to close the gap, but Apopka covered an onside kick try and then chewed up the final four minutes, 54 seconds.

"It was about what we thought it would be," Apopka Coach Rick Darlington said. "We have a lot of respect for those guys [Edgewater]. Our defense played outstanding and our offense took great care of the ball."

Apopka came in averaging 37 points and marched into the red zone on six of its first seven possessions that weren't stopped by the clock. But Edgewater's defense stonewalled two drives that reached the 6-yard line and another that stalled at the 19.

The Blue Darters won early field position for the only score of the first half — a 5-yard keeper by quarterback Keon Brooks.

Apopka, ranked No. 2 in the Sentinel Super 16 and fourth in the Class 6A state poll, went up by two TDs when Tom Smith scored with 2:57 remaining in the third quarter. Smith, a freight train of a fullback, gained 118 yards on 26 carries. Sophomore Quay Barnes (7 carries, 71 yards) set the TD up with a 31-yard dash.

Class 4A Edgewater, ranked No. 7 in the Super 16, was led by elusive quarterback Kent Gainous. The 6-2, 190-pound senior completed three passes after scrambling for 18 on the Eagles' fourth quarter TD drive. He threw to Saun Raigne for the score.

"That's what high school football is all about. Two teams battling all the way through," said Edgewater Coach Bill Gierke.

Apopka 15, Edgewater 6

SECOND – A: Brooks 5 run (Beary kick). THIRD – A: Smith 1 run (Smith run). FOURTH – E: Raigne 5 pass from Gainous (kick failed).

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Galion escapes Upper Sandusky after 5 Brooks TDs


By Aaron Korte, Sports Writer
Tigers' coach says he is disappointed, thinks team might have looked ahead to TC

UPPER SANDUSKY - The last time Cartel Brooks scored five touchdowns in one game, he was in junior high.

And while Upper Sandusky is not a junior high team, Brooks and his Galion teammates may have approached Friday night's Northern Ohio League opener like the Rams were an eighth-grade squad.

The mindset could be understood. Both teams came in with zeros, albeit in different columns, with Galion cruising out of the gate this year to 3-0.

But neither team played like their record indicated as Galion escaped Upper Sandusky with a 34-27 victory.

So it was understandable why Galion head coach Chris Hawkins was a little upset with his team after the victory.

"I've been doing this for 15 years and I don't think I've ever been this upset after a victory," said Hawkins, who stressed he meant no disrespect to the Rams. "Our coaches said when we walked in, 'We're not ready to play.' We didn't see that burning intensity in their eyes like last week. I was very disappointed."

The explanation: The Tigers host traditional NOL power Columbian next week.

"We tried to guard against that but the kids read that stupid J.J. Huddle and all that," Hawkins said. "Of course, Tiffin is a huge game. Did we talk about that? Yes. But did the kids read about that? Absolutely. I know that's what happened. But what I'm (upset) about is that the seniors, and we have 16 of them, allowed that to happen. We did not come out ready to play football."

On the other sideline, new Upper Sandusky boss Jake Moyer saw his team fall to 0-4 on the year, but that is not the approach he and the staff are taking. In their minds, the Rams are just 0-1.

"If I were them, I wouldn't have been too worried about us (coming in at 0-3)," he said. "But I think we're going to be somebody to be reckoned with toward the end of the year. I want us to try to be a very formidable opponent and I don't want people to overlook us. I want them to give us their best shot."

If the Rams continue to play like they did for most of the game Friday night, that goose egg could be cracked soon. Upper Sandusky rolled up 353 yards of offense, between the punishing running of Trevor Thornton and Wyatt Garber (132 combined rushing yards) to the heady play of Cale Sandridge, who threw for 148 yards and ran for another 51.

"Sandridge is developing nicely but he has a ways to go, but he'll get there. We have some compliments that will help him out," Moyer said. "Our running game came alive tonight. We went back to the mother's milk a little bit. We went back to the old school and that's me (and my style)."

Moyer said it was the best effort of the season, despite coming up short.

"Both offensively and defensively, but especially offensively (it was the best of the year)," Moyer said. "Defensively, that single wing really gave us problems, but what killed us was their speed (particularly Brooks). Speed stabbed us in the heart tonight."

Upper Sandusky led, 14-0, with 4:58 to go in the first half on two Cale Sandridge 1-yard touchdown plunges.

