Sunday, August 29, 2010
Thoughts After Week 1
It's nice to start the year with a win, isn't it? Hopefully we'll continue to reap the benefits of the win long into the season in the way of playoff points. Here's to Northwest going 9-1.
Thanks to Mike Guster for the picture of Turner's punt return (click to see full size). Photo treatment by yours truly.
That was a typical Orrville 4th quarter, but one that seemed very unlikely after Northwest took that 20-17 lead. Our offense was sputtering and our defense looked tired. But all we needed was one big play, and it happened. A testament to the kids and to never giving up.
I thought the special teams play was outstanding, and more so when you consider it was Week 1 and usually special teams play is the last thing to round into form. Northwest had obvious troubles with snaps and extra points, that cost the field position and eventually points. From Dylan Tanner's perfect field goals and extra points, Matt Davis' blocked punt and Drew Brenner's great punting (two punts dropped inside Northwest's 20-yard line), it was a real good night on special teams. And then there was the punt return heroics of Stewart Turner.
It deserves it's own mention...it was one of those game-changing, head-turning "Wow" plays that essentially won the game for the Riders. That was sheer speed and strength. A huge block by Tre Simpson on the back side sprung the play wide open, and then it was Turner's track speed from there. He's a special athlete and we're glad to have him in red and white.
Speaking of red and white, I thought the new jerseys looked great. Love the fact that they're basically the same, just a better fit. I know the kids appreciate them too. We'll see the new red jerseys in action this week against the Titans.
Can you believe it's been 10 years since we've started a season 2-0? It has. That year we beat Cleveland East and then Dover. Ever since it's been two starts of 0-2 and seven starts of 1-1. A win over Triway would get us to 2-0. Easier said than done.
Freshmen Joel Zook and Trevor Summers rotated at "will" or weakside linebacker and performed very well for being their first game at the high school (nevermind varsity) level. Northwest knew they were out there and directed plays and passes their way, but each more than held their own. I believe Summers recovered a fumble and Zook made a huge sack on Northwest's last gasp possession.
Coach D Comments
I'm covering football games for Orrviews again this year, as I did last year, but this was my first shot at talking to Coach Davault afterward for quotes to go with the game article. He was very accommodating and complimentary towards the efforts of this site. It was a big thrill to hear that from him.
Like I mentioned above, I really hope Northwest wins the next 9 games on their schedule, that will only help us in terms of playoff points, but I think they may struggle if they don't find a running game...soon. Ronnie Beers is very talented and quick, but it didn't translate into rushing yards as Orrville held the Indians to minus yards rushing on the night. Of course, when QB Nick Riley throws the ball 50 times, it's obvious their goal is to pass the ball.
It was a common theme to all standing down on the field level that the surface at Northwest's Smilek Stadium left plenty to be desired. It was very chunky and uneven. I guess that's to be expected in week 9, but not week 1. It looked like it hadn't been mowed in a week.
Did you notice the artwork on the bleacher wrap as you entered the stadium? It's something that you're starting to see more often at stadiums....and I just found out why. The wraps are done by a local company called Imagine This, and they call the product the "Gameday Bleacher Jersey." Very neat product...very aestheticly pleasing, but not a lot of function, other than "branding" and that's a tough one to justify in terms of public or private dollars.
If you've ever driven by Tuslaw's home field, you've seen it. Here's a link to some examples on their site. And if you go to the "Visualizer" page, one of their template stadiums is our own Red Rider Stadium. So have fun with that. Maybe someday. But I'd rather have a new scoreboard first.
For only having numbers in the 40's, I thought the band sounded good. Like seeing the "7 Nation Army" song stay for another year. The players, students and even some adults get into it, and that's a good thing. I hope that song returns over the loudspeakers this week, but if not, the band needs to keep it going.
Crowd and 7pm Starts
Thought we had a nice crowd one the game got going, but up until 10 minutes or so before kickoff, it was still pretty sparse on both sides. I can't help but think it's those 7pm starts that lead to late-arriving crowds. Never been a fan of starting at 7pm, even though I understand why. Games take longer so you have to start earlier....but it always feels rushed. It will be worse when we have to trek to Lexington later this year.
Let's hand out some skulls
Tre Simpson - First one goes to Tre for his night on offense (100+ all-purpose yards, 1 rushing TD, 1 receiving TD) and for the block on Stewart Turner's punt return TD. Still don't think we've seen the best of Tre...and that's scary to think about.
Dylan Tanner - After taking the high road and not picking a score for the game in my preview, I thought to myself..."wouldn't it be funny if we won on the leg of the new kicker, something like 24-21?" Final was 24-22. Nonetheless, Tanner was a perfect 4-for-4 (3 PAT's, 1 FG) in his Orrville football debut. Just a junior, we may have found a kicker for the next two years.
Drew Brenner - Usually mentioned for his ability at wide receiver, Drew gets the skull this week for his punting. Two beauties in the 2nd half pinned Northwest inside their own 20 and gave the Riders the edge in field position. His interception late in the 4th and headsy play to take a safety helped preserve the win.
Stewart Turner - The first of many skulls for the Wooster transfer for his effort on the 70 yd. punt return for the game winning touchdown. I think we can drop the "Wooster transfer" prefix when we talk about him now...he's officially a Red Rider.
The entire Red Rider defense - It took the Northwest passing attack 50 attempts to get it's 300 yards on the night, but they were held to minus yards rushing and their last 2 possessions of the night ended with an interception and a fumble.
How our Opponents Fared
Not bad for the other 9 opponents on our schedule. Triway, Copley, Lexington, Senior, Ashland and Wooster all won. Clear Fork, West Holmes & Madison lost
Nothing more needs said. It's time to get a little revenge and protect our undefeated record against Triway at our house. This one has all the makings of a classic.