Total Team Effort
Although there were some outstanding individual efforts on Friday night, we played our most complete team game in the last few weeks. From finishing blocks, rallying to the ball carrier, running hard with the ball, and jumping on loose balls, I witnessed everyone's best effort on every play. We discuss selflessness a lot with our young men. Friday night's effort was the epitome of selflessness.
Offensive Line Flat-Out Getting It Done
We challenged our big boys up front to start finishing blocks and putting people on their backs this week. They absolutely rose to the challenge in their most physically dominating effort to date. They blocked to the whistle and created outstanding running lanes for our backs to scoot through all night. Trenton Shaw, Max Beaudoin, Even McCormack, Daemon Fassler, Dylan Townsend, Levon Schehl and Nick Richardson had by far and away their best collective effort of the season. They rose to the challenge and were physical from snap to whistle on every play. This effort will have to be sustained for the remainder of the season to continue advancing in the playoffs.
Defensive Gang Tackling
With the exception of one blown coverage our defense was near flawless all night. What stood out to me on Friday night was the number of red jerseys surrounding the ball carrier on each and every play. It was a rare occurrence to see only one tackler on the ball carrier, rather a group of Gulls pushing the pile back and driving the YC ball carriers back towards their line of scrimmage, and that only on the occasion they even made it back to the line of scrimmage.
Justin Ruiz's pick six changed the momentum in the game and set the table for four more takeaways by the Gull defense. Three fumble recoveries (one caused by Andrew Owens in the open field) and a second interception by Justin Ruiz were just too much for YC to overcome. The turnovers all provided scoring opportunities for the offense and we took advantage of them.
Penalties have been an Achille's heel of ours all season. Friday night we were only penalized twice (two questionable holding calls). Continuing to play clean, disciplined football will also be critical to our success in the post season.
Although they didn't cost us the opportunity to participate in the postseason, they will most certainly come back to bite us in the playoffs. Playoff caliber teams take advantage of opportunities presented to them by their opponents. We can't afford to give those windows of opportunity to the opposition.
It took the offense a while to get clicking, but the defensive score woke everyone up. Our offense is designed to chew up chunks of yardage and burn some clock. We have to do that from the first moment that we touch the ball and impose our will on opposing defenses. Our mindset has to be that we are going to score every time we are in possession of the ball, from the opening kickoff to the final whistle.
One of the tradition's I have brought with me from my Alma Mater is the playoff mustache. As many of you know, I require all of my players to have haircuts and be clean shaven during the season. The tradeoff is the opportunity for our players to grow a mustache during their playoff run. As promised, Friday night put the Gillette Board of Directors on notice that there would be extra blades available in Seaside because all of the boys have started on their 'staches. I am certain there will be some gems and to all you parents out there, I apologize in advance but my plan is that we all have the opportunity to see what five weeks of avoiding a razor will do.