The Brooks show began about a minute later when he scored the first and maybe most electrifying touchdown of his five-score night, a 68-yard zig zag through the Rams defense for a touchdown.

After forcing an Upper Sandusky punt, one of only two on the night, Brooks was at it again with a 10-yard TD run. The kick was blocked, leaving Upper Sandusky with a one-point lead with 46 seconds left.

Thornton came back with a solid return to give the Rams good field position, their own 44, to start the drive with 40 seconds to go. With no timeouts to use, Sandridge guided his team to the Galion 17 by working the sidelines and connecting with his favorite target: Chase Kenner.

On third and five with nine seconds left in the half, Sandridge found himself flushed from the pocket and sacked by Steve Vanvliet to end the threat and the half.

The Tigers (4-0, 1-0 NOL) didn't mess around in the second half, but the scoring was the same. Brooks this time took flight to snag a Jack Nicholls pass for an 18-yard score and a 19-14 lead after a failed two-point conversion.

Upper Sandusky took its final lead of the night on the ensuing drive. Wyatt Garber scored on a 4-yard plunge with 5:50 to go in the third. The Rams fumbled the snap and Sandridge was stopped on the two-point conversion attempt but still led, 20-19.

Galion drove 67 yards on the its next drive, with Brooks closing it out with a 1-yard plunge for the score. Ryan Harsh smashed it up the middle to give Galion two more points and a 27-20 lead it would not relinquish.

The Rams stalled out on successive drives inside the red zone, sandwiched around Brooks' final score of the night, an 11-yard TD run with 6:34 left in the contest.

Attempting to run the clock out, Galion's Antwan Wallace put the ball on the turf, one of three Galion turnovers, and Aaron Renner came away with it to give Upper Sandusky life again with 2:15 to go. It took just four plays for Upper Sandusky to find pay dirt with Thornton scoring on a 5-yard run to cut it to 34-27.

Galion recovered Upper Sandusky's onside kick attempt and went to the genuflect offense to close out the game.

Brooks, who rushed for 164 yards on just 13 carries and had another 54 yards through the air, said the line was solid for him all night.

"Everybody blocked and did their job and the holes were there," he said.

Brooks also said his team may have been caught looking ahead.

"We didn't have our mind set the right way," he said. "I don't know what was wrong tonight. We were not hyped up like we should have and we came out dead."

Brooks said his team has been playing with a chip on its shoulder because no one has respected them this year after spending many years as an NOL cellar dweller.

"We have a good class. We're tired of losing and we want to get our program turned around and Coach Hawkins is helping us doing that," he said. "I know they're not respecting us. That's what makes me so angry and makes our team so angry. That's why we're trying to get this turned around so we can change everybody's mind about that."

Hawkins said if his team is going to garner the respect it desires, it starts next week with Columbian.

"Nobody is going to fear us. We haven't done anything. We have to earn that," he said. "When we play and mix that talent with desire and intensity, we're a pretty good football team. When you just try win football games on talent, you're not going to win championships. (Next week) is huge. That has always been our No. 1 goal. When you think of the NOL the last eight, 10 years, you think of Tiffin. They've raised the bar in this league. In order to win the league, it goes through Tiffin."

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Galion vs. Upper Sandusky (9/18/09)

Delsea's ground attack leads win over Kingsway

September 19, 2009

Gannett New Jersey

Chris Jackson is comfortable with his role in the Delsea football team's offense.

The Crusaders have never been a passing team. It's simply not what head coach Sal Marchese preaches or expects from his version of the Single-Wing attack. When necessary, Delsea can put the ball in the air but on a good night, when there is a slight chill in the air and this collection of high school talent is hitting on all cylinders, rarely is there a need to go up top.

"We didn't punt tonight," Marchese said. "That shows you we're doing well, and for us, that means running it."

"That's fine with me," Jackson said. "I know what my role is. I know what I'm expected to do."

Still, it was a 63-yard completion for a touchdown on Delsea's second possession that took the wind out of a charged up Kingsway team on Friday night and Delsea never looked back.

The No. 1 team in the Courier-Post rankings, Delsea (2-0 division, 2-0 overall) rolled up 460 yards of offense, 397 on the ground, in a 34-7 win at Kingsway (1-1, 1-1). Sean McPherson carried the ball 19 times for 154 yards and a pair of touchdowns and Austin Medley rang up 105 yards on 19 carries with a touchdown.

