Monday Morning Quarterback - Northern Guilford
September 29, 2013By Kevin McCloskey of Western Alamance High School
This is one of those weekends when I'm going to have to write an "Express" version of MMQB. We hit the road bright-and-early on Saturday morning to visit our daughter in Atlanta so my time is limited. And for this... I am thankful.
This is not fun. Nothing is fun after a loss (nor should it be).
I don't know what it was, but something wasn't right on Friday night.
The temperature of the team just wasn't where it needed to be. We were either too hot (as in too pumped up and ready) or too cold (a little nonchalant). I really don't know because if I did, then I would be coaching/playing and not writing articles.
I thought Jamie Billings quote (courtesy of Burlington Times-News) was interesting:
“I think they hit us in the mouth before we did,” said Warriors senior lineman Jamie Billings. “I thought after all these years, we’d be the one to stand up to them.”
I do think that Jamie was dead on regarding them hitting "us in the mouth before we did." This is the first time all season in which I felt that we were out-physical'ed. I know that's not a real word that would get me points in Scrabble. But you know what I mean.
And please don't read more into that than what's intended. All I mean is that, as a collective team, NG was more physical than us. They took it to us like we took it to Williams last week.
Here'a an analogy that comes to mind (and PLEASE excuse me for being "politically incorrect" with this analogy but I'm using it because I think its accurate)....
WA brought a knife to a gunfight.
NG knew what it was going to take to win this game and they brought it. They were the team that, across the board, played with a "chip on their shoulder" and took it to us on every single play. To put things bluntly.... We did not.
So the big question floating around in my head (and probably yours as well) is this...
Is NG really "that" good or did we just not play well?
In all fairness... I think its a little of both.
NG was better than I thought (and that's saying something considering that they came into the game as back-to-back-to-back defending state champs riding a 33 game winning streak). However, I mention this because I really did think that we were better than them this season and that this was "our year" to get the job done. I'm not a betting man, but I would have bet on the Warriors on Friday night.
And as much as I hate it.... I've got to give NG credit... They were very, very, very good. Even without the marquee player (Keenan Allen, Daniel Downing, TJ Logan) that they've had in years past, they are still one of the best teams in the state.
All of this being said about NG, there's still one final thing I want to say regarding "playing with a chip on the shoulder"....
Winning is one thing.
Winning with class is another.
But we simply did not execute; specifically on offense. True... They certainly played a hand in holding us to only 7 points. But we are better than what we showed on Friday night. I felt that we had more/better playmakers than the 2013 Nighthawks.
Unfortunately, however, Britt Smith's 62-yard TD catch was about it for the Warrior offense.
Its hard to believe that aside from that catch, WA's next longest play from scrimmage was a 13-yard catch by Justin Wilson. The Warriors were held to 158 yards of offense and seven first downs. This after putting up over 500 yards last week. The Nighthawks took away our playmakers and consistently harassed sophomore QB Trey McCollum who was on the run much of the evening.
So did they take away our playmakers?
Or did we fail to execute and utilize our weapons?
As noted before.... Probably a little of both.
But even with all of this going against us.... The Warriors were still very much alive and sitting in good position as halftime drew near. Trailing only 10-7, the Warrior D forced a NG punt with just under 4 minutes remaining until the half. It was an excellent chance to obtain the lead (and seize momentum) heading into the locker room.
But the Warriors were a little over-zealous on a punt block attempt and roughed the NG punter thus giving the Nighthawks a new set of downs. A few plays later, #3's (CJ Freeman) elusive 33-yard TD seemed to suck the life out of WA and the huge Warrior Nation crowd. After halftime, WA never seriously threatened again.
Changing directions a little now...
This was THE game in the area (if not the entire state) on Friday evening. We had media people from all over. Ricky, Kay, and I spoke extensively to guys from ncpreps.com who made the trip from Charlotte to cover the game. They felt that (a) it was the biggest game in the state and (b) that WA had a real chance to pull the upset.
And so were you! The stands were full on this beautiful fall evening. It was quite the event!
Who stood out for WA???
TJ Harris! Monster game! I noted in the Warrior Wrapup that this was possibly the best game I have ever seen TJ play. The stats were not available to me but lets just say that TJ had a bunch! Tackles. Tackles for loss. Disruptive behavior in the Nighthawk backfield. They will remember #12!!!!!!!!
Another senior who caught my eye and stood strong... Jamie Billings. Tough as nails. In spite of the score, late in the game Jamie told me that he was still "having fun" out there and just whompin' up on people. Jamie just loves playing football and it shows. He'll never go down without a fight.
Hunter "The Cannon" Lent got his biggest workout of the season punting the football. He was a little shaky early on but really came on strong as the game progressed. If not for his ability to change field position, NG could have put up even more points.
Britt "Bond" Smith did well again playing both ways. His TD was WA's lone score of the evening and Britt also made some nice plays in the defensive secondary including a PBU that looked like it would be a certain TD for the Nighthawks.
Wrapping things up since this is an "Express" edition...
Through 5 games in 2013, WA was on a steady, upward trend. But, like the stock market, there are ups-and-downs during the football season. You've got to survive the dips and rebound otherwise you go into a downward spiral.
And our next one truly is B-I-G.... @Eastern Alamance.
Two Facts Heading Into The Bye Week:
Do me a favor... Listen to the final 15 seconds of the 'Warrior Wrapup' from Friday evening: LINK
IF you agree with me, then show up at Eastern Alamance next Friday (Oct 11th)
During the week off...
Like the "Six Million Dollar Man" (who remembers this TV show from the 70's???), we will come back; BETTER! STRONGER!! FASTER!!!
See you in 2 weeks as the journey continues!