Friday, November 6, 2009

Ram tough

Posted: 11/08/2009 01:00:00 AM MST

It's playoff time in Akron:

The Akron Rams took one step closer to their fourth consecutive Class 1A title by routing Denver Lutheran 43-0 on Saturday. The Rams' single-wing attack rushed for 221 yards on 34 carries, led by Jourdan Hottinger (95 yards, two TDs).

In case you missed it:

Fort Collins' Michelle Tharp won the Class 5A all-around gymnastics title Friday night in Thornton. The Lamb- kins senior posted a score of 38.9.

Toughest region:

The Class 2A state volleyball title has had a history of going through Region D. On Friday at Fountain Middle School, Simla (20-4) and defending champion Fowler (25-1) advanced to next weekend's state tournament at the Denver Coliseum.

Jon E. Yunt, The Denver Post


Raft River ready to give Prairie a game

The 11-hour bus ride is the least of the Trojans' concerns.

The Raft River football team opens the Class 1A Division I state playoffs at the Kibbie Dome in Moscow against the highly-touted defending champs from Prairie, which have won their last 21 games - with 11 shutouts - and have outscored opponents 51.7 to 3.7 on average.

But Raft River doesn't plan to travel all that way just to roll over.

"We're going to make the best of it. It's a good experience for us," said Raft River senior Rio Manning. "We have a special opportunity to go up there, have fun with it and kick some butt at the same time."

As underdogs, the Trojans are feeling no pressure, which will allow them to play more relaxed.

"Everybody's saying how they're invincible and how nobody can touch them," said Manning of Prairie. "They are a solid team, but we match up well with them. We're going to go up there, play as good as we can and hopefully come out on top."

If nobody is giving Raft River (7-2) a chance, it's because they don't realize how close the Trojans were to going undefeated this season. In its season-opening loss to Castleford, Raft River lost its starting quarterback Nelson Manning to injury. It was also working out the kinks of a new spread offense, which they have since bagged in large part, going back to their bread-and-butter single wing. Raft River's other loss was to Snake River Conference champ Oakley, a game that the Trojans were just a 2-point conversion away from winning.

"The kids believe they have a chance for some redemption," said Raft River coach Randy Spaeth. "They still have the Castleford and Oakley games in the back of their minds. If they can pull this one off, it erases those losses."

Prairie's offense is athletic, physical and explosive. The key for Raft River will be to sustain drives to keep Prairie's offense off the field, while not getting too conservative.

Concerning the travel, the Trojans are following nearly the same itinerary as their 2004 trip to the Kibbie Dome when they won the state championship over Genesee. The team departed at noon on Thursday, practiced at Bronco Stadium in Boise at 4 p.m. and spent the night in McCall. After a walk-through at McCall-Donnelly High School this morning, they will travel to Moscow for the 8 p.m. (MST) kickoff.

"It's an awesome opportunity. It's going to be a fun game in the Kibbie Dome and we're going to give them a run for their money," said Raft River senior Braden Ottley.

Said Manning: "We know as seniors that if we don't win this one, we're going to be done with football for the rest of our lives, and we're not ready for that yet. We want at least two more games."
Times News
P.O. Box 548,
Twin Falls, ID

’Dogs hope to tame Panthers

With the season ticking down to the final minute, the Moffat County High School boys varsity football team will need a few breaks to reach the playoffs.

But, before the team can think of advancing, coach Kip Hafey said the Bulldogs need to take care of business starting at 7 p.m. today against Montezuma-Cortez High School.

“We have to win,” he said. “There are three or four teams still around, and if certain things happen we could still be in.”

Last week, Moffat County fell, 31-0, to the visiting Glenwood Springs High School Demons, which dealt the Bulldogs’ playoff hopes a blow.

The Bulldogs’ chance of reaching the next level of play is at 10 percent, Hafey said, but beating the Panthers tonight in Cortez would keep them alive.

Montezuma-Cortez owns a 1-8 record, including a 1-6 mark in Western Slope League play.

This also will be the last regular season game for Moffat County seniors Jeremiah Gordon, Travis Noland, Justin Zufelt, Jordan Wilson, Halen Raymond, Brian Ivy, Todd Stewart, Aaron Nielson, Nathan Tomlin, Jasen Kettle, Matt Linsacum, Scott Mann and Pablo Salcido.

