SPORTS BLOG - THE WEEK THAT WAS
The bye week.
It probably could not have come at a more opportune time for the Varsity Football Team, especially considering the Knights' disappointing 0-3 start to the 2017 campaign against three of the scholastic scene's heavyweights. And, to their credit, the O'Connell coaching staff made the most of it.
Changes were implemented, both in personnel and tactile decisions. Responsibilities within the staff shifted, with the offensive coordinator and offensive line coaches switching roles – and, in doing so, making a change at the quarterback position and "simplifying things" on the offensive side of the ball. The offensive line was shored up and a counter run play was added to the offensive arsenal. An emphasis on ball security was introduced into the first 10 minutes of practice daily for skill position players and linemen alike the past two weeks.
Change was in the air.
And, as it turns out, that was a good thing. Apparently, it was needed.
The end result: a 42-6 thumping of rival Ireton on Saturday afternoon at BI.
The Knights started fast – scoring on their first possession from scrimmage on a seam route that they had been working on the past two weeks. The team knew that they were opening the game with that play. The timing was perfect as quarterback Aidan McGowan (pictured right) hit Devin Morrow in stride with a strike, and Morrow went 59 yards untouched for the game's first score. Just as it was scripted!
The emphasis on ball security paid dividends from the outset, as the upstart DJO contingent forced five turnovers over the course of four quarters. Most notably, wide receiver Bradley Magee recovered a fumble in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. He came from the opposite side of the field and sprinted into the end zone to record the recovery. That hustle and determination by Magee set the tone for the afternoon.
The Knights came to play!
It is said, practice makes perfect. Never was that more evident than when center Adam Johnson fell on a loose ball moments later after a BI interception was punched out by tight end Nate Smith. Recovery Johnson, Knights ball!
The DJO defense created five turnovers and held the host Cardinals to 3-for-12 on third down efficiency.
It was a great win for Coach Colin Disch and his chargers. "A great team win" as he is quick to inject, with multiple players asked to play two or three positions throughout the course of the game.
Some individual highlights included senior Hakeem Clinton (pictured left) toting the pigskin 11 times for 180 rushing and two touchdowns; QB Aidan McGowan throwing for 180 yards and two TDs on 8-for-13 accuracy in his debut under center; Morrow and Magee each hauling in TD receptions; the trio of Jahmal Banks, Patrick Tessier and Jordon Wilson all making interceptions; and Kim Thompson making the move from QB to making plays on both sides of the ball at wide receiver (two receptions) and cornerback – filling in for the injured Nick Rice at a corner.
Two observations: (1) the need to do a better job protecting the football and (2) a continued emphasis on tackling (which was much-improved), truly finishing tackles.
It was nice to see that much of what the coaching staff and team implemented over the past two weeks came to fruition in a well-deserved victory for the Varsity Football Team.
Ahh! The bye week. Gotta love it!
This is Tommy Orndorff, and that was The Week That Was.