Saturday, November 21, 2009

Stone Bridge returns to region finals

By Dan Sousa
Source: Special to the Loudoun Times-Mirror

For the Stone Bridge High football team, revenge was a side dish Nov. 20 as the Bulldogs turned the tables on Madison, the only team to defeat them this season.

The main course for the host Bulldogs was a complete performance on both sides of the ball, which led to a dominating 27-8 victory over the Warhawks in the Northern Region Division 5 semifinals.

And the game wasn't even as close as the final score indicates. Stone Bridge (11-1) did not allow Madison (7-5) to cross midfield until a final drive against the Bulldog second defensive unit. Stone Bridge junior Marcus Harris rushed for more than a 100 yards in the first half and finished with 171 yards on 28 carries, breaking the school's single-season rushing mark along the way.

"We have just been waiting to play well on both sides of the ball and special teams and this was the night we finally put it together," Stone Bridge coach Mickey Thompson said. "I don't think we can play any better than we what we played tonight."

All of this adds up to an incredible eighth consecutive trip to the regional finals. The Bulldogs will host Robert E. Lee for the region championship Nov. 27 at 1:30 p.m.

"Our season starts in the playoffs. A lot of other teams, it's a big thing to make the playoffs. But it's normal here," Stone Bridge senior lineman Mitchell Freitas said. "We've done this before, it's nothing new. We've come alive."

While Madison had defeated Stone Bridge a month ago, 28-14, by controlling the line of scrimmage, it was a different story Friday.

Stone Bridge, which was running a spread offense half the time in the first meeting, stuck exclusively to the single-wing and Harris, off a great angled snap from center Kyle Wrenn, cut back the fifth Bulldog snap of the night and was into the secondary before most people on the field could find him and he sprinted untouched 56 yards for the first score.

Later in the game, Harris broke Devon Brown's school record of 1,745 rushing yards in a season. Harris now has 1,768 and counting.

"It feels real good for my name to be put up there with some of the top running backs that have come out of here," Harris said.

While it was a different Stone Bridge offense Friday, it was also a different Stone Bridge defense as the Bulldogs bunched the line of scrimmage and stuffed the Warhawk running attack.

After picking up two first downs on the opening drive of the game, Madison failed to move the chains on its next seven possessions and didn't get another first down until less than five minutes remained in the game and Stone Bridge leading comfortably, 27-0.

With the run game mired, the Warhawks couldn't pass against the Bulldogs, going just 4 of 15 for 24 yards and Stone Bridge corner Dexter Rogers intercepted a pass.

Kyle Gouveia added 70 yards rushing and two short touchdown dives, including one on the first drive of the second half to make it 21-0. Abdul Shaban added two field goals to pad the lead.

Northern Region Division 5 semifinal
Stone Bridge 27, Madison 8

First Quarter
SB: Harris 56 run (Shaban kick) 5:49 (drive: 5 plays, 82 yards, 2:12)

Second Quarter
SB: Gouveia 1 run (Shaban kick) 10:11 (drive: 11 plays, 55 yards, 5:48)

Third Quarter
SB: Gouveia 1 run (Shaban kick) 8:51 (drive: 8 plays, 60 yards, 3:09)
SB: Shaban 24 field goal 0:57 (drive: 14 plays, 73 yards, 6:43)

Fourth Quarter
SB: Shaban 35 field goal 5:27 (drive: 13 plays, 52 yards, 6:22)
M: Roland 32 run (Powers from Roland) 1:51 (drive: 10 plays, 66 yards, 3:36)

Inidividual leaders

Rushing: M-Roland (5 for 41 yards, TD); SB-Harris (28 for 171 yards, TD), Gouveia (13 for 70 yards, 2 TD)

Passing: M-Roland (4 of 15 for 24 yards, Int.); SB-Rody (2 of 3 for 34 yards)

Receiving: M-Powers (2 for 19 yards); SB-Harris (1 for 20 yards), White (1 for 14 yards)


