PLYMOUTH – Plymouth’s Rockies have another tough contest as they hit the road to take on 10th-ranked (Class 4A) Northridge in an Northern Lakes Conference contest. 

The Rockies’ woes so far have left the coaching staff looking for answers. 

“Everything is strange it seems like,” said Plymouth head coach John Barron. “Normally when a team is struggling on the scoreboard it’s because they are struggling upfront and that’s just not our problem. Our guys up front are playing their rear ends off. They are talented and they are doing the things that they have to do.

“Defensively, the problem that we had (last week versus Warsaw) wasn’t the core of the offense. We defended. It wasn’t the quarterback. It wasn’t the fullback. It was the pitch that we struggled with. If you can hold an option fullback under 120-150 yards you’ve really probably done your job. We gave up too much on the perimeter.” 

Even at that Plymouth was within striking distance for nearly the entire 48 minutes. 

“It’s one of those deals where if we can convert the first or second possession of the second half when it’s still 14-7 I really believe that it’s a different ballgame,” said Barron. “It’s that concept of finding a way to win and we just aren’t there yet. Nobody is feeling sorry for us. We play against really good teams. We’ve learned something in every loss. We are going to keep plugging away.” 

One thing they learned was moving Jake Reichard back to the receiver spot gave the offense a shot in the arm. 

“It’s putting Jake (Reichard) where he needs to be,” said Barron. “He’s a very good player. He does so many good things when he has the ball in his hands as a receiver. He’s a scorer, not a point guard. It kind of calmed everybody down. 

“We had a guy (Zach Masterson) who distributed the ball. We got the ball to Jake, we got the ball to (Devante) Garcia, we got the ball to (Michael) Sheely. We got the ball to other parts of the offense and that’s really important when you run the kind of offense that we run.” 

The game Friday will be the first that the Raiders will play in their brand new state-of-the-art football facility after they spent the first two weeks on the road. 

“They (Northridge) wear you out on defense,” said Barron. “They haven’t given up a point this year. They have a different offensive coordinator. They’ve been a tight end oriented two-back team. Now they haven’t played with a tight end, but they have three receivers in the game. The guy that makes them go is the smallest guy on the field and it’s another Hooley (Logan),” said Barron. “They list him at 5’7″ and 140, and he is an assassin. He’s so competitive. He’s tenacious and fearless. He has a guy right next to him, (Dominic) Crowder, who is like a guard back there. You can tell they’ve played some football together. They are very physical. They sprinkle in some eye candy with some jet motion. They will throw some hitches and slants, but they want to run the ball.” 

It is defense however, where the Raiders make their living. 

“It’s a Tom Wogoman defense,” said Barron. “They are so well-coached and fundamentally sound. I can see why they haven’t been beaten yet.”