Victory that Ended in a Tie

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A Great Victory that Ended in a Tie

This weekend we opened up our season against a really big and physical team at their house. This team was undefeated and won the league last year.  I was glad we played them the first game of this season because you don’t want to play these kind of teams when they get into rhythm. This team was really physical and had a really big size advantage. They loved to pound the ball inside to their bruising full back type running back. They also had a strong running back that is an excellent athlete that they loved to run outside and on reverses.  I will not lie, I came into this game a little concerned because our team played pretty soft for most of the preseason.

This tie was the first time since they began their football playing careers that  these kids did not lose. This game really helped build their confidence and hopefully we can really build off of this game.  We are in the toughest division in the league so every week is going to be a tough game.   Here is what made this game special:

Our first time on defense the other team popped a big play that went 50 yards for a touchdown. Our containment broke down and we got caught chasing the ball carrier laterally, leaving us out of position and not able to contain the reverse.  This kid broke a couple tackles out in the open field, it was a nicely executed play to a really strong athlete that runs well in space. The kids did not let that phase them, they showed really strong resilience.  We then received the ball and got a decent return to about their 45 yard line. We drove down and scored on rocket sweep, tying the game at 7 at the end of the first quarter.  Start of the second quarter we did a nice job of holding them to 3 and out and got the ball back. We then drove the ball down the field and scored. It was a really long and strategic drive that eat up a lot of clock. Our shotgun/pistol  wing t jet series really shredded  the defense. At half time we held a 13-7 lead. I was very disappointed that we were not able to convert the extra point. This half was a physical and back and forth half.

The second half was one of the craziest I have ever been a part of in my coaching career.  We kicked the ball off to start the second half and gave up a return for a touchdown. Our game plan was to kick the football off low and away from their best player. The other team did a slick move- once our kicker started to run to kick the ball the returner, which is their best player ran over to where we kicked it and was able to pick it up and return it.  This gave them a huge momentum boost. I was a little bit disappointed with our kicker because he kicked it too deep, allowing that kid to run over and field it.  We also practiced all week -kicking away, and we still didn’t execute it properly.  Our coverage on that play was just pathetic.  Our errors on one special teams play cost us the win. On a positive note, we made a nice play to stop the extra point, keeping it a tie game.

We then received the ball and drove the entire field again, absolutely killing them with jet sweep and counter.  We got to their 20 yard line and we called  our post/wheel play off of jet sweep action and our player dropped a touchdown pass that stalled our drive.  The third quarter was basically our offense possessing the ball and driving down the field.

The fourth quarter was a huge defensive battle. We were able to set up our post/corner off of jet sweep action and we again dropped what was going to be a  touchdown pass. I was a bit disappointed because one of the most positives things coming into this season was how well we were able to catch the football during the preseason. We still had a ton of passing yards yesterday, just dropped the ones that would of went for a TD. On the youth football level, catching the football consistently can sometimes be a problem.  We have a potent passing attack to put it mildly.  We honestly could of had 27 points this game, but made a couple of errors and had some drops.

Post/Corner off Jet Motion:

They played a 62 defense with the wide ends and defensive tackles. We absolutely shredded this defense.  They had a huge problem covering our pass plays off of play action.

Our rocket sweep was even more explosive than the jet sweep. We scored both our TDs with our rocket  sweep. We did a fantastic job with our perimeter blocking and hand-off/ rocket toss exchanges.  The great thing about rocket sweep is that you can get outside for big yardage without having lighting fast players.  We had a ton of yards rushing and we moved the ball the entire game pretty well but couldn’t finish a few drives.  We were also really thin in the backfield, missing our second best overall player and starting running back (injured in a scrimmage couldn’t play this week).

Defensively, we played our hearts out. This team was big, strong, fast and physical and we stuck in there. There were some instances when they really beat us up.  They had some success early running the ball up the middle, but we were able to make a few adjustments at the half to slow their inside game down. Our 53 Swarming Defense did an excellent job in run stopping and pass defense.  Our linebackers played well for the most part, although we did miss some tackles. Our tackling at time was not very good, especially in the open field.  We need to work a little bit more on our defensive pursuit to the football also. The relentless swarm we want is not quite there yet.

We gave up a big reverse for a touchdown because our defensive end got caught in and the kid made a nice block to seal him. This was an excellent executed play that they put a lot of time into for sure.  Our contain was little bit shaky early on, but the second half of the game we did an excellent job.  Our pass coverage and goal-line defense was fantastic! We covered the flats and did a nice job defending the deep throws.  We caused 2 fumbles also, but were not able to recover them (very disappointing).

Positives:

  • Played with effort-attitude and toughness. We hung in there with a physically superior opponent.
  • Stopped them 3 times inside our own 20.
  •  Wing T offense was lights out,  moved the ball consistently setting each play up.
  • Pass coverage.
  • Kids handled sudden change and played with resilience.
  • Goal-line defense, they has first and goal on our own 4 yard line and we held them!
  • Kick return was not bad.
  • We punted the ball with no issues or return yards given up.
  • Jet and rocket sweep worked well.
  • Not many turnovers or penalties.
  • Coaching staff coached their butts off.
  • Post/wheel and post/ corner, killed them!
  • First year QB and RBs played hard and did well.

Negatives:

  • Caused only 1 turnover, 1 interception on the last play of the game.
  • Our power play (off-tackle) did not do much the entire game. Some of it was poor execution and some of it was because they were really strong and big upfront.
  • Pass blocking could get better. Our QB got hit more than he should have.
  • Gave up a few big plays.
  • Gave up a reverse for a touchdown.
  • Did not finish drives with touchdowns- ton of yardage, but only 13 points, not going to win games.
  • Dropped passes.
  • Containment broke down a few times.
  • Have to do a better job of getting off blocks and getting to the football.
  • Gave up a kick return for a touchdown, completely unacceptable. Completely disgusted about that.

Even though this was a tie, my players played their hearts out the entire game. The kids kept competing through adversity against a physical opponent.  These kids had never had a winning season in their careers, some never even won a game.  I am so proud of our players and coaches. This game made a statement, that if the kids belief in themselves they can compete against any team. I am proud of my coaching staff for believing we can win, or at least compete in this game.  The offense worked well, coaches coached hard, and the players responded. Our defense came up with humongous stops in the fourth quarter. We still have a ton of work to do and we are really far away from getting were we need to be.  But I am happy to say the kids finally competed and are starting to come out of their shell.  My goal is get these kids some wins for the first time in their career.  This was one of my proudest games I have ever coached in and I have been coaching for 12 years.

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