It was clear the Dragons were hungry for an upset and that added energy was evident on the opening kickoff as Rasheed Williams maneuvered through the Delsea special teams 64 yards to the Delsea 25-yard line. Four plays later, 6-foot-1, 256-pound fullback Enoch Clark pounded his way in to the end zone for the first and only score of the night for Kingsway.

"It's definitely harder when you have a short field and someone like that coming at you," Delsea linebacker Mike Straubmuller said. "Sometimes you just need a kick in the butt and that represented just that too us. It woke us up and definitely after that, we shut them down and that's a very good offense."

"We're too experienced to allow something like that to get us down," Marchese said. "I wasn't worried about how we would react. We made a mistake on special teams and we gave up some points but I wasn't concerned."

Marchese's point is well taken and the Crusaders marched right down the field on Kingsway with their first possession before a fumble by Jackson. The brief glitch proved just that as the defense held Kingsway and on the second play of the second quarter, Jackson hit Darius Convery down the middle of the field for a touchdown. For statisticians everywhere the touchdown made for very simple calculations since it was the only pass of the night for Jackson and Delsea trailed 7-6.

"It was there and we took it," Marchese said.

With Kingsway now on its heels, Delsea unleashed its ground game and scored on four of its next five possessions with the lone hold coming at the end of the first half. McPherson put an exclamation point on the evening when he went 47 yards for a touchdown with 3:54 left in the third quarter. His run was the only play of the drive and gave Delsea an insurmountable 28-7 lead.

"(The opening kickoff) was a big wakeup call," McPherson said. "You can't start off the game that flat. You have to start better with special teams but I think when we picked up the pace, I think they got a little fatigued."

Additional Facts
Play of the Game: A 63-yard touchdown pass from Chris Jackson to Darius Convery on Delsea's first possession took the wind out of Kingsway.

Player of the Game: Delsea's Sean McPherson carried the ball 19 times for 154 yards and a pair of touchdowns and Austin Medley rang up 105 yards on 19 carries with a touchdown.

Stat of the Game: The Crusaders rolled up 460 yards of offense, 397 on the ground.

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Cherry Hill, NJ 08002

Spartans hold on to beat Green Wave

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

PEARISBURG, Va. — The Giles single wing offense rolled to a perfect seven, but Narrows nearly washed those hopes away.

Justin Gautier scored a pair of second half touchdowns, and added a game-preserving interception in the final seconds, as the Giles Spartans made it seven straight wins over county rival Narrows with a hard-fought 21-16 win on Friday night at freshly renovated Steven C. Ragsdale Field.

It was a typical Giles and Narrows contest, with the crowd so large that the winner of the 50/50 drawing took home $1,142.

“You’ve got to understand in this game, you throw the records out, you throw everything out, it’s just kids from both schools playing their hearts out,” Giles head coach Jeff Wlliams said. “That’s what this game has been about ever since I can remember.

“It’s just about two teams playing their hearts out and just playing hard.”

Giles (2-2) overcame a 10-7 halftime deficit to take a 21-10 lead before Brock Lusk led the Green Wave back, throwing for one touchdown, and nearly doing it again before Andrew Eppling picked off the pass a pass the end zone.

Gautier picked off Lusk again in Giles territory with 5.1 seconds left on the clock. “We were very fortunate to win this game,” said Eppling, who led the Spartans with 115 rushing yards, including a 71-yard scoring run in the opening quarter “It’s always been a really crowded game and everybody comes. Lucky for us, our line blocked and we came out to play.”

So did the Green Wave, but Kelly Lowe’s squad came up just short in a rivalry that Narrows last won in 2002.

“I am extremely proud of them. Our kids fight an uphill battle every daggone day and they came out and battled their guts off and I am so proud of this group of kids,” Lowe said. “They battled. I’m just tickled to death with them.

“It would have been great if we had won, but I can’t ask for any more effort than that.”

The teams used the big play to get on the board in the first quarter, starting with Eppling, who dashed through the middle with the football, ran over several Narrows players and an referee and didn’t stop until he was in the end zone 71 yards later. Zach Keaton added the extra point for the 7-0 lead.

“I got hit by the linebacker, but I just kept my legs going and I just didn’t stop until I got to the end zone,” Eppling said.

Narrows answered behind Lusk, a junior quarterback, who completed 16-of-22 passes for 240 yards and two touchdowns. The first score came after the Giles score, connecting with Jake Craft on a perfect over-the-shoulder catch for a 48-yard score. Hunter Light followed with the extra point for the 7-7 tie. The Green Wave took a 10-7 lead into the break when Narrows took advantage of Giles penalties and drove 50 yards in 14 plays, finishing the drive with a 35-yard field goal by Light with 1:23 left in the half.

