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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Final Tune up for South - Shawnee

J. C. Tilton

Twin Valley South and Preble Shawnee scrimmaged this past Friday – both teams final tune up before the regular season. First impression was the sea of black on the Shawnee sideline and the sparse number of red jerseys on the South sideline. Shawnee has over 50 players out this season, the most in a long time – maybe the most ever. South does have 29 players on the roster, but due to injury and other factors they were only able to dress 22.

Shawnee’s first year coach Stacy is featuring a spread offense and running it with no huddle. While South featured the double wing and wishbone sets on offense. The teams exchanged scores in the early going. But Shawnee was able to pull ahead and outscore South 35-21. Penalties were an Achilles heel for Shawnee; while South passed sparingly and although they completed some long passes, there were three interceptions.

Shawnee’s quarterback Begley was a bright spot – showing versatility with the pass and run. South’s running attack looked pretty solid. There are several backs that can break a long run at any time. I also thought that the team got fatigued later in the scrimmage which may have been a factor in Shawnee’s ability to score late and put some distance between them and TVS. Lots of guys going both ways and a younger team – not as much stamina and size with just 3 seniors.

One positive for TVS, they did make adjustments on defense. But Shawnee had a lot of arrows in their arsenal. South finds a way to stop the bubble screen, they go to a quarterback keeper, stop that by crowding the line and the Arrows start throwing deep.

TVS first year Head Coach Shondlemeyer had this to say about his team, “Offensively we have speed and can score points this year. Defensively, we are not as strong as we need to be. On defense you have to get off blocks and that boils down to the weight room. And we are not as strong as we need to be, that will be focus for the off season and right now – we will still continue to work on getting stronger. We will be outstrengthed and outsized defensively. And we saw a little bit of lack of effort in the second part of the second quarter and I was not pleased with that. We have to get over that, we have to learn that you have to give it everything.”

“We do return a lot of our linemen. Jesse Koeller at offensive guard. AJ Bantz at center. Skylar Reckers returns from last year, he will be an excellent player, but he didn’t start playing until the end of the season. Tyler Leach played a lot of defense, but now he is an option fullback and will be taking a lot of hits. Steve Balthis has a tremendous amount of speed and again is making the transition from defense to offense. Roy Wysong did not play last year, but I am impressed with him at split end. All those guys have to grow up fast and get better fast.”

Shawnee Head Coach Stacy was asked for his thoughts, “ One positive is that on offense we moved the ball up and down the field very well. We were our own worst enemy when we put the ball on the ground and gave up the turnover. We played very hard as a team. We made some mistakes on defense – but we knew that would happen. Most of our focus has been on offense. We got burned a few times, but that let us know what we need to work on.”

“We have nice wide outs, slot backs, running backs and a couple of nice quarterbacks – so we are equipped with some nice skilled players. Begley and Kyle Lettner are two key returning starters. Danny Dillon can fill in at quarterback. Willie Barnhill is another receiver that we are looking for big things from. I think that we will become more and more explosive as we come together as a team.”

Finally Coach Stacy was asked to look ahead to opening day, “We need to be perfect – don’t jump offsides, don’t put the ball on the ground, catch the ball, run all 11 guys to the all on defense. I’m looking for hustle and fundamentals – knowing what you are supposed to do. “

Next Friday Shawnee hosts National Trail while South journeys to Dixie and will be the game of the week.

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