Football: Monday Morning QB - Eastern Guilford
October 28, 2013By Kevin McCloskey of Western Alamance High School
The air was chilly and the skies were clear. Its late October and this is what football feels like in late October! In short... It was a great night for high school football all across the state of NC.
And being close to Halloween, I even saw a Superhero in the house. WA's very own Savannah "Batgirl" Snuffer was ready for Trick-Or-Treat and/or to stay warm. Or maybe she's the Frito Bandito with her cape. You be the judge! :)
Yep... It was cold. Kay & I thought it wise to suit-up in Under Armor from head-to-toe. But with virtually no wind, it was just fine along the sidelines. The only thing that got cold was my right index finger which I had to slip through a hole in my glove in order to push the buttons on my camcorder. But that little discomfort was worth it to be back with the team (after my 1 week "sabbatical") and see the Warriors move to 8-1 on the season.
My concerns spiked up another few notches after I watched the Wildcats march downfield with ease and score on the opening possession to jump on top 7-0 only a few minutes into the contest. However (and this is HUGE).... WA answered the bell. The Warriors put together an impressive drive of their own to tie the score and slow the momentum that appeared to be tipping towards the Wildcats.
Games swing wildly based on momentum and emotion. Had EG held us and gotten the ball back quickly, then who knows what might have happened. So in spite of the fact that it was still midway through the first quarter, I will go down on record as saying that the Warriors opening possession of the game was their most important.
A typical sports phenomenon is that when things don't go your way, its natural for a fan to either:
Fortunately for WA, we were on the positive side of all of these things on Friday evening.
As for the officials.... They called a good game and only blew one call. It occurred early in Q4 on a fumble (ruled a non-fumble) that allowed WA to retain possession on the 2-yard line and ultimately score a TD on the next play. This gave WA a little breathing room by enlarging a precarious 10-point lead to 17. So this week, the only team who can blame the officials is Eastern Guilford.
As for the coaches... We all know how important they are. But sometimes its hard to point out specific/tangible things the coaches do to truly impact the game while it is in progress. Well here 2 specific/tangible examples from Friday night.
1. WA's offensive gameplan. As previously noted, Eastern Guilford has some tremendous athletes. However, what they do not have, is numbers. They lack depth. So a lot of their guys have to go both ways. So what's the right strategy???? Here it is directly from the head guy himself, WA Head Coach, Jeff Snuffer (courtesy of Burlington Times-News):
“They had some guys going both ways (on offense and defense), so we thought a tempo change, really making them work more (would help),” Snuffer said. “Some of their guys were tired and we thought we could fatigue them, line up and get some plays off and it helped us in the second half.”
The Warriors were running a "fast break" offense that would make the Oregon Ducks proud. Fast! Fast! Fast! It was hard to keep up and get in position to shoot the video for the game because of the pace. And it worked... WA eventually wore down EG as the Wildcats were sucking for air late in the game.
2. Coach Mitchener's attention to detail. Late in Q3 after the Wildcats had already blocked one Warrior punt, WA once again faced a similar situation. Sure enough, the Wildcats burst through the line and blocked their second punt in a row and, seemingly, had seized momentum to make a comback. However..... Coach Mitchener was meticulously counting and re-counting the personnel on the field for Eastern Guilford and came up with a "plus one." The Wildcats had an extra player on the punt team. 12 instead of 11. The referees didn't catch it until Coach Mitchener alerted them to this fact.... "They've got 12 on the field, Mr Ref! Mr. Ref! They've got 12!!!"
And just like that, the punt block is negated and the Warriors get another chance. That was a big play. A real big play.
Kudos to the Warrior coaches!
As for "bad luck" (or lack thereof for the Warriors).... The Warriors caught a break when EG's best player, Jarius Morehead (already holding 6 D1 scholarship offers as a junior) got banged up in Q1 and had to sit out rest of the game. Now please don't take this the wrong way.... I hate to see someone get hurt and I hope & pray that its nothing serious, but it did work to WA's advantage that Morehead could not play the rest of the game. This helped neutralize our own personnel loss of Justin Wilson.
Who gets props this week???? THE BIG UGLIES!!!
I don't know for certain about the chicks, but I sure dig the Warrior OL! WA piled up over 500 yards of total offense and about 350 of those yards came on the ground.
They play as a unit and its hard to single out players so I'll just give them all props. And this includes the FB and TE positions. They all work together.
When the OL is clicking, we've got a couple of guys who take advantage of the pathways provided.
Trey McCollum ran for 104 yards (1 TD) to complement 177 yards (77% completion percentage) through the air.
But Donovan Apple was the primary benefactor. YAC ran for 219 yards (which I believe is a career high) and 3 TDs. Those are big-time numbers!
My Fantasy Football team is in trouble this week because of a weakness at the RB position. Do you think I could hack into Yahoo! Fantasy Football and use Don's numbers this week? He'd get me about 40 points!!!!!
I just pulled up the Times-New article for the game and did a search on "Deatherage". Not a single hit. So for those of you who did not attend the game, you wouldn't even know that Brock Deatherage put on a jersey on Friday night. But let me tell you... Brock's name will fill the Warriors stat sheet this week. #14 had another great game. Specifically, his first half was out-stand-ing!
On WA's opening drive, Brock made a very difficult over-the-shoulder grab of a Trey McCollum bomb to setup our first TD. He also caught a few more passes in the flat and ran a couple of jet sweeps. On defense, some very nice solo tackles and an interception. And Brock continues to bring the hammer! On offense and defense, he is delivering some blows!
How about Josh Price??? We take our kicker for granted but the kicking game is anything but automatic. So appreciate Josh's 5-for-5 stat on PATs and his 35-yard FG. At some point this season, Josh may be called upon to kick the winning points. When this happens, I will have high confidence that #26 will get the job done!
Small in stature; big in style. Emmanuel Miles scoop-and-score midway through Q4 put the game out-of-reach and ignited a raucous celebration on the Warriors sideline! Seemingly running for his life, Miles sprinted 37-yards to paydirt to push the WA lead to an insurmountable margin of 38-14. As E-Man said in his post-game interview... He felt like he was running a 4.0 40!
Watch it again! LINK
On the downside.... 2 things stood out to me:
Senior Night is here already. It happens every year, but its always emotional and its always hard to believe that these guys are already seniors! What a great Senior class we have. A lot of the guys have been playing varsity since their freshman/sophomore seasons so we have literally watched them grow up before our eyes.
For Senior Night 2013, WA will host an old nemesis, the NE Guilford Rams. Its a "should win" game for the Warriors. We used to have a good rivalry and some epic battles with NEG. As the Rams have returned to the Midstate 3A Conference, they are struggling a bit this season with a 3-6 overall record with conference wins over Rockingham County, McMichael, and Morehead. Most recently, they've lost back-to-back games against Williams (12-26) and NG (0-49). So they are on a decline while WA is climbing.
We'll get the Rams' best effort, but there's no reason why WA should not be able to savor the taste of victory on Senior Night.
Warrior Nation - Lets show up en masse and let this class know how much we appreciate them!!!! Until Friday night.... Stay warm and Happy Halloween!