Saturday, October 31, 2009

Lakes flood small-school honors list

By Brandon Veale - DMG Sports Editor

ESCANABA - The Great Western Conference was as great as its name implies this season, and as a reward, GWC players were well-represented in the All-U.P. Football Teams for 2009.

The local GWC honorees, selected at the U.P. Sportswriters and Sportscasters Meeting Thursday, include a school-record tying six Lake Linden-Hubbell Lakes, including Dream Team linebacker and U.P. Class D Defensive Player of the Year Brandon Sundblad (see related story).

Three Ontonagon Gladiators and a Baraga Viking also made the Class D unit.

Sundblad was one of two GWC players on the Dream Team, alongside defensive tackle Tim Martin of Forest Park.

The senior led a bumper crop from LL-H, the only team in the Upper Peninsula to go undefeated this season. The previous record was six Lakes in 1991 and 1992, with one of the 1991 selections being current LL-H coach Andy Crouch (at defensive back).

LL-H dominated defensively, allowing a U.P. best 34 points in eight games, including five shutouts. In recognition of that prowess, three Lakes linebackers were selected for the first time in school history. In addition to Sundblad, the panel selected junior linebackers Jordan Hahka (5-foot-6, 165 pounds) and Dano Goldsworthy (5-10, 175), a combination that had 202 tackles in the Lakes' eight games.

Crouch called Hahka "incredibly dedicated," and his work paid off. He recorded 87 tackles, with great performances in the Lakes' two biggest regular season games: 13 vs. Forest Park and 12 at home against Hurley, Wis. Hahka earned honorable mention at the position as a sophomore.

Goldsworthy had 52 tackles, and Crouch called him "an unbelievable hitter - ask our opponents."

In addition to the linebacking corps, junior defensive back Brett Gervais earned special mention.

On the other side of the ball, the Lakes had plenty of holes through which to run for big gains. Key to that effort were a pair of All-U.P. linemen, senior center Jake Killian and junior guard Stefan Liimatainen.

Both were picked for the All-Great Western Conference team, with Killian netting lineman of the year honors.

LL-H's strong line gave Travis Ambuehl a chance to shine at end, and the senior receiver took it, earning All-U.P. honors. Ambuehl, named the GWC's top receiver, had 19 catches for 389 yards and eight touchdowns on a team that threw only 42 passes all season. His hands were key in some of the Lakes' biggest wins, including a game-winning touchdown catch against Hurley and two TD catches against Forest Park.

Ontonagon travels to meet the Lakes today at Warner Field in a Division 8 pre-district game, and some of the Gladiators that were instrumental in the school's first playoff berth since 1996 were singled out for praise.

Senior running back Mike Schmaus racked up 1,182 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns on 43 carries. In coach Dave Linczeski's single-wing offense, Schmaus was a weapon with his arm as well, throwing for 378 yards and two scores.

Winner of multiple sprints at the Division 3 U.P. Track and Field Finals in May, Schmaus's blazing speed was deadly to any team that let him get the corner.

One of Schmaus's passing targets was Cameron Menigoz, who earned All-U.P. honors with 11 catches for 204 yards, but most importantly, a season full of key blocks to spring Schmaus and the rest of the Gladiator backfield.

Ontonagon's Tyler Roberts was the only sophomore All-U.P. selection this season, recording a team-leading 63 tackles at linebacker.

Baraga is represented by senior defensive lineman Matt Velmer. The two-year team captain recorded 50 tackles (10 solo), four sacks, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
The Daily Mining Gazette
P.O. Box 368, Houghton, MI 49931

Croze, Linczeski top coaches

ESCANABA - Three special seasons netted a slew of special awards from the U.P. Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association at its annual meeting Thursday.

Calumet and Lake Linden-Hubbell capped sterling seasons with Team of the Year honors in Class C and D, respectively.

In Coach of the Year balloting, UPSSA voters honored Calumet's John Croze for leading an established program to new heights, while Ontonagon's Dave Linczeski earned recognition for turning a proud program in the winning direction again.

And in player awards, a tenacious defender on a dominant team, Brandon Sundblad of LL-H, earned Class D Defensive Player of the Year selection.

