Defensive Run Stop
From the first defensive snap of the game it was apparent that Astoria was going to have a difficult night moving the ball on the ground against our defense. The tone was set when Kyle Hague stepped up from his linebacker position on the first play of the night with a three yard loss. Although they were able to muster some yards when their QB chose to leave the pocket and scramble, the designed run plays went nowhere most of the time.
We pounded out over 300 yards on the ground Friday night led by Calvin Pollard’s 188 yards. Andrew Owens, Jonathan Owen, and Sean Wallace also were able to capitalize on a great effort from our offensive line all night. Our offensive linemen (Tae McClendon, Max Beaudoin, Daemon Fassler, Kyle Hague, Drew Black, Lucas Clark, and Nick Richardson) did a tremendous job of getting off the ball and securing running lanes for our backs.
Vicente Arcadio’s ability to give us an opportunity to convert all of our extra points and grab three points in the red zone continues to be a major asset. Vinny was 7-7 of PAT’s and converted his only field goal attempt of the evening.
Our young men stayed focused all night and never let an Astoria score detract them from the mission at hand. With every punch Astoria threw at us we had an answer. Our young men came into the game believing that they could play with Astoria and proved it on Friday night. Losing a close game like this to your rivals is a taste that is difficult to get out of one’s mouth. Hopefully this is the fuel that burns the fire in the offseason for us to take our program to a higher level.
One of the most exciting parts about taking over the football program has been the community and fan support that our team has witnessed. There is no doubt that our crowd was easily as big as Astoria’s on Friday night and our young men noticed. For our young men to be able to walk around town and hold their heads high is something I am very proud of. I sincerely thank all of you for taking the time to tell our players how proud you are of them and the job that they have done this year.
I think it is safe to say that this rivalry that exists between the schools that are a mere 15 miles apart is back. As much as we might tell our kids this is “just another game”, they know better.
Too Many Yards Through the Air
We struggled in pass coverage all night. When you play a team that has a mobile quarterback that can also throw the ball you have to decide what you are going to take away. We struggled to put pressure on the QB and often allowed him too much time to survey the field and make decisions. The good news is that our young secondary will learn from this experience and only get better. It’s tough to believe that we will only graduate 2-3 defensive starters and will have almost that entire unit back next year.
Once again we were plagued with the turnover bug fumbling the ball once and throwing three interceptions. Fortunately we were able to create five turnovers of our own, but those are things that kill teams and will keep us from moving forward. With our intent to play ball control football, we can’t afford to continue to give teams the ball back with good field position and continue to impose on our defense.
Astoria has bragging rights…but only for 365 days!