Friday, November 20, 2009

Appomattox (8-2) at Clarke County (10-0)

By Jeff Nations --
When: Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
Where: Wilbur M. Feltner Stadium, Berryville

Who to watch: Appomattox -- Kenny Scott, senior, QB (53-for-103 passing for 866 yards, seven TDs, 955 rushing yards); Joe Reed, junior, RB (827 yards, 12 TDs); Neal Thomas, senior, WR (21 catches, 502 yards, four TDs); Josh Wilson, sophomore, RB (190 yards, three TDs); M.J. Pennix, senior, MLB; Clarke County -- Sam Shiley, senior, RB/DB (1,675 yards, 33 TDs, three Ints); Zach Shiley, senior, QB/DB (36-for-52 passing for 720 yards, five TDs); Grant Shaw, junior, RB/DB (697 yards, nine TDs, 53 tackles); Jeremy Rhoads, senior, RB/LB (119 yards, two TDs, 156 tackles, five sacks); Caleb Hartsook, senior, TE/DE (70 tackles, two sacks).

When Clarke County football coach Chris Parker thinks of Appomattox, he just can't help that the school brings to mind one of his best football memories.

That came last year, when Parker's Eagles downed visiting Appomattox 27-19 for Clarke County's first playoff win since 1990 and the first-ever under Parker. It didn't come easy, and Parker expects it won't be any easier in Saturday's playoff rematch at Wilbur M. Feltner Stadium in Berryville.

The matchup promises to be a treat for fans numbed by the ever-popular spread and wing-T offenses so prevalent in high school football. The Eagles run a single-wing attack that has positively devastated opposing defenses this season, while the Raiders employ their speed to run an option-based offense incorporating both mid-line and triple option elements.

Appomattox, the Dogwood District regular-season champion, is seeking its first playoff win since 1979.

The Eagles will again have their hands full in trying to contain Appomattox senior quarterback Kenny Scott, a capable passer (866 passing yards, seven TDs) and an explosive runner (955 rushing yards, 13 TDs). Scott, along with junior running back Joe Reed (827 rushing yards, 12 TDs), is the focus of the Raiders' offense.

"They have a lot of speed, they're very athletic, and they have playmakers," Parker said. "They can throw it, but that's not really what they want to do.

"Speed's their game. They'll run plays off-tackle, but if stuff's clogged up they'll bounce it outside."

Clarke County's offense hasn't been close to slowed this season, as senior running back Sam Shiley (1,675 rushing yards, 33 TDs) and twin brother Zach Shiley -- the Eagles' quarterback who has passed for 720 yards -- have developed into an unstoppable combination. Clarke County's single-wing has rolled up 3,478 rushing yards this season, despite an ever-shifting approach by opposing defenses.

"We see all kinds of stuff," Parker said. "[Appomattox has] been running an odd-front with a 3-5 or, when they bring in the outside backers, a 5-3 look. I would imagine we'll see a lot of people in the box."
The Northern Virginia Daily - -152 N. Holliday St., Strasburg, Va. 22657


Conemaugh Township, Windber to play for District 5 title

The Tribune-Democrat

Phil DeMarco has spent all season trying to improve his team’s defense.

The Windber coach has tried different looks and different players, but with his Ramblers set to face rival Conemaugh Township in the District 5 Class A championship game at Berlin tonight, he’s done tinkering.

“I’m not even going to mention defense,” DeMarco said Wednesday night. “We’ve got to find a way to win the game.”

Mostly, the Ramblers (8-2) have done that with their high-powered single-wing offense. Last week they rallied to beat Berlin 47-44 as Brandon Ulasky, Jarid Cover and Kyle Smith each ran for 100 yards. Cover scored the final touchdown with 13 seconds remaining to cap the comeback.

“I told them last week after the game ‘You’re unbelieveable,’ ” DeMarco recalled. “They said ‘Is that a good thing or a bad thing?’ I said, ‘That’s a good thing.’ ”

Conemaugh Township (9-1) is the top seed in District 5 and beat Windber 49-41 in Week 2. In that game the Ramblers trailed 35-14 at the half before coming within a foot of a touchdown that would have given them a chance to tie the game.