Calumet's 8-1 regular season was among the best in school history and its best record since 1997. The Copper Kings held complete control of the WestPAC this year, with their closest game being a 45-20 win at Stephenson in Week 1. Against local opponents, Calumet was completely dominant, outscoring the other 3 local WestPAC teams 166-6.

Croze, an All-U.P. selection for Ishpeming at end in 1985, earned Coach of the Year for the first time in his career. The award last crossed the Portage Lake Lift Bridge in 1996, when Croze's predecessor, Scott Boddy, was picked.

Croze has a 60-38 record in 10 seasons as the Copper Kings head coach, which includes playoff appearances in the last six consecutive seasons.

The Gladiators improved from 1-8 in 2008 to 6-3 this year after Linczeski took over and installed a single-wing offense like the one he played at Menominee High School. The five-game improvement was the most in the U.P. this season and was enough for the school's first playoff berth since 1996.

Sundblad led an elite LL-H defense that allowed only 34 points in eight games, shut out five opponents and did not allow any team more than 14 points.

He recorded 67 tackles this season and returned an interception for a touchdown. A starter for three-and-a-half years, he was named Great Western Conference Defensive Player of the Year.

The 5-foot-9, 185-pound senior joins Michael Goldsworthy (2007) and Tom Miller (1998) as recent selections for the award from Lake Linden.

Sundblad, an honorable mention selection in 2008, is the fourth Lake to make the Dream Team in the last decade, including Goldsworthy (2007), Casey DeMars (2004-05) and Corey Steinhoff (2004) and is the fourth Dream Team linebacker in school history.

All four Player of the Year awards were unanimously picked for the first time in recent memory.

The Class A-B-C Offensive Player of the Year was Mitch VanEffen of Escanaba, a dynamic athlete who holds school records for career receiving TDs, career TDs, receiving yards in a season, career total yards and TD catches in a season. The Class D Offensive Player of the Year award went to two-time Dream Team running back Mike Miller of North Dickinson.

The Class A-B-C Defensive Player of the Year went to Winston Larson of Kingsford, the heart of one of the U.P.'s best defenses, which has not allowed double digits since Week 3. The Flivvers also earned Team of the Year honors in Class A-B.
The Daily Mining Gazette
P.O. Box 368, Houghton, MI 49931

Friday, October 30, 2009

Perfect Panthers on the right path

By Ryan Boldrey
Published: 10.29.09
The Woodland Park Panthers sixth grade lightweight football team just concluded its season with a perfect 7-0 record.

According to the coaching staff of Brent Garretson, Shawn Manzo, Tom Ereon and Bill Zuspan, it’s the first time in memory that a Woodland Park team at this age group has gone unbeaten.

Three years ago there was a team that lost on the last play of the last game of the season, finishing at 6-1, said Zuspan.

This year the squad wasn’t even close to losing the final contest as they mercied their opponent 45-0, having the game called early for the third consecutive week due to holding such a lopsided lead.

“I think the kids had a very, very positive season and experience for the whole season,” Zuspan said. “Of course, every kid likes to win, but at this age, we are just trying to help them to improve.”

And when Garretson— a former coach at Sierra High School whose grandson Jymon is on the team— first started coaching the offense for this group last year they had a 1-2 record in their fifth grade league.

The team hasn’t lost since; finishing last year at 5-2 and going perfect this season.

Yet as Zuspan said, so much at this age group is just about improving.

“We spend an inordinate amount of time on technique and we do very little hitting [in practice],” Garretson said. “We do our hitting early in the year. I am a firm believer in not hitting much because then they get beat up and sore and aren’t ready to hit in games. Plus we are more concerned with injuries.”

Part of the reason the coaches spend so much time on technique too is because they want to see the boys be successful when they get to the high school level, and the best way for that to happen, according to both Zuspan and Garretson, is to learn the fundamentals and techniques at an early age.

“They are a smart group of kids, they learn quick and they execute,” Garretson said. “They are being taught what the high schools teams are being taught. It’s a little above what most kids their age are learning.”

The team ran a 5-3-3 defense with blitzing linebackers and stunting lineman and on offense the Panthers ran both the single wing and I formation.

“They had a lot to remember,” Garretson said. “They ran a lot of plays, and, we threw the ball a lot. We primarily ran it, but we also threw it. I’ve seen a lot of ninth grade teams that couldn’t run as many plays as they did.”

