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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Dixie: Senior laden team

First year coach Sam Watson will be leading the Dixie Greyhound football team this fall. But since he has been an assistant coach at Dixie the past couple of seasons – he is not new to the players.  The team will still be running a spread offense as they have done in the past and a hard-nosed, tough defense.  And the team returns key starters at the skill positions on offense.  That makes things easier for a first year head coach – a familiar system and experienced players.

The team has a decent crop of seniors - and a total of 8 on offense. 4 year starter senior Luke Bowling will be the quarterback. Coach Watson, ”Luke is a very good talent for us, he is definitely a big asset”.   Travis Wright, another senior, will play receiver and defensive back. Fellow senior Ryan Jordan, who set the single game rushing record at Dixie last season will be back as well on offense. Coach Watson, “Ryan is a big plus for us he is a big play maker on both offense and defense”.  On defense,  Matt Isaacs yet another senior is back, he got post season accolades last year as linebacker.  Coach Watson, “Isaacs was second in the area in tackles last year – he is definitely the leader on defense”.

Another key player who has not played with Dixie for the last few years is Solomon Shepard.  He is back at Dixie for his senior year.  Coach Watson, “We are happy to have him back – he is a good lineman, we are expecting him to contribute both on offense and defense. He is a good asset to have. And I expect all my kids to be ready on Friday nights , we are a small school and they need to be ready if I need to put them in.”
Coach Watson first commented on the North scrimmage: ‘Some of the things I liked about it were the we played as a unit and we played together, the team camaraderie,  it was a positive experience.  We do need to get better at running our stuff, and there is a lot of fine tuning we need to do.  But I think we will accomplish that in short order. “

 On expectations: “They know what we expect and they actually have high expectations for themselves.  The expectations are that we will be competitive game in and game out every single week.  We are going to play hard nonstop and give everything we have every Friday night. “

On TVS: “I expect South to be a very competitive program. Their coach has done a very good job of getting kids out and getting the program up and running. I expect very tough completion between them and us.  We have similar style offenses and both schools have tough hard-nosed defenses that are very aggressive.  But it will be tough for the defenses to stop the offenses because they both execute very well.  I can’t praise South enough, they are doing a great job with that program  - getting it back on its feet and moving the right direction.

Last season the team was 4-6, but depending on how the team gels behind Watson the team should be better. The Greyhounds will host TVS on Friday August 24. 

TVS - Reaching for Perfection

Twin Valley South is preparing for their second year under head coach Lance Engleka.  They are looking forward to improving on last season’s 3-7 record.   South will be leaning on the following players to lead their effort: Senior Michael Burke at linebacker and wide out.  Wes Cole sophomore quarterback and defensive back, who started last year as a freshman as a receiver and defensive back. Junior linemen MJ Randolph and Cody Clayton.  And Darren Brown, junior receiver and defensive back will be a prominent contributor.

For the second season in a row, the team has over 40 players on their roster – so enthusiasm for the program stays high.  This pays dividends in that the players have to compete for positions and so they have to work harder to earn a starting slot.  Additionally, this means the school can field a reserve team and give the underclassmen playing time.  Coach Engleka hinted that he was hoping to be able to platoon more players and have less players going both ways.

I was able to catch up to coach Engleka this past week and talk to him about the first scrimmage of the preseason.  “Well we only do 2 scrimmages and so this was New Miami’s second scrimmage – our first.  We came out kind of flat – I didn’t think that we were as physical as what we needed to be.  And they were more physical than what we were.  Then we took a break after doing some series of ten.  We got on them, told them that needed to respond and pick it up.  So after the break, we responded and picked it up against them.   We were now the more physical team and did what we wanted to do.  The offense was able to execute, and the defense flew to the ball.”

After speaking to coach Engleka about the scrimmage, I found out the starting quarter back, Wes Cole was out with a finger injury that happened before the scrimmage and that they had to play the  entire scrimmage with the freshman back up calling the signals.

On the second year as head coach, “Last season we laid down the foundation for the expectations for this team.  And so now it has been a year- long progression where every day, every drill we are reinforcing those expectations.  The kids are now familiar with us and know what we expect.  They know our offense and know our defense.  So it is now just another step on the ladder.  We do things the right way and do it perfect every time.  And if we don’t, we go over it and over it until it is perfect. “

On Dixie – South’s first game, “There first scrimmage was against North.  It was a 14-14 tie.  I know that North has a solid program and that tells me that Dixie has a solid team.  We know that they have a number of good players coming back – their quarterback, Luke Bowling.  They a have a good wide receiver and running back coming back.  Those are three really good players.  And I know they will have big kids in the interior line.  So it will be a challenge for us – they are a bigger school and the last couple of years they have had their way with South.  But our kids believe in what we are doing and I think it will be one heck of a match up.

Rounding out Souths staff are the following  assistant coaches: Clint Shepard who will handle the offensive and defensive lines.  Pat Shockey will coach the receivers and defensive backs.  Dave Maddox will be the defensive coordinator.  South opens their season on Friday, August 24 at Dixie.