When Montezuma-Cortez has the ball
Against the Bulldogs, the Panthers will go for a spin.

Running out of the spinner series, the Panthers will try to deceive the Bulldogs defense.

The spinner series is a single-wing set in the shotgun formation, in which the quarterback will sometimes spin 360 degrees to fake handoffs.

Not biting will be the Bulldogs’ best defense, coach Lance Scranton said.

“They run a lot of motion, which has the potential for a sweep, trap or QB keep,” he said.

“We need to be disciplined, especially our outside linebackers. They need to stay at home, and not over-penetrate.”

From the spinner series, Montezuma-Cortez quarterback Breen McComb can fake a hand-off, pass the ball or keep it and run.

Nine games into the season, the Panthers are averaging 18 points a game and the Bulldogs are scoring 18.5.

If Moffat County can get a push up-front, then the Panthers’ offense could stumble.

“Our three interior linemen need to be physical,” Scranton said. “If they can do that, it will blow everything up.”

The team also needs to make solid tackles, Scranton said.

When Moffat County has the ball
Hafey said the Bulldogs need to run at the Panthers.

“We need to be really physical,” he said. “Teams that have been physical have had a lot more success against Cortez than the teams that rely on finesse.

“We need to go out and be aggressive.”

To battle the Bulldogs, Monte­zuma-Cortez will try to slow down a potent running game.

“They will probably have nine or 10 guys in the box,” he said. “They will put five guys on the line. They’re going to stick a lot of guys in the box and try to force us to throw.”

When the middle is clogged, the Bulldogs will attack the outside with players like Kettle.

“When a team puts that many guys in the box, you need to get something on the edge,” Hafey said. “When they try to stop you in the middle, we will run everything from the tackles-out.

“That’s what we have to do to be successful and that’s where we have a chance to out-man them at the point of attack.”

The Craig Daily Press
P.O. Box 5
Craig, CO 81626-0005


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Football teams stay on top in divisional play

By Jason Brisbois/
Wed Nov 04, 2009, 08:32 PM EST

CAPE ANN - Although Paul Ingram was talking about his team’s chances during this week’s matchup against Revere, the Gloucester High football coach may as well have been talking about both of Cape Ann’s football teams when he uttered the following:

“I think, at this point in time, the kids are going to play hard no matter what,” said Ingram after his team thoroughly dominated Lynn English last week by a 48-7 score. “It’s really irrelevant who we play.”

That seems to be the case as well for the Manchester Essex football team, which put together a 33-0 win over Greater Lowell at Bishop Fenwick High School on Friday night. The Hornets pitched their first shut out of the season, showing that the Hornets can play standout defense for an entire game, an issue that coach Mike Athanas was hoping to resolve after high-scoring affairs for the two weeks leading up to the Greater Lowell game.

“We executed very well on both sides of the ball,” said Athanas. “We’ve been trying to do that all year. It was a nice game for the kids, a nice shutout to go into this week.”

The Fishermen were able to do almost everything they wanted, and barely had to throw a pass to do so. In fact, Glouceser attempted one pass – a halfback option – as the offensive line of Gus Margiotta, Jeff Lane, Ryan Fulford, Andrew Mizzoni and Anthony Latassa paved the way for running back Conor Ressel, who set a school record with 257 yards rushing to go along with three touchdowns.

“We never went into the game anticipating not throwing the ball,” said Ingram. “It started out so well, and we blocked so well and ran so well, and we didn’t get penalties that essentially they couldn’t stop us. We just stayed with our game plan.

The defense did its part as well, holding dangerous Lynn English quarterback Tyllor MacDonald to under 160 yards of total offense on the night.

“Offensively, this was our best game blocking, and defensively, except for the first series and one pass play near the first half, our defense played flawlessly,” said Ingram. “He is quick, and we played that [quarterback Chris] Splinter kid from Masco. They’re both quick, so we know from past experience that we have to get used to the speed of the game and the speed of the player. The kids adjusted when they found out he is really quick, that you’ve got to take better angles and put a lot of pressure on him.”