That was also likely part of the reason the team was blowing out its fellow sixth grade competition from around Colorado Springs from start to finish this season.

The help he had coaching was another main reason for the Panthers’ success according to Garretson, as were the parents.

“Shawn Manzo did a terrific job and just works great with the kids, and Bill helped out a lot with the line, the line drills and teaching the kids how to punch through the defense,” he said, adding that the parents were extremely supportive and understanding as well.

“Kasha Cox was outstanding as the team mother,” he added. “She deserves a lot of credit. She even made certificates for the boys at the end of the season and got little trophies for them.”

On the field, though, Garretson said he couldn’t ask for anything more and expects a lot from this group in the future as long as they stick together, and pick up the newcomers to their level in coming years.

“We had an outstanding quarterback [Matt Cox] that really came in at the end of the year, and he had to learn things that were a little above his age,” Garretson said. “Dominik Cunico and Eric Gonzalez both really ran the ball well, and the whole team just improved and got better as the season went along... Great kids and great parents that was the key.”

Panther victories

Week 1 Pinon Ravens 42-6

Week 2 Rudy Browns 30-6

Week 3 Rampart Chargers 31-6

Week 4 Pinon Panthers 32-6

Week 5 Widefield Raiders 34-6

Week 6 Broadmoor ‘Skins 39-0

Week 7 Police Athletics 45-0

Pikes Peak Courier View and Teller County Extra
1200 E. Highway 24
Woodland Park, CO 80863]



Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Wildcat is more about a numbers game than trickery

It replaces the quarterback with an extra blocker

Rex Ryan is not one to mince his words, so the Jets' tough-talking coach proudly admits he's made Sunday's game against the Dolphins "personal."

Ryan is seeking revenge against the Wildcat, which embarrassed him and his proud defense earlier this month in a 31-27 loss that was sealed with six seconds remaining on Ronnie Brown's 2-yard run out of the formation.

After the defeat, the Jets were stewing so much that linebacker Calvin Pace took offense to getting beat by what his team labels "a gimmick" offense.

But in reality, the Wildcat isn't fueled by trickery. At its core, the run-oriented plays the Dolphins have used almost 10 times per game this season are successful because there's usually one more blocker close to the line of scrimmage than the opposition has defending.

On top of that, the play flows quickly because the triggerman is a running back receiving a direct snap.

"It's just a power formation up front that comes down to execution," said Brown, who usually serves as the Wildcat's triggerman. "Everybody just has to beat their man for it to be successful." » Page 4

Sun Sentinel writer Omar Kelly analyzes the trendy Wildcat scheme that is averaging 5.9 yards per play for the Dolphins and dissects its bread-and-butter elements to explain why it's here to stay.


The Wildcat is homage to the old school single-wing offense, which was created by Glenn "Pop" Warner in the early 1900s and later became the inspiration for the modern-day "Shotgun" or "Spread" formation.

"It's a throw-back," said legendary Dolphins coach Don Shula, who served as the triggerman for the single-wing offense run by his high school team back in era when players wore leather helmets. "What goes around comes around. There really isn't anything new in football."

The Dolphins started using the formation in Week 3 of the 2008 season because they needed a strategy that put Brown and Ricky Williams, the team's two Pro Bowl tailbacks, on the field at the same time.

"That's smart football," said offensive coordinator Dan Henning. "Get your best players on the field."

Last year, the Dolphins ran an unbalanced line, shifting both tackles to one side, and usually kept the quarterback on the field. This year the Wildcat has evolved to a conventionally balanced line that often includes two tight ends and fullback Lousaka Polite primarily serving as blockers.

Sometimes the quarterback is included, sometimes he's not, replaced by a receiver or running back.

The biggest benefit of the Wildcat? It eats up each opponent's weekly preparation time because defending it requires hours of film study and practice time.

"When you think about Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, and the ability of those two backs, defenses have to work hard to prepare for them," Shula said. "They have [the Wildcat] and their regular offense. They've got a lot of different ways to attack a defense."

Wild throw
Before every Wildcat play, Brown is responsible for scanning the defense and making sure he executes the optimal play.

Sometimes, like on the opening series of the first Jets game, the proper read calls for Brown, a lefty, to throw the ball.

