Side lines: Back to one and done
Posted: 11/09/2012 at 1:15 am
By: Bill Beck
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Marian's Michael Whitfield gets past St Joseph's Casey Coleman on his way to the Knight's first touchdown 11/2/2012. Marian defeated St. Joseph's 21-7 to win the sectional championship. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen)
St. Joseph's Michael Madden is wrapped up by Marian's Dominic Ravotto and Joseph Ernst 11/2/2012. Marian defeated St. Joseph's 21-7 to win the sectional championship. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen)
Wawasee's Gabe Rhodes (43) tries to tackle Concord's Larry Smith (45) as he runs with the ball in the Class 4A sectional championship at Concord in Dunlap on Friday, Nov. 2, 2012. (Truth Photo By Evey Wilson)
Concord's Larry Smith (45) runs with the ball in the Class 4A sectional championship at Concord in Dunlap on Friday, Nov. 2, 2012. (Truth Photo By Evey Wilson)
Concord's DuWhan Alford (5) runs with the ball in the Class 4A sectional championship against Wawasee at Concord in Dunlap on Friday, Nov. 2, 2012. (Truth Photo By Evey Wilson)
The Minutemen had been to the final game the last four years, but hadn't won since 2010.
For the Knights, it was their first title since 1999.
The teams held up their trophies, took dozens of photos, posted them all to Facebook and gladly accepted handshakes, congratulations and pats on the back.
By the next morning, it was barely a memory.
“It was pretty stark on Saturday,” said Reggie Glon, Marian's veteran head coach. “We told them one team is going to have another week and the other team is going to be done with high school careers.”
And with that statement, Glon said he put the trophy away.
Concord, no doubt, did the very same thing.
On Tuesday, when the Minutemen finished practice in near darkness, head coach Tim Dawson reminded them of the gameplan.
He used words like “opportunity” and “goal.”
From here on out, you're not just competing against teams, you're playing a champion.
Heritage and Dwenger earned trophies, too, so now is not the time to be satisfied.
“We need to be on our game,” said Minutemen senior Tyrone Olenczuk.
Said Concord's Franko House, a remarkable four-year starter, “We just have to stay disciplined in our assignments.”
Assignment football. Where have we heard that before?
Ironically, in three games involving area schools, an option run game will be featured — Marian's “Air Force” style scheme in its game with Heritage, Dwenger's shotgun veer in the Concord game and Mishawaka's midline attack going against Hammond Morton.
About the time you hit the regional or semistate, teams find themselves preparing for something they don't always face.
“They run a split veer out of the shotgun, so we've not seen that,” Dawson said. “It's a whole new look.
“They're not fancy, but we have to play a lot better defensively.”
Heritage will give the Knights plenty to handle as well.
A week ago, Jimtown blitzed itself silly, yet couldn't reach quarterback Conner Sheehan, who by the way, has tossed 10 touchdowns in the last two games.
Marian has to generate pressure — somehow — and cover better deep.
And the Knights have to run the ball.
No secrets here.
“We have to take what they give us and create some seams with the inside run game,” said Glon, “and make them pay for putting 10 guys in the box.”
This level of tournament is all about adjustments and momentum.
Teams that forge a hot hand have the inside track to the next round.
Teams that fail to react and negate a hot hand will end up taking a miserable long walk to the lockerroom or suffering through a lonely bus ride home.
“We've come out with intensity every game (of the tournament). It's a championship game from here on out,” House said. “And we know the other team will come out hard. We have to match them and exceed.”
The Knights know eliminating St. Joe, their most bitter rival, was a tremendous hurdle, but it's not enough, they say.
“Achieving one goal is not what we want,” said Vince Ravotto, Marian's QB. “We want regional, we want semistate ... our chemistry is not going to allow us to lose on Friday.”
Satisfaction in sport usually leads to doom.
Playoff hunger can never level off once you advance. Appetities have to be fueled throughout the week.
Friday means fresh meat.
Bill Beck can be contacted at email@example.com