Manchester Essex’s defensive performance helped the Hornets jump out to an 18-0 lead at the half. Brian Ciccone provided much of the scoring, punching in two touchdowns on the ground and one in the air, with Jack Bishop and Cooper Riehl also reaching the end zone. After the win, Athanas was asked if his team’s defense had turned the corner.

“It looked like it has, but we’ll find out this week,” said the Manchester Essex coach. “We have a tough game coming up, and we can only go off what we did last week. Hopefully, we can carry that over and it gives us some momentum for this week.”

This week, the Hornets (7-1) will host 8-0 Whittier Tech at Ed Field Field on Saturday at 3:30 p.m., while the Fishermen will take their 8-0 record up against Northeastern Conference Large foe Revere (7 p.m., Newell Stadium) on Friday night.

Whittier Tech is a formidable foe, a Commonwealth Conference Large very much in the same vein as Manchester Essex.

“They pose a good challenge,” said Athanas. “They’re 8-0, and they’ve pretty much steamrolled everyone they’ve played so far this year. I don’t think anyone has given them a game yet.”

Whittier runs the single wing, and is quite adept at passing the ball and running the ball. The single wing presents an extra challenge in the amount of time misdirection is used on the field to confuse the defense.

“You can’t get pushed around by them,” said Athanas. “You’ve got to hold your ground and make them bounce it outside. They want to take the ball and run it down your throat, and you’ve got to play disciplined defense, read what you’re supposed to do and make a play.”

Gloucester, meanwhile, will face a Revere squad that has struggled this season. But that doesn’t mean the Fishermen will underestimate their opponents this weekend.

“I was thinking the other day about when we went down to Salem a few years ago and it was supposed to be a lopsided mismatch, and we got out of there with a 7-0 win,” said Ingram. “It was one of those days where nothing went right for us. They don’t have the greatest record, but we respect everybody.”

The Fishermen may have to adjust to Revere’s ability to switch on the fly, whether it’s offense or defense.

‘They try to play a mixture of defenses, so I’m not sure what we’ll see,” said Ingram. “I hate going into a game like that, to have to adjust during the game. But their offense has multiple looks, too. Their number seven is a really good running back, a tall, lanky kid, and they try to get him the ball a lot. We’ll hope to stop him and let somebody else beat us.”

72 Cherry Hill Drive
Beverly, Massachusetts 01915


Monday, November 2, 2009

Victory worth the wait for Winston Academy's Moffitt

WEST POINT — It was worth the wait for Winston Academy football team and Rob Moffitt.

Poor weather postponed the Patriots’ matchup against Oak Hill Academy from Friday night to Saturday afternoon.

When the game was finally played, Moffitt had to wait nearly three quarters before he touched the football.

But Winston Academy coach Wyatt Rogers decided to give Moffitt a carry with 26.9 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

The move decided to be a smart one.

Moffitt took a direct snap out of the Wildcat formation and scored on a 3-yard run that helped Winston Academy clinch a 15-3 victory and the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools AA, District 2 championship.

Moffitt was glad to give his team a lift and an insurance touchdown.

“It works well when we block it,” Moffitt said. “When (Rogers) calls that play, you’ve just got to be ready to get it done. It gave the defense momentum we could go out, get another stop, and gave the offense more points on the board.”

Rogers runs the single-wing package with Moffitt in short-yardage situations.

“I think a lot of people are going back to that,” Rogers said. “Our’s is more of a true single-wing. Our starting quarterback was running the ball really well (prior to Moffitt’s touchdown).”

After an interception by Cameron Paschal put Winston Academy (6-4, 3-0 district) in business at the Raiders’ 34-yard line, quarterback Tyler Sullivan rushed four times in a row for 22 yards to set up Moffitt’s touchdown.

Sullivan doesn’t consider himself fleet of foot, so he knew bringing in Moffitt would provide a nice change of pace after he softened up the defense.

“I don’t have any moves and I’m not fast,” Sullivan said. “In (muddy) conditions like this, that’s what we turned to and it was working. It’s hard to stop us when we go to the power offense.”