Throwing out of the Wildcat is a way of keeping defenses honest. When the Dolphins keep the quarterback on the field, they have the option of executing a double pass, as long as Brown's throw to the quarterback is a lateral. The Dolphins have scored two touchdowns in the seven throws made out of the Wildcat since 2008.

The team practices passing out of the Wildcat each week, and there have been instances when Brown participates in throwing drills with the quarterbacks.

"I'm a running back, so I haven't thrown many passes. I just try to take advantage of opportunities," said Brown, who has completed 2 of 6 for 40 yards and a touchdown. "I try not to think about it. If I see a guy open, I try to get him the ball."

End around
Here's the biggest misconception about the Wildcat.

Many think the actual Wildcat member of the scheme is the tailback receiving the direct snap, which is usually Brown.

Actually, the player running the end around, crossing the triggerman at the time of the snap to create an element of misdirection, is the Wildcat.

The intent of the end-around fake, which is occasionally handed off, is to keep the defense somewhat honest, stretching the edges of their coverage, which spaces out the field. Putting a man in motion also helps the offense identify if the defense is in zone or man coverage. Ryan said it's the timing of the end around that makes the play so challenging to stop.

"He is at full speed, so he a lot of times will out-run [the defense]. You may have a [defensive] end that's wide and all that, but he immediately breaks containment because he's moving full speed," Ryan said. "Then, when he gets into the secondary, you may have a one-on-one matchup, but it's not a good one for you because you've got a smaller player trying to tackle Ricky Williams coming full speed around the corner. It's not a pleasant sight."

Zone runs
It's hard to ignore a running play that averages 6 yards. That's why the Wildcat caught fire around the NFL last season, and has remained hot. This season nearly a dozen teams run their version.

No matter how teams decide to defend it, Wildcat runs — big and small — eat up time of possession, convert first downs, and score in the red zone.

"We've seen defenses do everything against it," Dolphins coach Tony Sparano said. "We have seen pressure, we have seen people making a conscience effort to set the edges of the defense, and we have seen people stack the box. We have seen people leaving a safety in the middle of the field, thinking that's the answer is to us not throwing the football. And we've seen even fronts, odd fronts, over-shifted fronts — everything."

The Saints limited the scheme's effectiveness last Sunday, holding the Dolphins to 30 rushing yards on 13 Wildcat plays by blitzing the cornerbacks in the second half. Expect others to try that approach, and the Dolphins to have a counterpunch for it.

Omar Kelly can be reached at and read regularly on the Dolphins blog at

RB Ronnie Brown (23) is the triggerman of the Wildcat scheme. RB Ricky Williams (34) crosses Brown at the time of the snap to create an element of misdirection, making him the Wildcat. LG Justin Smiley (65) pulls right to help lead the blocking.

RG Donald Thomas (66) pulls to lead the blocking when Brown runs left. The Wildcat gives the Dolphins a surplus of blockers close to the line of scrimmage, often leaving Brown with a one-on-one matchup with a DB for additional yardage.

When Brown carries the ball in the Wildcat, the play typically goes between the tackles to the left or right. Brown fakes the handoff to Williams to add to the misdirection. When the play goes right, Smiley pulls to lead the blocking for Brown.

Run right

South Florida Sun-Sentinel


Chuck Carree - High school offenses get more variety over years

By Chuck Carree

Published: Wednesday, October 28, 2009 at 6:32 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 28, 2009 at 6:32 p.m.

I like diversity, which helps make high school football offenses captivating.

Go to a prep game, and you are apt to see triple options (Pender and Trask) to the Notre Dame Box (East Columbus) to variations of the single wing or Wildcat formation anywhere else.

Last week, I spoke with Don Callahan, a writer for Inside Carolina and a contributor to He sees a game a week and recently saw a team open in a T-formation, switched to the I and finished in the spread.

He also told me he has seen a team run some wishbone and then went to the spread.

It is designed to give defenses multiple looks and force the opposition extra preparation.

For example, when South Columbus beat Hoggard, Vikings coach Scott Braswell noted the Stallions, a traditional Wing T offense, ran some Wildcat with quarterback Brian Riggins.

“They faked the jet sweep and he would keep it,’’ Braswell said.

Riggins, only a junior, already has scholarship offers from North Carolina, East Carolina and Virginia Tech. Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia and N.C. State also have expressed interest.

