Week 2 and 3 Updates

I’m behind on game updates – let’s catch up on games 2 and 3.

Game 2 – Tigard

We played a very strong Tigard team a week ago and came up short, losing the special teams battle as they made all of their PATs and we managed only one 1-point conversion. We played in a downpour but it didn’t stop their passing game. They have a very strong QB and #1 receiver. We had a chance on a final drive into their redzone but couldn’t get it into the end zone.

Game 3 – Lake Oswego

The last time I played a Lake Oswego game was three years ago in the championship (we lost). This game ended up being a one-sided affair as we got up 30-0 by early in the 2nd quarter, with two pick six interceptions putting the game away. This allowed us to play a bunch of kids in different positions in the 2nd half but we had to ensure that we didn’t score again to avoid a score run-up forfeit. I really wish they added a running clock in situations like this as the entire half was a bit torturous for all of us.

This Week

We are going to focus on special teams (kickoff and kick return) and a new pass-oriented formation and series.

2010 Season – Week 1 Report

Football season is in full swing which can make it hard to keep up with posts here. I’ll try to at least do a weekly update on how our prior game went and my thinking going into our next game.

Last Saturday we opened our season against a team from Clackamas that surprised me in several ways. I’m always nervous going into the first game – very little scouting information so very little to coach the kids on to get prepared. I had faced the same coach 3 years ago and had some film from his team from last season and saw very similar sets – a spread shotgun offense with and without a tight-end, with a small amount of single-tight I formation. Their defense looked to run a mix of odd and even fronts. They had a stud tailback that was keeping me up at night.

What we saw on Saturday was very different. They ran primarily a double-tight ace-back formation with a small amount of I in the second half. They mixed mostly an inside running game with some toss-sweeps and passing. Fortunately our defense adapted well, holding them to negative yards in the first half and garnering 3 interceptions. I was extremely pleased with our pass coverage out of the 3-5-3 defense, especially the early recognition by our linebackers.

While the Clackamas defense was very tough on the front line, we had some solid execution on offense and some great fakes and misdirection which allowed us to get up quickly in the first half. It also doesn’t hurt to be very deep in talented running backs. We dominated on special teams, blocking two punts (one for a safety) and pinning them very deep on a few of our kickoffs.

We had the luxury in the second half of playing a lot of kids on defense in different positions (including two our 200 lb + kids at linebacker). In summary, this wasn’t a great test of the team but a nice way to start the season.

Some improvements I’d like to see in the coming game this weekend:

  • Stronger offensive line execution in our power running game. This consists of mostly down-blocking with double-teams at the point of attack.

  • Better distribution of the ball on offense. Our carries were weighted heavily towards the FB last game and we need to consistently incorporate our entire backfield into the rotation.

  • On the special teams front, we are going to kick PATs regardless of outcome. We gave up a bit too quickly last week. In our league kicked PATs are worth 2 points.

Down 6 Players, Heavy Rains Expected

Today we play a tough Liberty team at Sherwood High School at 5pm. It has been raining hard all day and we are down to just 19 players due to illness that is running rampant around here, mostly swine flu. Rather than wring our hands and fret, we are looking at this as opportunity to focus on the basics and establish a strong inside running game. We’ve added a few more plays that give us more looks with our running backs running between the tackles. Teams that are scouting us are probably looking at a lot of narrow sweep action (our wing-T offense rarely runs wide sweeps). We feel that we’ve got the offensive line to get some strong push up the middle and we’ll see if this pans out today.

Days like this also give a lot of opportunities to the players playing to get more carries, more tackles, and to experience new positions. I just hope those on the field have a safe game and stay injury-free, for their sake and the team’s.

Game 5 result: Sherwood 58, Aloha 28

We continued our unbeaten streak last Saturday vs Aloha Gold in a game that felt much closer than the final score. Aloha brought a very strong passing attack to the game that exposed some weaknesses in our usual staunch defense. Aloha passed for 284 yards on mostly long passes and we had some significant breakdowns in secondary pass coverage. Needless to say this was a key focus during the week – a great opportunity for the kids to learn and get pushed a bit.

Our offense continued its dominance with 9 touchdowns on 9 drives – no turnovers, no punts, no turnover on downs. It doesn’t hurt having an elite back, but teams have learned that they can’t just focus on a single running back. We had five other backs with total yardage of at least 25 yards in the game.

We spent the week putting in a new defensive formation to help with stopping an inside running game and a wedge-oriented offense as well as adding a new safety blitz. Most of our time was spent on some new offensive plays and formations that we will gradually roll out over our final three regular season games. These games are also a chance for us to get as many kids involved in the offense carrying the ball as possible. We especially work hard to get kids touchdown opportunities.

Saturday we play Liberty JV at Sherwood High School, 5pm. Looks like rain is in store for us so we’ll work hard a balanced inside and outside running game.

Game 4 result: Sherwood 32, SEI 0

We kept our season perfect with a resounding 32-0 win on Saturday. Execution was strong but far from perfect, but we were up by 32 by half time and had to keep the dogs in check so as to not run up the score. Our opponent demonstrated an extremely high level of sportsmanship (both players and coaches), and our kids remarked that they had fun chatting across the line of scrimmage with the other players. Everyone was loose and having fun.

Our offensive execution is getting tighter. We stick to a core set of plays that we want to execute well and don’t do anything too tricky. We also have some great athletes who can compensate for mistakes by others, and that never hurts.

I commend Jim on his offensive strategy and spreading the ball around. We’ve had seven different players score touchdowns from offensive plays, and I believe we’ll add at least 3-4 more players to that list before the year is done.

Some stats from the game:

  • Our offense gained 312 yards in the first half before we had to dial it down. Nine different players carried the ball, three different players caught passes.

  • Our defense allowed only 140 yards and 6 first downs. In the second half we had kids playing all over the place (D-line playing linebacker, linebackers playing CB, etc.).

  • Twelve different players contributed with tackles.

The rest of our schedule gets tougher, including a challenging matchup against a strong (and well coached) Aloha team this weekend.