Indians coach Sam Zambanini thinks his defense has improved since then, giving up more than one touchdown only once in the past six games.

“We’ve evolved into more of a defensive team than we were early,” Zambanini said. “Each week we’ve gotten better defensively.”

The Indians will face a big test from a Windber team that has averaged 40.8 points per game. The Ramblers do it with a diverse offense. Cover has a team-high 1,436 yards and 21 touchdowns on the ground while Brandon Ulasky has run for

687 yards and 12 touchdowns and caught

35 passes for another 557 yards and eight touchdowns. Quarterback Erick Strapple has thrown for 901 yards and 10 touchdowns against just three interceptions.

“That’s the essence of the single wing,” DeMarco said. “We spread the wealth in this offense.”

Even so, Zambanini isn’t convinced that Windber and Conemaugh Township will light up the scoreboard like they did early in the season.

“I think some people might be surprised,” he said. “A lot of people might see it as a shootout, high-scoring affair, track meet – whatever you want to call it – but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if it turns out to be a defensive game.”

Conemaugh Township has an explosive offense of its own, as the Indians have averaged 37.2 points per game for the season. Seth Zaman leads The Tribune-Democrat’s coverage area with 1,798 rushing yards, and the senior has 24 touchdowns on the ground, but he’s not the Indians’ only threat.

“They’re not a one-man team,” DeMarco said. “They can throw the football – I think they proved that in the first game.”

Quarterback George Bivens has thrown for 1,016 yards and 10 touchdowns this season against just three interceptions. His top target is Kyle Zambanini, who has 461 yards, but Zaman (232 yards) and Keith Myers (205) are also threats in the passing game.

Fullback Brett Byers has rushed for 405 yards and eight touchdowns and also is the lead blocker for Zaman. Center Mike Lysic leads an offensive line that has impressed DeMarco.

“You can’t underestimate their guys up front,” DeMarco said.

Conemaugh Township’s players probably won’t underestimate Windber, either. Last year the Indians beat the Ramblers in the regular season before falling to them in the district championship game.

Coach Zambanini hasn’t let them forget it.

“That’s got to be one of the motivating factors for our guys, especially since we have a lot of guys that were in that game last year,” he said. “Hopefully they have the memory of that game. That could be part of their motivation.”

The Tribune-Democrat
425 Locust St
PO Box 340
Johnstown PA 15907-0340


Thursday, November 19, 2009

T-Bolts take aim at next level

Rye tests powerful Akron in Class 1A football semifinals.


It took just four minutes and seven plays last weekend for Jeff Bailey and his Rye High School football team to know they had arrived.

Now they're looking for more.

That four minutes last weekend was the time it took the T-Bolts to score on their opening drive against Burlington en route to a 38-13 victory over the always-powerful Cougars in the Class 1A state quarterfinals. Now, undefeated Rye moves to the next level against Akron, the three-time defending state champions who come in with a 10-1 record. Game time is 1 p.m. at Rye.

Bailey realized Rye could beat Burlington as the opening drive unfolded. "On that first series, when we were able to move the ball that way," Bailey said about pounding the ball downfield from the Rye 29.

Now the Bolts are back in the semifinals at home, the same position they were in a year ago when they lost 27-0 to Wray, the eventual runner-up to Akron in the 1A title game. They have seven senior standouts who remember losing a year ago as well as a solid cast of underclassmen.

Both teams play old-fashioned, pound-it-out football with the Rams lining up in the single wing, an offense they have perfected over decades. Bailey called coach Brian Christensen and his predecessor Carl Rice, who is still an assistant, two real masters of the formation.

Rye last saw Akron early in the 2005 playoffs but Bailey said Rye's offense is very similar.

"We've told the kids that with the exception of one player and who gets the snap, it's almost the same - the same kind of spacing on the line, the same wedge play we run.