But the Stallions recently chucked the Wildcat because of turnovers and blocking woes.

New Hanover planned to utilize the Wildcat 40 percent this season, but the players better suited for it suffered torn ACLs.

At Whiteville, head coach Bob Lewis has toyed with it in two games and said some people nearly had a heart attack.

“I think it adds another dimension of excitement to the game, so I think it is great,’’ he said.

Lewis saw it more frequently as coach at Harrells Christian.

“It opens up the field, makes it bigger, and with athletes, there is a chance to produce more points,’’ he said. “We even saw quarterbacks line up at flanker. But you cannot bleed the clock with it, though.’’

East Columbus coach Travis Conner is a huge proponent of the single wing, which is why he runs the box with no quarterback.

Scott Conner, his father, ran the box for 35 years and earned induction into the N.C. Coaches Hall of Fame while having the field at Asheville A.C. Reynolds named for him.

“That is what I grew up knowing and why I do it,’’ Conner said.

While no one operates from the single wing principle more than the Gators, Hoggard has used it well in recent years.

Luke Caldwell, a receiver and strong runner with some speed, ran it in 2007 en route to the Vikings state 4A title.

Last season, Brad Busby, a quarterback, kept the ball most of the time. This season, Jovon Genwright, a running back, lines up in the Wildcat.

“You are getting the ball in a play makers hands and you are playing 11 on 11 because the quarterback is not just handing the ball off,’’ Braswell said. “The quarterback must be the runner.

“The biggest advantage is of 11 on 11 is being able to put a body on a body. You at least have to a chance to block everybody up.’’

Staff writer Chuck Carree can be reached at 343-2262 or

P.O. Box 840
Wilmington, NC 28402


Whittier QB: 'We're flying high; there's more to come

For the first time this season, Whittier seemed a little deflated — but not for long.

Offensive lineman Jordan Britton admitted that his team was stunned by a first-half comeback by Saturday's challenger, Shawsheen.

"It was tough," said Britton. "We knew we had to shake it off somehow and make up for the mistakes that we made."

After jumping out to a quick 14-point lead, the Wildcats saw the advantage disappear when Shawsheen scored its second touchdown with 41 seconds left in the half.

But resilient Whittier needed only 31 seconds to march down the field and retake command with a score as time expired, and went on to dominate the second half on its way to a 38-14 victory yesterday afternoon.

"We were down when they tied the game up," said Wildcats coach Kevin Bradley. "To drive it the length of the field with just a picture-perfect two-minute drill was huge. We work on the two-minute drill all the time, but we never work on a 31-second drill. Everything clicked and that was the momentum shift for the game."

Whittier (7-0) seemed to be in full control with a 14-0 lead. But Shawsheen (2-5) rallied back to tie the score with a score on offense and defense. At the same time, the Rams held the Wildcats to three straight three-and-outs.

Following the Rams' second score, however, Whittier answered.

After running the single-wing for much of the first half, the Wildcats went to the air and Dillon Ryan hit on all four of his passes, capping the drive off by rolling to the right and lobbing a pass left to a wide-open Ralph Hancock.

"After the first pass I had a good feeling," said Ryan, who had thrown an interception that was retuned for a touchdown earlier in the quarter.

"I started hitting receivers and we started moving the ball down the field. I knew we could do it. When we scored the touchdown it was amazing."

Following that score, it was all Whittier in the second half. The Wildcats rolled to 173 yards rushing in the final two quarters, compared to 79 in the first half.

The defense was just as dominant, allowing only 55 total yards in the second half, 33 of which on one long run against the Whittier backups. Cory Foss, who rushed for a whopping 394 yards against North Shore, was limited to 54 yards on 14 carries, and Hancock picked off a pass.

"Our defense was incredible," said Britton. "Nate Allen, Donny (Leighton) and the guys. They just make plays."

Nick Ferreira rushed for a game-high 126 yards on only 14 carries.

Ryan, who entered the day leading the area in touchdown passes (15), was 12 of 20 for 124 yards and three TDs.

"We're flying high right now," said Ryan. "And there is more to come."

On Saturday, Whittier will take on Chelsea, one of more than a dozen undefeated teams remaining. The game is at home and begins at 10:30 a.m.

