Saturday, November 03, 2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

TCN vs. Minster Preview

Turnovers.  That will be the factor that decides the game.  If it is a wet and sloppy night that figures in to Norths plans.  The team has shown that it can take the ball away and put it in the endzone when their opponent makes mistakes.  North has a small line and they are playing Minster, a team that likes to run the ball.  So if it is dry, it could be a long night for the Panthers if they are getting pushed off the line of scrimmage.

On the other hand, North has shown that they can pass the ball. So if they can keep Minster off balance with a combination of the pass and run then they can be competitive.  Getting a lead, stopping the run, and forcing them to pass to catch up have got to be part of the North strategy.  Still they will have their hands full with a powerful MAC team from the strongest small school league in the state.  The game will have to played to perfection and with no mistakes for North to pull off the upset.

Dixie vs. Covington - preview

How I see the Dixie - Covington playoff game.

Scoring early figures into each teams success.  Dixie has had a tendency to spiral down if they get behind early. So if they get down by a score or two it could put them out of the game.  But if Dixie can go up a score or two early it will be interesting to see how Covington reacts. They haven't had to play from behind hardly at all this season.  Do they panic, or do they come back.

Dixie has also had a tendency to give up the big play on defense.  They will need to shutdown the run and force Covington to pass - something the Bucc's haven't had to do a lot this year.  Weather will be a factor.  A dry field opens up Dixie's passing game and makes it harder for Covington to crowd the line of scrimmage to stop the run.

Dixie has had to play bigger schools(D4) almost the whole season, so they are used to tough opponents.  Covington has not had to break a sweat in any of their CCC games. So Dixie comes in more battle tested.

Coaching - Dixie is under first year head coach Watson and is in their first playoffs, while Covington has Miller who has been in the playoffs each season. So Covington's coaches and players are used to the playoff atmosphere, while Dixie is in it for the first time.

Having said all that I am looking forward to good game on Saturday.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Miserable Night for Dixie

more game pictures here

It was a miserable night all the way around for the Dixie Greyhounds.  Pouring rain, cold temperatures, a tough Carlisle running game and turnovers combined to make for a difficult night for the Hounds.  Although both teams had their share of fumbles on another slippery Friday night, Dixie was a -2 on the give away/take away for the night. A week ago Dixie had been the benefactors of opponents fumbles on a wet field,  this week the rain had had the opposite effect.  And the fumbles, combined with penalties seemed to happen at the worst possible times.  Giving Carlisle generous field position which they took advantage of all night long.

The Dixie defense had quite a chess match with the Carlisle offense.  Carlisle runs a sophisticated offense and calls audibles from the line of scrimmage.  So Dixie would show one defensive set, wait for the audible call, then reset before the snap. So a lot of shifting and gamesmanship as the coaches tried to outwit one another.  The Dixie defense was effective at times, but when you have to defend a short field, it is tough to keep the other team out of the endzone.

At first it looked like the conditions would favor Dixie once again as Carlisle coughed up the ball on their opening drive.  An alert Justin Hudson scooped up the loose ball and ran 32 yards for a touchdown.   After exchanging fumbles and sacks, Carlisle was the next to score and tied the game in the second quarter.   Dixie muffed several kickoffs that night and working with a short field, Carlisle was able to take advantage.  So after their first TD, Carlisle quickly scored a second time after the mishandled kick.  As the half was winding down, Carlisle kicked a 22 yard field to go up 17-7 going into the locker room.

Hudson got another fumble recovery for  Dixie in the third quarter, but was not able to advance the ball this time.  So there was some brief hope for a second half surge. But the Dixie offense just couldn’t get into gear - for the night they managed just 123 yards.   And they were losing the battle of field position, not netting much yardage at all on their punts.  After another Carlisle score Dixie again muffed the kickoff and once again Carlisle started a drive inside the Dixie 30.  But Justin Bartrum was able to cover a Carlisle fumble to end this threat.  Dixie put together a nice drive in the fourth quarter but a 4th and 11 sack ended this drive at the Carlisle 35.  Carlisle’s final score was set up by a Dixie fumble where Kaleb Larison picked up the loose ball and ran 12 yards for the touchdown.  It was a 31-7 loss.

Ironically although Carlisle won the game and a share of the Buckeye Division championship with West Milton, they did not have enough points to make the playoffs.  Meanwhile Dixie (7-3 on the season) caught a break and even with the loss, they will be playing against Covington (10-0) at Covington in the first round of the playoffs Saturday night.

“Carlisle came out and had a great game plan”, stated coach Watson,  “They just rammed it down our throats.  Our defense responded for the most part, but the rain really hurt us and the offense kept putting us in a bad spot.  Our offense is built on side to side speed and the rain and the mud along with a good Carlisle defensive game plan combined to take that away from us. “

On Covington, “They are a very good team, very disciplined. Since coach Miller has been there, they have been in the playoffs every single year.  They represent the CCC very well.  We are excited to have our first ever playoff game.  It would have been great to win the Buckeye league on Friday but unfortunately that did not happen.  We did end up with the next best thing – we got a playoff bid.  We are looking forward to making the trip next Saturday to Covington.” 

Congratulations to Tri-County North who also made the playoffs - for the second year in a row. They beat Ansonia 55-14 to cement their place in the district top 8.  The team will journey to Minster on Friday night for a 7:30 kickoff.  The CCC placed 4 teams in the playoffs this season, which I believe to be a league first.  Bradford and Miami East will also be playing in November.  Best wishes for these local teams as they prepare for week 11.