"Akron's bigger than us. Not at every position but overall," Bailey said. "We've got some speed on them."

That speed comes in the form of senior twins Jake and Luke Van, a quick compliment to the pounding of fullback tandem Chaz Guerrero and Billy Jack Forell. Jake Van has rushed for 1,802 yards in 11 games while Luke Van has accounted for 1,065 yards.

Forell leads the Bolts on defense at linebacker with 65 tackles and Jake Van has 45 stops at defensive back.

Akron is led by Jourdan Hottinger with 1,679 yards rushing out of what Bailey characterized as a wingback position.

"They can also pass the ball some," Bailey said. "But, if we can get them in the position to where they have to pass, we're doing something right."

Although the Vans’ breakway speed allows Rye to score quickly, both teams typically grind out yardage and playing from behind is a struggle.

In the other semifinal, 10-1 Limon plays at 11-0 Yuma, also at 1 p.m. Saturday. It was Yuma that snapped a 46-game Akron winning streak 17-14 on Oct. 23.

The Pueblo Chieftain
Pueblo Co


Wildcat offense infiltrates every level of football

November 19, 2009
By Roy Lang III

Despite the fact it's derived from football's most rudimentary roots, the mere mention of the Wildcat offense can send elite defensive coordinators into convulsions.

When's it coming? Who's going to have the football? Run or Pass?

In less than five years, the Wildcat has climbed the ladder: high school to college to the pinnacle of the sport — the NFL. It's created problems for defenses at every stop.

But is the offensive set made popular under Houston Nutt at the University of Arkansas really a "gimmick?" Will it take a resting place next to the Run-and-Shoot or can it sustain long-term success?

Opinions are varied. But, for now, the Wildcat is a viable weapon.

"It's a schematical nightmare," said former LSU defensive coordinator Bradley Dale Peveto, now the head coach at Northwestern State University.

The Wildcat (teams often change the "cat" to fit its school's nickname) is an offense used to capitalize on mismatches created by shifting skill players around the field. A running back/wide receiver normally lines up in the quarterback position out of the shotgun formation.

A second skill player is sent in motion to force the defense to respect the outside threat. The Wildcat "quarterback," after having a moment to process the defense, has the option of handing the ball to the man in motion as he passes, running the ball himself, or throwing a pass.

Offenses have evened the numbers game.

"You're really playing back to 11-on-11 rather than the quarterback under center who's not a runner," New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton said. "It allows teams to run the ball effectively against some down-safety defenses."

Peveto's nightmares came from watching Darren McFadden and Felix Jones gash LSU's defense with Arkansas. Payton got a good dose of the Wildcat against Miami last month when the Saints traveled to play the Dolphins — the NFL team that has used the Wildcat most effectively at the top level.

Under Nutt, Arkansas put the Wildcat on the map. However, in reality, Nutt just offered his seal of approval in 2006. The idea came from brother Danny, through a former high school coach and new Razorbacks assistant Gus Malzahn, who ran it at Shiloh Christian and Springdale (Ark.).

McFadden and Jones both ran for more than 1,000 yards in 2006 as opponents scrambled to find an answer.

"It makes you defend 12 people," Peveto said. "Most of the time you have to defend the run, but you're also having to defend the spread passing game as well. If that (Wildcat quarterback) can throw it at all, it can give you fits."

McFadden (182) and Jones (137) combined for 319 rushing yards against Peveto's Tigers in 2006 and McFadden was a perfect 2-for-2 throwing the ball.

In a 2007 upset of No. 1 LSU, McFadden rumbled for 206 yards on the ground and added a passing touchdown. Jones and Peyton Hillis combined to run for another 174 yards as Arkansas tallied more than 500 yards of total offense at Tiger Stadium.

"I should have got on the offensive side of the ball when I had the chance years ago," Peveto would later say.

But why does the Wildcat work at every level while the option hasn't really been considered in the NFL?