Whittier 38, Shawsheen 14

Whittier (7-0):8’Ç14’Ç16’Ç0 — 38

Shawsheen (2-5):0’Ç14’Ç’Ç0’Ç0 — 14

First Quarter

W — Ralph Hancock 4 pass from Dillon Ryan (Paul Buccos run), 7:28

Second Quarter

W — Kobie Green-Jackson 31 pass from Ryan (rush failed), 8:32

S — Derek Steen 10 interception return (Nick Danas kick), 3:47

S — Cory Foss 1 run (Danas kick), 0:41

W — Hancock 5 pass from Ryan (Nick Ferreira rush), 0:00

Third Quarter

W — Ferreira 41 run (Ryan rush), 7:12

W — Nate Allen 14 run (Don Leighton rush), 3:04


RUSHING: Whittier (43-257) — Nick Ferreira 14-126, Mark Asemota 7-36, Paul Buccos 5-39, Nate Allen 4-30, Don Leighton 9-28, Jack Cressy 1-6, Andy Jacques 1-(-2), Dillon Ryan 2-(-4); Shawsheen (23-58) — Cory Foss 14-54

PASSING: Whittier — Ryan 12-20-1, 124; Shawsheen — Kevin White 2-11-1, 67

RECEIVING: Whittier — Steve Surette 6-47, Ralph Hancock 3-36, Kobie Green-Jackson 1-31, Ferreira 1-9, Jay Desjardins 1-1; Shawsheen — Robert Greenwood 2-67

15 unbeatens left

Whittier (7-0) is one of 15 unbeaten teams left in Eastern Mass. The Cats will host fellow unbeaten Chelsea (6-0) Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

The other unbeatens are Abington, Bridgewater-Raynham, Cohasset, Falmouth, Franklin, Gloucester, Holliston, Natick, Needham, Reading, Walpole, Westwood and Xaverian.

Haverhill Gazette
P.O. Box 991
Haverhill, MA


Triple threat

Record-breaking QB Ryan as comfortable blocking as he is passing and running
Off Tackle
David Willis

HAVERHILL — While Whittier offensive lineman Chris Affannato isn't ready to give his quarterback an honorary jersey with number in the 70s quite yet, he had to credit Dillon Ryan for his play in the trenches.

"Blocking's a big part of Dillon's job," said Affannato with a smile. "We haven't worked with him too much, but he seems to do it well enough to get us some yards. The more blockers we have the better."

This season, Ryan has emerged from Whittier's run-heavy offense to lead the area in touchdown passes (18, tied for second in Eastern Mass.). It's the most for a Wildcat QB since The Eagle-Tribune began keeping complete records in 1984.

Whittier (7-0) now looks to push towards a Commonwealth Conference large title as it faces undefeated CAC Small rival Chelsea (6-0) and powerhouse Manchester Essex (6-1, 2-0 CAC large) the next two weeks.

But, while most quarterbacks drift far away from the action on running plays, Ryan's helmet is substantially dinged up from plowing into defenders.

With Whittier frequently employing an old-fashion single-wing attack, in which the ball is often snapped to other backs, Ryan is called on nearly as much as a fullback as he is as a QB.

"Last week at Shawsheen I made a big block that cleared up a whole for a big run for Nick Ferreira," said Ryan, now in his third year as the starting QB. "I take a beating, but it's worth it if we win."

A quarterback since he began in youth football, Ryan never ran away from contact in his early years. But blocking has not come easily.

"I played in the Haverhill junior league and it was all about hitting," said Ryan, hardly a waif at 6-foot-2, 195 pounds. "But I've had to work a lot on the footwork of blocking and finding the right guy to hit. It's a challenge."

The signal-caller's blocking duties have only increased as the Wildcats have shifted from a more traditional attack (similar to a straight-T), where he was first asked to pitch the ball, to the 1940s-era single-wing on about half their snaps.

"It is what is expected of me," he said. "The last two years I would go into the hole and go hit someone. But I am blocking a lot more this year. I kind of like blocking. I like the contact. I've even asked the coaches to put me in on defense a little, but they don't like that very much."

Behind the blocking of Ryan and the offensive line, Whittier has one of the most potent rushing attacks in the area, averaging 194.6 yards a game.

Ryan's versatility as both a blocker and runner (17 carries, 83 yards) have been key.