While Narrows was held to just 43 yards on the ground, Giles ran for 299, including 162 in the second half. Gautier added 86 yards to Eppling’s 115 behind on offensive line led by 6-foot-4, 290-pound Greg Ray and 6-3, 290-pound Dustin Farmer.

The Spartans scored on a 3-yard run by Gautier to take a 14-10, a drive set up when Tyler Thorne recovered a fumble by Narrows’ Wesley Ferguson at the Wave’s 34. Giles then rumbled for seven more in the fourth quarter, starting with a pair of 15-yard runs by Gautier and Eppling, and another 16 yards from Eppling.

Gautier then finished off a 9-play, 81-yard drive with another 3-yard run. The Keaton extra point gave Giles the 21-10 lead with 8:43 left in the game.

“People know we want to run the football and in the second half I thought we did just a great job right there,” said Williams, whose Spartans travel next Friday to George Wythe. “We challenged the kids at halftime and told them it’s time to be competitive, and we came out and competed, and started chewing up some ground there.” Narrows didn’t go away, with Lusk connecting with Tyler Wilson from 37 yards out for a touchdown with 5:46 left in the game. The two-point conversion failed, leaving the Green Wave five behind the Spartans.

Daniel Armstrong got the ball back for Narrows with 4:57 to go, recovering a Giles fumble at their own 48. Lusk completed four passes to put the ‘Wave at the Spartans’ 28, but his next pass sailed past Light in the end zone and was picked off by Eppling.

“He got a little pressure and couldn’t quite step into it all the way, but he pounded his guts out,” said Lowe, whose ‘Wave host Auburn next Friday. “He had a great night.”

The ‘Wave got one more shot with the ball at their own 33 with 19.5 seconds left, but Gautier picked off the final Lusk pass to secure the victory.

Seeing that play certainly brought a smile from Eppling.

“That was good,” he said, with a smile.

—Contact Brian Woodson


at Steven Ragsdale Field

Narrows…...............................7 3 0 6 — 16

Giles……….............................7 0 7 7 — 21

First Quarter

GL—Andrew Epling 71 run (Zach Keaton kick) 6:02

NR—Jake Craft 48 pass from Brock Lusk (Hunter Light kick) 3:54

Second Quarter

NR—Hunter Light 35 field goal 1:23

Third Quarter

GL—Justin Gautier 3 run (Keaton kick) 3:11

Fourth Quarter

GL—Gautier 3 run (Keaton kick) 8:43

NR—Tyler Wilson 37 pass from Lusk (pass failed) 5:46


First Downs: NR 12, GL 12; Rush-Yards: NR 28-38, GL 43-299; Passing Yards: NR 240, GL 20; Comp-Att-Int: NR 16-22-2, GL 1-6-0; Fumbles-Lost: NR 1-1, GL 1-1. Penalty-Yards: NR 6-55, GL 6-57; Punts-Avg: NR 3-36.0, GL 3-41.0.

Individual Statistics

Rushing: NR Light 8-23, A.Blankenship 6-14, Conley 10-12, Craft 1-8, Lusk 3-(9); GL Epling 11-115, Gautier 23-86, Robertson 11-78, Bane 4-9.

Passing: NR Lusk ; GL Epling , Robertson .

Receiving: NR Wilson 2-52, Conley 4-65, Craft 1-48, Light 6-37, Ferguson 2-24, A.Blankenship 1-17; GL Ratcliff 1-20.

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
P.O. Box 1599
928 Bluefield Avenue
Bluefield, W.Va. 24701


Colts to face Dolphins' wildcat offense

Unusual formation turned around Miami's season last year

By Phil Richards

Miami was coming off a 1-15 season. It was 0-2 and had scored only 24 points. Desperate times, coach Tony Sparano decided, called for desperate measures.

In Week 3 last season, he introduced the Dolphins' version of an offense quarterbacks coach David Lee had run at Arkansas. Six plays, all direct snaps to running back Ronnie Brown, produced 119 yards and four touchdowns to batter New England 38-13 and snuff the Patriots' 21-game regular-season winning streak. Brown scored on runs of 2, 5 and 62 yards, and threw a 19-yard pass to tight end Anthony Fasano for the fourth touchdown.