"You didn't see the option because people invest so much in their quarterbacks; in the option game, the quarterback gets hit," Peveto said. "In the Wildcat, it's actually a tailback or a big skill guy in that quarterback position. You're not having to put your quarterback at risk."

Even though the Wildcat isn't an every-down offense, defenses can't look at it that way.

"At LSU, we spent 75 percent of our week with the problems the (Wildcat) posed and 25 percent on what they did the other 75 percent of the game," Peveto said. "They are forcing you to spend 75 percent of your time worrying about something they are going to do only 25 percent of the game. But you have to, because it can be a long, long night as they are finding out in the NFL."

The Miami Dolphins welcomed the Wildcat offense to the NFL in glorious fashion last season. The Dolphins were a 1-15 squad from 2007 and 0-2 to start the 2008 campaign when quarterbacks coach David Lee — a former Arkansas assistant — suggested first-year head coach Tony Sparano take a chance with his toy.

The Dolphins, using running back Ronnie Brown as the Wildcat quarterback, stunned the vaunted New England Patriots — a 16-0 team in the regular season the year before — with a 38-13 triumph at Foxborough, Mass.

Brown scored four rushing touchdowns and added a fifth through the air to end New England's 21-game regular season winning streak. The Dolphins won for the second time in 22 games.

The Wildcat become a staple with Brown and Ricky Williams and the unpredictable Dolphins went on to capture the AFC East at 11-5.

Naturally, fellow NFL teams have since dabbled in the Wildcat, but Miami remains the NFL team that employs it most often.

"From our end, the guys take great pride in it," Sparano said. "It's something that we've been able to put our arms around here. It's a small part of what we do. It's not everything we do, but it certainly gets a lot of attention."

Sparano laughs at the Wildcat's detractors, who believe it's a fad and not "real" football.

"What I've learned in this league is that yards are hard to come by, so are wins," he said. "Anyway we can get yards and get closer to wins, we're going to do it. I really could care less about what anyone else has to say."

The Dolphins have no plans to curb the Wildcat, although they may be hampered by Brown's recent injury.

"We had no idea about how people were defending it and we still don't have any idea how people defend it, meaning every week, there's something different," Sparano said. "We're trying to stay ahead of the curve."

Meanwhile Nutt, now in his second year at Ole Miss, continues to employ the Wildcat. Maybe he didn't invent the Wildcat, but he will forever be linked with it.

"A lot of times we are given way too much credit for that formation," Nutt said. "That formation was way back in the single wing days with Pop Warner and all those guys."

The Wildcat, like any offense, will need some tweaks and some variations to remain effective, but Peveto said it isn't going anywhere. Thankfully, he doesn't have any hair left to lose.

"I don't think it's a fad; I think it's here to stay," he said.

Shreveport Times
222 Lake Street
Shreveport, LA 71101


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Bulldogs return to basics, march into region semis

By Dan Sousa
Source: Special to the Loudoun Times-Mirror

FALLS CHURCH -- Stone Bridge High School football fans might have thought the drive was long to a Nov. 13 “home” playoff game, moved to Marshall High School’s turf field because of unplayable field conditions in Ashburn.

But that was nothing compared to the Bulldogs' opening series.

Just a week after rushing for 300 yards in a regular-season ending 45-22 win over South Lakes, Stone Bridge took the field again against the Seahawks Friday night. And like last time, they ran the ball again ... and again ... and again.

Stone Bridge (10-1) ran the ball a bone-crunching 17 consecutive plays – all runs by junior running back Marcus Harris (25 carries for 123 yards on the night) and junior quarterback Kyle Gouveia (13-74) on a marathon drive that ate up more than eight minutes and put the Bulldogs on the path to a 28-7 victory.

The win set up an intriguing Northern Region Division 5 semifinal at Stone Bridge Nov. 20 at 7:30 p.m. as the Bulldogs will host Madison, a 31-10 winner over Edison Friday.

The Warhawks (7-4) are the only team to defeat the Bulldogs this season, a 28-14 win in Ashburn, making them the first Liberty District squad to ever beat Stone Bridge since the school opened a decade ago.