"Dillon does it all," said Wildcats coach Kevin Bradley. "He's a running back, quarterback, we have plays to throw to him, and he's a blocking back. He even runs the scout offense during practice. There's never a down moment for him. He'll be carrying the ball a lot more with the big games on the way."

When the ball is snapped into Ryan's hands in the traditional offense, he has been making almost every play.

"It's been a big change from my sophomore and junior years," said Ryan. "The coaches trust me with the ball and to air it out. A lot of the guys have progressed, and coach told me this offseason we'd be throwing more, and I was all for it."

Ryan showed potential as a passer right away as a sophomore, totaling 700 yards (on 43 of 96 throwing) and six touchdowns. He followed that up a year ago with 919 yards (59 of 131) and 10 TDs. But it was in Week 2 this season, a 30-6 win over Ashland, that it came together.

"In the Ashland game I threw for (112) yards and a score," he said. "Everything just started to click. I just thought, 'Alright, we can catch the ball a little.'"

He ranks fourth in the area with 899 passing yards on 53-of-85 passing for 899 yards. \He has also thrown just four interceptions.

Also a starter in baseball (.404 average, 74 strikeouts as a pitcher) and basketball, Ryan is looking to play baseball and/or football in college.

Family ties

The Ryan name is well know around football circles in Haverhill. Dillon Ryan said his grandfather, Paul Ryan, was the head coach of the Haverhill High squad that was 7-0-1 and won the Eastern Massachusetts Class A championship in 1955.

Dillon's father also spent two years as a starting quarterback for Whittier — also wearing No. 10 — and Dillon's uncle, also Paul, was a quarterback at the University of Rhode Island, lettering from 1972-74.

The week ahead

The battle of undefeateds between Whittier and Chelsea on Saturday isn't the only big game on the docket. On Friday, Central Catholic looks to strengthen its hold on the Merrimack Valley Conference large against Chelmsford.

One town over, in the Cape Ann League large, North Andover attempts to rebound by hosting Triton. Both are 5-1, but 0-1 in the CAL large.

Rifle-armed Ryan

With as many as six games left (if Whittier makes the EMass Division 4 Super Bowl) he could destroy the modern area single-season record (through the 1984 season).

Year%Name%School%TD passes

1999%Marc Hordon%Phillips%22

2008%John Hennessy%Andover%20

2007%Mike Pierce%Andover%20

2009%Dillon Ryan%Whittier%18

2004%Graeme Clohosey%Pinkerton%18

1986%Pete Chulack%Pinkerton%18

Eagle Tribune Publishing Company
100 Turnpike Street
North Andover, MA


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Holley defeats Marcus Whitman 20-14

Advances to play Attica in semis
By Sara Dresser
Saturday, October 24, 2009 6:35 PM EDT

HOLLEY — The Holley football team won their first ever sectional game in the program’s history, defeating visiting Marcus Whitman 20-14 Saturday afternoon.

The Wildcats had trouble stopping Holley’s tough run game, giving up over 100 yards on the ground in the first half and almost another 150 yards in the second half.

Sean Baylor scored early in the first quarter on a 28 yard touchdown run while Mike Pernicano punched it in for the two point conversion, giving Holley the 8-0 lead with 10:13 left in the first quarter.

After a three and out by Marcus Whitman late in the first half, the Hawks started at their own 43 yard line. Holley then drove down the field with two 10 yard runs by Baylor, and a four yard run from quarterback Guy Hills. Running back Mike Pernicano split the defense up the middle for a 14 yard touchdown run to give the Hawks a 14-0 lead going into halftime.

Alex Eddinger scored the first touchdown for the Wildcats on a 13 yard run. The point after kick was good, tightening the score to 14-7 last in the third quarter.

Pernicano went on to score his second touchdown of the game with 8:55 left in the fourth quarter on an eight yard run. The two point conversion run by Baylor failed, leaving the scored at 20-7 for the Hawks.

Marcus Whitman narrowed the score late in the fourth quarter as running back Scott Longyear scored on a three yard run with 1:24 left in the game.

The Wildcats attempted an onsides kick, but Tyler Winter recovered the ball for the Hawks. Hills ended the game by taking a knee, giving Holley a memorable 20-14 sectional win.

The Hawks will play Attica next Sunday at Auto Marina Stadium in Rochester at noon.

The Daily News
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