PLYMOUTH – A crushing loss on the road to end the season is the backdrop to a rematch that will decide the fate of Plymouth’s Rockies for the 2017 season as they welcome East Noble (7-2) to the Rockpile for the second time this year this time for a first round playoff game with a 7 p.m. kickoff.
“I talked to (the team) about our losses and just a couple of plays in each game and how things change – if we get the ball in after that 16 play drive against Northridge, or the 14 play drive against Concord, or the 16 play drive last week at NorthWood, or in the first five minutes last week when we had the ball on the 29 to start,” said Plymouth coach John Barron. “I wonder how that changes those games? I wanted them to think about that.”
“I just want to see us play with confidence. We are really close to being a team that’s one of the best teams in the state. I want them to understand that if we execute some things on both sides of the ball a lot of things go our way.”
A lot of Plymouth’s concern’s center around one particular player on the East Noble side of the ball.
“They are an offensive minded team. Andrew McCormick on offense is why I say that,” said Barron. “He’s a great defensive player too but he doesn’t control the game on that side of the ball the way he does when the ball is in his hands. McCormick had three turnovers himself the first time we played and you can’t count on that happening again.”
“You don’t stop Andrew McCormick. He’s a division one player,” said Barron. “You have to contain him but you can’t let him run all over you either. I think he can hurt us more with his legs than his arm – and obviously he’s thrown it over our heads more than once too the past two seasons, but I think I’d rather see him try to throw it over our heads because if he’s running for 250 yards we aren’t getting him off the field.”
There will be some differences in the Knights on Friday, they are mostly subtle and philosophical.
“They’ve hit their stride running the ball,” said Barron. “(McCormick) is their leading rusher but they have (Kaiden Harshberger) that can get loose and (Griffen Dafforn-Koebler) is more of a full back type kid. They’ve changed some personnel on the offensive line. Their offensive line has gotten better from the first time we’ve played them. I’m not sure how (East Noble coach) Luke (Amstutz) is going to attack us. I have a feeling it will be differently this time.”
Barron’s concerns center on an offense that has sputtered off and on since a loss to Northridge early in the season.
“Our offense has gotten stagnant,” said Barron. “But let’s be honest, and give some credit too. There are good coaches on the other sidelines too and they work as hard and watch as much film as we do and they make adjustments to what they see us do.”
“We have to score points,” said Barron. “We have to possess the ball. If we have the ball and we’re controlling the tempo of the game that’s great but we have to score. Hopefully we have some wrinkles in there and we can get that accomplished.”
“If we’re going to go down we’re going to go down swinging,” said Barron. “I don’t want any second guesses after the game. If we’re going to get beat they are going to beat our best. We just have to score points. I don’t care how we do it, I don’t care who scores. We are in this to win this game. We are who we are let’s do what we do well.”