The world met the wildcat. Brown's No. 23 jersey now resides in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a memento of the game.

"To be honest, when we introduced it, there were a lot of people mocking it," said Sparano, whose Dolphins play the Indianapolis Colts on Monday night at Land Shark Stadium. "Now I think a lot of people are trying to run it."

Miami wanted to get Brown and running back Ricky Williams on the field at the same time. So it put Brown in the shotgun formation, Williams in the backfield, moved quarterback Chad Pennington outside and shifted an offensive lineman from one side of the ball to the other. That created an unbalanced line, and mismatches.

The ploy triggered a turnaround that helped the Dolphins to an 11-5 season.

The wildcat derives from the old single-wing formation conceived by Pop Warner shortly after the turn of the century and used by Knute Rockne at Notre Dame. Its appeal is obvious. It brings option football to the NFL. Defenses have to account for the player taking the snap not only throwing or handing off but as a runner.

"Every defensive coach hates the option," Colts president Bill Polian said. "And one of the nice things about our league is you never had to play against it because quarterbacks get beat up so bad, teams didn't run it."

When the 2009 NFL season opened last weekend, Carolina used it with wide receiver Steve Smith taking the snap. Cleveland kick returner Joshua Cribbs, New York Jets running back Leon Washington, Miami's Brown and backup quarterback Pat White and Jacksonville running back Maurice Jones-Drew also took direct snaps in the wildcat or one of its variations.

Jones-Drew took a shotgun snap on a two-point conversion attempt, faked to wide receiver Nate Hughes, then charged into the middle. He was swarmed under well short of the goal line, preserving the Colts' 14-12 win.

The Colts were prepared. They had practiced it little but planned for it and discussed it during the preseason.

The wildcat's effectiveness waned late in the 2008 season as teams prepared responses. Miami scored eight touchdowns out of the formation the first seven games it was used but none over the last seven. When the Dolphins and Patriots met during Week 12, eight direct snaps to Brown yielded 25 yards.

Miami has a new element this season: White, a rookie second-round draft pick. As a 31/2-year starter at West Virginia, White passed for 6,049 yards and rushed for 4,480, an NCAA record for a quarterback.

The Dolphins used him on three snaps during a 19-7 loss at Atlanta last week: a sweep for no gain, a deep play-action pass on which he overthrew wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. and a reverse handoff to Ginn on which Ginn had the option to pass but ran for 1 yard.

The Colts have given the wildcat and the spread out of which White operates more attention this week, but they haven't overdone it. They don't "chase ghosts."

"It wouldn't make sense if they did it 1 percent of the time," Colts coach Jim Caldwell said, "and we practice for it 98 percent of the time."

Whether the wildcat becomes an enduring NFL staple or a ghost remains to be seen.

"Red Hickey came out with the shotgun at San Francisco (in 1960). That hasn't gone away," said Polian, who has been involved in the NFL for almost a third of a century. "I think it's possible for the wildcat to remain."

Colts-Dolphins injury report

Rookie cornerback Jerraud Powers, tight end Gijon Robinson and guard Jamey Richard did not practice Saturday and are questionable for Monday night's game. A look at the entire injury report:


• Out: S Bob Sanders (knee), WR Anthony Gonzalez (knee), TE Tom Santi (ankle).

• Questionable: OT Charlie Johnson (back), G Jamey Richard (shoulder), S Jamie Silva (abdomen), CB Jerraud Powers (groin), TE Gijon Robinson (back).


• Questionable: LB Akin Ayodele (back).


The Indianapolis Star

307. N. Pennsylvania St

P.O. Box 145

Indianapolis, IN




Housy stops Tech in first varsity home game


TORRINGTON — Both teams had a right to walk away happy from a 34-20 Housatonic High School football win over Wolcott Tech Saturday afternoon in Torrington.

For the Wildcats, in their third year as a program, everything looked good except the score (and sometimes an errant scoreboard) at Tech’s first-ever varsity home game.

“They were 100 percent better than last year,” said Housatonic coach Deron Bayer.

“The biggest difference is the amount of work the kids put in this summer; more than half the kids worked out,” said Wildcat coach Jamie Coty, whose team had just one year of JV experience, then suffered through an 0-11 season against some premier varsity teams last year.

Saturday’s results for Tech were at least as positive as the points they put up on the scoreboard, maybe more.

“I didn’t feel that they really stopped us all day,” said Coty. “We killed ourselves with costly turnovers and missed tackles that led to big plays.”

