PLYMOUTH – Plymouth’s Rockies are trail blazers of a sort playing in the football regional for the first time in 14 years. Considering the emotion expended in the course of this long season is Plymouth head coach John Barron worried about a let down?
“There was a brief moment early when I thought maybe there would be an emotional lull but right away from Saturday morning after the game our kids have been pretty focused all week long,” said Barron. “It’s been a much more relaxed week – focused and wanting to have that feeling again.”
A win over NorthWood for that title means that the Rockies are battle tested.
“They (NorthWood) didn’t do anything any differently the second time we played and really neither did we,” said Barron. “We made a slight adjustment on our midline play at halft time – the way we were reading because of the way they were defending it – but that was all. I think out kids have learned from that and are ready to get on.”
This week there is more battle testing on the way in one of the state’s top programs in Fort Wayne Dwenger.
“It’s a great program. Our kids know they have to play well and they know we have to stop their running game,” said Barron. “They are going to run the ball seven out of 10 plays. They are very good at it but they are what they are. There is no eye candy, or window dressing like trying to defend NorthWood that makes them easier to prepare for but they are very, very good at what they do.”
“Their quarterback (Blake Podschlne) is really good, They have two very expolosive kids in the offense. They run pistol, with two backs but it is power. They are going to run power, and iso. They throw the ball to the tight end and we haven’t faced a real receiving tight end all year. Some have played with one but they play with a true tight end with traditional sets.”
So far as personnel Dwenger has plenty of talent.
“(Amaun Clark) is a really explosive player, he has Bailey Gessinger (from NorthWood) like speed and (Zachary Norton) is simply the fastest player on the field. He can flat out fly,” said Barron. “They are very well coached and they have a lot of rich tradition. Our kids are going to have to play very, very hard. We have to find a way to move the football, running the ball.”
Defensively Dwenger is just as impressive.
“They play a version of a 4-3, two high safeties but they play really hard press coverage on the corners so our wide receivers are going to have to figure out a way to get off the ball, but they haven’t faced a team that runs the option the way we do,” said Barron. “I’m hoping that bodes well for us as the game goes on.
“I think the longer the game goes and we give our chance to win the game in the second half, I have to believe that’s in our favor. We’ve really been a second half team and that’s not because of anything we do at half time, I think sometimes it’s takes our kids a little bit of time to get into a rhythm. It takes a little bit of time to figure out the speed and physicality. If we don’t give up anything silly early we’ll settle in.”