Oak Hill coach Leroy Gregg said the conditions caused his defense to become tired late in the third quarter and the Patriots snuck Moffitt into the game at a good time.

“They are good at that and we’ve seen it on film,” Gregg said. “We were worried about that in the game, but our defense became tired and our offense didn’t keep them off the field enough.”

Winston Academy scored on the second play from scrimmage on Zach Taylor’s 52-yard run. Taylor rushed for 71 yards on 15 carries.

The Raiders got on the scoreboard with a 26-yard field goal from Reid Posey with 7 minutes, 21 seconds left in the second quarter, but they didn’t score again.

Rogers was proud of the defensive effort, but hopes the Patriots get back to running and throwing effectively on offense when they play host the first round of the playoffs.

“It meant a lot for our guys to get home-field advantage in the playoffs after some earlier losses we had,” Rogers said.

Oak Hill Academy (3-8, 2-1) will travel to the Lamar School for playoff action, which Gregg calls “a big step for our program.”


The Starkville Dispatch

101 S. Lafayette St., Ste 16

Starkville, MS 39759



So, you think you know the wildcat?

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Rex Ryan is not one to mince his words, so the Jets' tough-talking coach proudly admits he's made today'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."


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 throwback," said legendary Dolphins coach Don Shula, who served as the triggerman for the single-wing offense run by his Harvey 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."

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 outrun [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 Dolphins' 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.

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."

Cleveland Live


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Windber mauls Meyersdale

The Tribune-Democrat

MEYERSDALE — Windber’s Jarid Cover ran for 159 yards and three touchdowns and Eric Soler returned a kickoff for a touchdown as the Ramblers held off Meyersdale, 46-34, in a wild WestPAC game on Friday night.

“I’m very happy about the win as far as the seniors are concerned,” Windber coach Phil DeMarco said. “They ended the season at 7-2, and we got the No. 2 seed for the playoffs. That’s a very good thing.

“But, I’m not happy about our defense. They didn’t play very well. We had some timely defensive plays. We recovered a fumble in our own end zone to stop one of their scoring drives. That was real big. But, overall, it was a win and I guess that’s what it was all about.”

Ben Lohr’s 1-yard touchdown run had pulled the Red Raiders (5-4) to within two scores at 34-20. They were about to close the gap even more but Meyersdale fumbled at the 1-yard line and Windber recovered in the end zone.

The Ramblers went 80 yards for a touchdown on the next possession with Cover capping off the drive with a 4-yard run.

From Meyersdale coach Chris Schrock’s vantage point, the fumble was the turning point in the game.

“I don’t want to say the fumble broke our back,” Schrock said. “It was the ensuing Windber score that did us in. That was the difference-maker. We were still playing.”

Meyersdale struck first in the game as quarterback Matt Bittner scored on a 1-yard sneak. Windber answered with a pair of second-quarter touchdown runs by Brandon Ulasky.

Ulasky, who kicked four extra points on the night, scored from 1 and 4 yards out for a 14-7 lead.

Meyersdale closed the deficit as Ian Edwards scored from 3 yards out. The kick failed, leaving the Red Raiders trailing by a point.

Windber answered, as Cover scored just before the end of the half for a 21-13 lead.

Soler broke it open with his 90-yard kick return.

“It was huge, but our kids hung in there,” Schrock said of the return for a touchdown. “They fought.”

DeMarco agreed.

“The 46-34 final score speaks for itself,” he said. “Meyersdale played with a lot of heart.”

Meyersdale’s Ben Lohr, who went over the 1,000-yard mark for the season with a 169-yard effort on Friday, scored from a yard out to get Red Raiders within striking distance.

Kyle Smith added a 4-yard scoring run for Windber while Edwards had a 1-yard touchdown for Meyersdale.

Bittner, who completed 10 of 17 passes for 148 yards, threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Miller. Detrick Peterman had five catches for 112 yards.

Both teams finished with 18 first downs.

“We had 229 yards rushing, 148 passing,” Schrock said. “We outgained them in yardage. Our offense did well and our defense ... We just weren’t able to get in their way. Windber’s single wing was just too much for us.”

The Tribune-Democrat
425 Locust StPO Box
340Johnstown PA