For Bayer and the Mountaineers, the final score was a reward for their own hard work, but also a genuine relief for a coach who insisted his team came in as underdogs.

“I just realized last week how young we are,” Bayer said. “In practice, I asked anyone who started last year to line up behind me. There were just seven guys; Tanner Brissett is the only one who started all 11 games last year (the Mountaineers went 5-6). Basically, we’re a first-year program.”

If so, both teams’ fans have a right to be happy. With the exception of those few glitches by Tech, it was a tough, well-executed grind-it-out game on both sides — with an experienced grind-it-out leader at each forefront.

That was Brissett, a junior, for Housatonic, who did it all in Housy’s single wing offense, in which two backs take direct snaps with multiple options for each. Brissett, as the experienced go-to guy, alongside sophomore Donyell Williams, made the Mountaineer passing game a surprise payoff feature in Coach Bayer’s normal run-run-run offense. Brissett (15 rushes for 150 yards) and Williams (18 for 81) did rumble for a combined 231 yards on the ground on 33 carries, but Brissett’s passes were the bullets for three of five Housatonic touchdowns.

“The passing comes with experience,” smiled Brissett, quick to dismiss the idea that Williams won’t also eventually throw passes in the do-anything Housy offense. Brissett completed 6 of 13 passes Saturday for 85 yards.

“It was more than I could have expected,” he said. “In fact, I didn’t really expect to play as much as I did last year as a sophomore.”

Wolcott Tech’s iron man to match Brissett was junior Isaiah Harrington. If Brissett’s game was sometimes a guessing game between run and pass, everybody knew that Harrington was going to pound at and around them from the Wildcat line of scrimmage. At 5-fot-6, 175 pounds, Harrington carried 31 times for 164 yards.

“He’s our horse,” said Coach Coty. “He’s been with us since freshman year and he’s done everything we asked.”

“He killed us on cutbacks because of our lack of experience,” said Housy’s Bayer.

Harrington wasn’t happy with the day, despite his own performance.

“I was anticipating a win because we worked so hard,” he said.

It’s the kind of work guaranteed to make both teams look good this year, regardless of future scores.

Saturday, after nearly a whole quarter of probing each other’s good-sized lines, Housy sophomore Williams made the big runs — 32 and 16 yards — that led to the Mountaineers’ first score. Perched on the Tech 12, Brissett passed to Will Perotti for the touchdown, with 2:30 left in the period. The point after failed.

Tech quarterback Tom Notchick marched the Wildcats down the field in response; then a dropped pitch-back gave the ball back to Housy at its own 25.

The Mountaineers are young, but they pounce on mistakes. Eleven plays, moving into the second quarter, methodically chewed up turf, then Brissett capped it with a 10-yard pass to Zach Williams. Forrest Hayden kicked the extra point for a 13-0 Housy lead with 10:20 left in the half.

Wolcott Tech worked too hard to let a shutout stand this week. Especially Harrington. He carried on nine of 14 plays moving toward the half, then finally carried it in from the Housy three, 33 seconds left. The kick failed, so the teams went into the locker room with a ball game, 13-6.

On the first play from scrimmage in the second half, Brissett put his ultimate stamp on the game. From his own 36 yard line, he appeared trapped behind the line by a swarm of Wildcat tacklers. Instead, he burst out for a 64-yard touchdown, then passed to Rick Johnson for the two-point conversion, 21-6.

For the Wildcats, that was one shoe dropped. The other hit the ground just seconds later with a fumble on the first play from scrimmage after Housy’s kickoff. Mountaineer senior lineman Barrie Richardson recovered it the fumble on Tech’s eight yard line. Three plays later, sophomore fullback Forrest Hayden punched it in for an add-on touchdown. Housy’s bid for a two-point conversion failed, but Tech was in a 27-6 hole thanks to two game-changing plays.

Notchick (10 rushes for 39 yards in the game) and Harrington worked down the field for eight points on a 10-yard Harrington touchdown and two-point conversion run, but 27-14 was too wide a gap in the final quarter.

Brissett had one more nice pass (15 yards), to Zach Williams, for a Housatonic touchdown midway through the fourth.

Notchick found his own passing range with a 20 yard throw to Patrick Higgins, then a 20-yard scoring strike to Stephen Oakes with just 24 seconds left in the game. The kick failed, leaving the final score at 34-20.

It was a game in which Housy coach Bayer found his youngsters pretty grown up.

