Focused from the Get-Go: Special Teams Play
Our kick return team had failed all season to find pay dirt. With a little challenge to our kids this week (and the promise of pizza for a score) it didn't take them long to cash in. We knew from film that YC would be susceptible to giving up a score with some key blocks on our side. With a great effort up front from the first five blockers and some key blocks by Danny Leary, Junior Ruiz, Nick Richardson, and Jonathan Owen, our own Calvin Pollard (3 touchdowns on the night) cleanly fielded the ball and headed north for 90 yards untouched to set the tone for the rest of the game.
In addition to returning a kickoff for a touchdown our punt return team also made a big play. As a bad snap sailed over the YC punter's head, Kyver Hamilton burst through the interior line and drilled the punter as he attempted to get the ball away. Andrew Owens scooped up the ball and scooted into the end zone for one of his three scores on the night as we took a 28 point lead with 7 seconds to go in the half.
Vinny Arcadio was his precision self once again converting 8-9 PAT's. The big guys up front did a great job protecting him and furthering his bid for Cowapa League Kicker of the Year. Vinny's season had him completing 28-32 kicks…an incredible season for him and a huge luxury for us as a team.
It had been some time since we were able to throw the ball successfully in a game and I felt like our offense came full circle on Friday. Behind strong efforts from Kevin LaCoste (5-5, 1 touchdown pass, 1 touchdown run) and Zach Hofmann (2-6) we were able to loosen the defense up and realize our first 100 yard receiving game of the season by any Seaside receiver in Aaron Tadei (who also had a touchdown in the contest). The two QB's combined for 150 passing yards and had no interceptions. Incorporating a strong passing capability will be a necessity for us moving forward as teams will most certainly look to take our effective and efficient running game away next season.
Field conditions compromised our ability to put as much pressure on the YC quarterback as we would have liked. Our kids' motors, however, never relented and they kept after the football all night. When YC realized they wouldn't be successful running the ball against our stingy D (side note: our defense had the lowest point total scored against them all season of all the Cowapa Leage teams…and this *includes* Astoria who forfeited three games) they had to put the ball in the air just as we had hoped. Both Kevin LaCoste and Andrew Owens (a pick six) got in on the action with interceptions on the night.
It took us 9 weeks to clean up this part of our game but i'm happy that our team realized what we can do if we don't turn the ball over. No fumbles and no interceptions will be key to our success next year.
Everybody Gets a Turn
Everyone that traveled with us on Friday night had the opportunity to play a considerable amount in Friday night's game. It was great to see our younger kids get to play in a substantial part of the game and wet their whistle for things to come.
As we continue to mature and gain playing experience this will happen less often, but it's still a part of our scheme that needs to be cleaned up. If we are going to continue to assert pressure on opposing QB's we will have to be certain of the coverages we are in and not improvise. Despite YC scoring early on a blown coverage, it didn't make a difference in the final outcome.
My wife, who has washed the team's uniforms all year, is now a bigger fan of a field turf surface then ever before. We are both of the opinion that we should really evaluate the rule that dictates visiting teams must wear light colored uniforms when the surface is natural grass. Fortunately muddy uniforms after such a huge win are more than bearable…winning never stinks.