PLYMOUTH — Last Friday’s win in round one of playoff action for 11th-ranked (Class 4A) Plymouth was one that the Rockies were in solid control of from the opening kick and any concerns were dealt with early in the week.
“The areas of concern from last Friday were things that we haven’t normally had a concern over and that had a lot to do with what Kankakee Valley was doing,” said Plymouth coach John Barron. “We had some poor communication on the back end with our safeties and we were hesitant in being run defenders as well.”
“We turned the ball over more than we normally do, but we had two pick-sixes which kind of negates the other stuff,” he said. “Any win right now is a good win because you are extending your season.”
It was a week for some juggling of the starting lineup for various reasons with Jake Reichard getting his first snaps at quarterback and maybe even more importantly two new starters in the defensive front that were give the Rockies even more options moving forward.
“We had some guys up front that stepped in and played really well. Taylor Judd stepped in and played really well,” said Barron. “He’s a guy that started as an edge player and we moved him around to tackle and he was really impressive up front.”
“Reggie Vasquez has a different kind of gear and skill set than any of our other guys up front,” said Barron. “Similar to (Isaac) Navejar he’s quick, but Reggie is a little more explosive. Those two really caught our eye. We know they can play and that will really help us right now.”
They will need all hands on deck for the coming challenge with South Bend St. Joseph coming to Plymouth with a 2-8 record that is deceptive.
“This St. Joe team presents a lot of different issues,” said Barron. “You turn on the film and you let it play two things stand out. I don’t think they really know what they want to do on offense. They have two Driscoll brothers (John and Patrick). The running back looks like he’s the fastest guy on the field and saying that they don’t know what they want to do isn’t a slam, it’s just that they do so many things well.”
“Secondly, all you have to do is go down the list of who they’ve played,” said Barron. “It’s death row. There is no exhale. You realize the different types of schemes that they had to defend and realize they also have to move the ball. I see a team that looks like they could run the ball any time they want. I know they’ve put a lot of points on the board the past two weeks.”
Five of the Indians’ losses have come at the hands of top five schools in their respective classes. The three others are to CMA, Penn, and Northridge. The past two weeks, against South Bend Adams and Logansport, St. Joe has scored 98 points.
“Their personnel is pretty good,” said Barron. “They are explosive. They are a lot like us. They have a lot of guys who can just house it. They are in empty (no running back) sets a lot, which means we are going to have to defend five wideouts a lot. They throw the ball to their running back a lot which is different for us.”
“Their linebackers are good. They tackle well. We are going to have to find a way to turn them over,” he said. “We need to find ways to continue to do what we do well. We’ve come up against some secondaries that have frustrated us at times. Teams are starting to take away certain routes. We have to attack what they are doing to us.”