Coty’s Wildcats face tough Avon and Coventry teams in the next two weeks, but based on a solid first-ever opening day at home, a first-ever program win is actually possible, thanks to all that work.

If it comes as a stunner, the taste will be all the more sweet.


The RegisterCitizen
190 Water St.

Torrington, CT 06790


BLOG: High School Football Holley at Pembroke

By Alanna Stage
Sunday, September 20, 2009 8:34 AM EDT

Welcome to a beautiful Week 3 of the Section 5 high school football season! I'm reporting live from the back of a pickup truck in Pembroke for Holley versus the Dragons.

1:42 p.m. — The Hawks have wasted no time putting Pembroke in an early hole. Running back Guy Hills scored then converted a two-point conversion with six minutes remaining in the first quarter to give Holley a 8-0 lead.

1:47 p.m. — Pembroke has been limited offensively, but they will have the ball to start the second quarter.

1:54 p.m. — Pembroke moved the ball down to the Holley 40-yard line, thanks in part to a big first down run by Josh Phillips, but a fumble foiled the Dragons efforts. Holley took over and almost immediately, Hills picked up a first down on a 10-yard rumble down the far sideline.

1:57 p.m. — Didn't catch the Friday night scores yet? Here's a link to Friday's football roundup: here

A turnover would come back to haunt the Dragons. After stopping Holley on a third-and-long, Pembroke QB/DB Matt Phelps came up limping and was taken to the sidelines. On the next play, the Hawks converted the fourth down.

2:05 p.m. — Four downs later, Holley's Sean Baylor scored on a nine yard run up the middle. Tyler Winter's two-point conversion run gives the Hawks a 16-0 lead.

2:11 p.m. — Pembroke goes three and out on their next possesion. Holley takes possession on their own 30-yard line, but quickly get a first down behind Baylor, moving the ball to midfield with 2:44 left in the half.

2:15 p.m. — I've added links to the recap of the Albion and Medina games from Friday night. Albion got their first 'W' of the '09 season, while Medina continues to struggle.

2:20 p.m. — Holley converts another fourth down to keep their drive alive then goes no huddle with the seconds ticking away in the quarter. Baylor goes in for his second TD, pushing the pile with his 6-foot, 225-pound frame. The two-point conversion fails. With under a minute remaining, Holley leads 22-0.

2:30 p.m. — Halftime: Holley 22, Pembroke 0.

2:32 p.m. — Some first half totals: Hills 1 TD run, 1 conversion run; Baylor 2 TD runs, 1 conversion run.

2:41 p.m. — Phelps appears to be out for the rest of the game. Senior Ben Marien will take over quarterbacking duties for Pembroke.

2:45 p.m. — Cadizsh Norford fumble the kickoffs, but recovers and takes the ball 15 yards to the Pembroke 45-yard line to start the second half.

2:48 p.m. — Three plays later, Norford finishes what he started. The freshman was off to the races up the far sideline for a 40-yard score. Holley made the PAT, going up 29-0.

2:51 p.m. — The Dragons have one more home games at the Pembroke Town Park field before moving to their new field for homecoming on Friday, Oct. 9. That means a press box for myself and scorekeeper Ed (whose truck we're all sitting on)!

2:53 p.m. — Pembroke turns the ball over for the fourth time with 6:30 left in the third quarter.

2:58 p.m. — After forcing Holley to go three and out, Pembroke takes over. With three minutes remaining in the quarter, Pembroke goes for it on fourth-and-10, Marien attempts to get the yards throught the air, but misses his target. Holley takes over on the Pembroke 40.

3:07 p.m. — Holley starts the final quarter of play on a third-and-10. Tyler Winter makes it a 35-0 game, scoring on the first play of the fourth quarter. Jon Penna sends the PAT through.

3:13 p.m. — From the out of town scoreboard, Alexander leads O-A 21-0.

3:19 p.m. — Three minutes into the fourth, Pembroke takes over deep in their own territory after a failed Holley field goal.

3:23 p.m. — Another Pembroke turnover.

3:25 p.m. — This time, the Dragons do a good job of holding off Holley's running attack. Pembroke bottles up Holley on four straight run attempts, getting the ball back on their own 20-yard line.

3:27 p.m. — The Dragons will run out of time to get any points today. Final score: Holley 36, Pembroke 0.

The Daily News
Batavia Newspapers Corporation
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Batavia, NY 14020