In that loss, Stone Bridge was sporting a spread offense more than half the night and rushed for just 58 total yards while putting the ball in the air 19 times. Since that game, Stone Bridge has returned to basics and stuck on the ground with its patented single-wing attack.

“We are finally just running the offense that we have run for 10 years,” Stone Bridge coach Mickey Thompson said. “We are not flashy.”

Indeed, there wasn’t much flash to Stone Bridge’s game plan Friday.

South Lakes tackled much better than the previous week when Harris busted loose for several long runs and tallied four touchdowns. The Bulldog offensive line, however, got enough push to pick up a constant five or six yards a rush with Harris and Gouveia combining for 38 carries.

A Stone Bridge fumble early in the second quarter and a couple of nice runs by South Lakes' Ja’Juan Jones and Darius Smith tied the game at 7-7 with 11:38 to go before the half. But the Bulldogs came right back, and now with South Lakes crowding the line of scrimmage to stop the run, the passing option was open.

Stone Bridge’s other quarterback, junior Brian Rody, still recovering from an injury in the Madison loss, was able to hit senior Michael Kajut on a crossing pattern that picked up 41 yards before the Seahawks could haul Kajut down at the South Lakes' 11-yard line. Three plays later, Rody found senior Taylor Lambke in the end zone to put Stone Bridge ahead, 14-7.

Penalties and a sack prevented Stone Bridge from adding to its lead late in the first half and so it was just a 14-7 advantage at the break.

“I was really concerned at halftime,” Thompson said.

Even though South Lakes received the ball first to open the second half, Stone Bridge’s defense had the Seahawk offense, especially its passing game to junior receiver Sean Price, bottled up.

While Price had hauled in eight balls the previous week for 127 of South Lakes’ 181 yards via the air, he managed only two catches for 20 yards Friday under a constant double team watch.

Stone Bridge’s 6-foot-7 junior defensive lineman Rob Burns stepped up big with several sacks and tackles for losses in the second half. The pressure that Burns and his teammates brought on senior quarterback Shawn Rana was a major reason the Seahawks couldn’t complete passes.

“It is the greatest feeling ever when you sack the quarterback,” Burns said. “South Lakes prepared well, they did block differently tonight, but we made adjustments at halftime.”

After South Lakes went three-and-out to start the third quarter, Stone Bridge moved the ball 64 yards to go ahead 21-7, with Gouveia picking up six yards on fourth-and-six from the Seahawk 32 to keep the drive alive. Harris scored for the second time on the night, from seven yards out.

Gouveia added a three-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter to close out the scoring.

Stone Bridge 28, South Lakes 7

First Quarter
SB - Harris 2 run (Shaban kick) 3:40 (drive: 17 plays, 84 yards, 8:20)

Second Quarter
SL - Jones 15 run (Belt kick) 11:38 (drive: 3 plays, 55 yards, 0:41)
SB - Lambke 8 pass from Rody (Shaban kick) 8:30 (drive: 7 plays, 65 yards, 3:08)

Third Quarter
SB - Harris 7 run (Shaban kick) 6:23 (drive: 8 plays, 64 yards, 3:33)
SB - Gouveia 3 run (Shaban kick) 0:28 (drive: 5 plays, 25 yards, 2:32)

South Lakes: Jones 9-67, Smith 10-46, Sanford 1-2, Khan 1-(-5), Rana 4-(-8). Total 25-102.
Stone Bridge: Harris 25-123, Gouveia 13-74, Rody 4-23, Burns 3-17, Thomas 3-13, Forbes 1-7, Rankin-Bell 2-5, Rositano 2-2. Total 53-263.

South Lakes: Rana 2-11-0 20.
Stone Bridge: Rody 4-6-0 82.

South Lakes: Price 2-20.
Stone Bridge: Lambke 3-41, Kajut 1-41.

The Loudoun Times Mirror
9 E. Market Street, Leesburg, VA 20176