Let's discuss it all and look forward to the regional final versus those pesky Comets from Genoa.
Picture from the Lorain Morning Journal. Article and more pics here.
Full gallery of game pics here, courtesy of Rod Dilyard Photography.
Total Team Effort
So encouraged to see how the team came together and truly played as one unit. Fans seems to have been waiting all year for this team to "gel" and I think the "gel" has happened. Ever since the Clear Fork loss, it's been a very enjoyable team to watch. Good teams rise to the occasion, and this team is good and is playing their best ball of the season when it matters most.
Senior RB/DB Tre Simpson took a little heat for his comments in The Daily Record about playing with "swag." Mostly from outsiders, but I'm sure some Orrville folks didn't like it either, many called it arrogant and cocky. My thought was that at this point in the season, I want my kids to be confident. I also said that talk is cheap and let's do our talking on the field in the way we play.
Well guess what....Tre can talk about "swag" all he wants. It's not cocky if you can back it up...and that's exactly what Tre did against a likely All-Ohioan in Elyria Catholic's Zach Rogers. Rogers was simply not a factor at all because of the physical defense Tre played on him.
I was wrong in assuming that Stewart Turner would guard Rogers...that's why I'm here and not a coach.
Gratuitous Back Patting
Back to my game preview post....I think I nailed our approach on offense pretty well. And I quote....
We'll need to be excellent across the board if we're to win this game. Need to be the more physical team from the line to the defensive backs. Need to show the Panthers that they're in for a fight. Get after Reaser and make him make a throw before he wants to. On offense, run the ball and control the clock. That may be the best defense against their offense. And for the love of pete....no silly penalties.I think Tre had 24 carries and Mason had 16...Stew, Matt Davis and Kyle Lichti combined for another 9 carries for a total of 49 runs. Lichti threw the ball 14 times, meaning we threw the ball on 23% of the time. Great game planning by the coaches and it was well executed by the offense.
If I'm the coach...which I'm so thankful I'm not...I run right at them with Tre Simpson, Mason Monheim, Matt Davis & Stew Turner. Give Tre 20 carries and spread out another 20 carries between the other three. That should take care of 2/3 of our plays. Pick your spots passing...look for Max over the middle and the opportunistic deep ball to Drew & Stew.
Drive of the Year?
We had a couple of impressive drives in the Ashland game, but the 18 play, 89 yard drive in the 2nd quarter has to be the best of the year. That was vintage Rider football. They just lined up and pushed the Panthers around. It was so balanced too. Mason had 7 runs, Tre had 5, Matt Davis had 2, Kyle threw it 3 times (completed two) and ran it once. Not a single penalty on the drive either.
Speaking of Penalties
We had 10 penalties again...but none of the personal foul variety so that's a positive, but 10 is still too many for a team that is playing for a regional title. Have to be better than that.
Fox8 - Huh?
Fox8's SkyFox was supposed to show up at the Triway game last week, but didn't (weather). They were at Medina this week (videographer only, no on-air talent) to watch the Riders and Panthers lock up. The highlights left a little to be desired. Click here and advance to around the 2 minute mark. Listen to what Mason Monheim is called as his interception is shown........LINCOLN BOLLINGER?????? Who is that? The second time Mason's last name was pronounced Monahan....I'll give that one partial credit. I guess I should be grateful for the coverage. At least they spelled Orrville right and didn't call us the Red RAIDERS (like WKYC did).
More Media coverage...
I'll just put it out there....the Akron Beacon Journal is an absolute joke. Last I checked, Wayne County is still in their coverage area, yet this was extent of their coverage. Seriously guys, you could send a reporter 20 minutes west to Medina to cover this? Used to love the Beacon, but it's clear they have been a shell of a paper for the last 10 years or so. It's gotten a lot worse in the last few.
I just find it odd that they send a reporter down to Massillon for the Ashland/Tallmadge game, but not to Medina to cover our game. But I guess it shouldn't surprise me....this was their preview of local teams still alive in the playoffs. Orrville's not even listed. If you guys ever need help covering Wayne County...just let me know. I can be had for a small fee.
Thankfully...plenty of other outlets covered the game...and did it well. Here's a rundown.
Lorain Morning Journal - Elyria Chronicle Telegram - Wooster Daily Record - Cleveland Plain Dealer -
Even ESPN was there...well, ESPN Cleveland radio.
Medina Ken Dukes Stadium
Very impressed with the Medina facility. Very plain, but well lit, nice turf, ample seating & parking. The PA speakers were a little quiet...but overall a very nice experience.
Genoa & Clear Fork
I'm more than a little surprised that Genoa has made the run they have. First grinding out a 7-6 win over Ottawa-Glandorf and then putting up 39 against Clear Fork. Very impressive. Here's some rundowns on the game. Mansfield News Journal- Port Clinton News Herald - Another Port Clinton News Herald - Toledo Blade - and one more from the Port Clinton News Herald.
I'd have loved another shot at Clear Fork, but Genoa is just as interesting of a matchup. They'll be out for revenge from last year's 36-35 win...and we'll be looking for our first regional title since 1999. Something's gotta give. It will be another challenge for our offense. This time, a challenge for our run defense. Orrville is the higher seed, but on the bottom of the bracket, so we'll again be the visiting team.
One more article, this was published a few weeks ago about Genoa's kicker moving beyond missing the extra point kick against us last year. That's just the kicker and the "redemption" angle is very strong. Expect more of that as the game inches closer this week.
Week 13 Site
So where should Orrville/Genoa round two be played? Supposedly, the Genoa AD said Tiffin, but normally the state doesn't announce sites until Sunday afternoon. I'll wait for the official word before making travel plans. I'd prefer Huron, it's closer (only 90 minutes instead of nearly two hours to Tiffin). Genoa to Tiffin is just an hour, but two hours for us....but whatever the state says...we'll be there.
The state mandates regional final games be played on turf, and Ashland is probably out of the question due to the Arrows playing on the same night.
Other Division IV games
We're down to the final 8 in Division IV. The other 3 regional final matchups are..
Region 13 - #1 Manchester vs #2 Chagrin Falls
Region 15 - #1 Ironton vs #3 Columbus Bishop Hartley
Region 16 - #5 Kenton vs #6 Kettering Archbishop Alter
All three should be great games. I'll take Chagrin Falls, Ironton and Alter in those three. The state has already announced that Region 13 will face Region 14 in one state semifinal, and 15 vs 16 in the other.
Apologies to Ashland's Fuller
I said in the preview article that Elyria Catholic was as good, if not better than Ashland. That was wrong. Marcus Fuller and the Arrows were easily the best offense we faced this year....and it shows in the fact that they're still alive in division two. Good luck to the Arrows as they take on Mentor Lake Catholic this Friday.
Not getting ahead of things
We'll deal with week 14 after we've given our all in week 13, but I don't think I'm overstating things when I say that Division 4 is wide open. Any of the 8 teams left has as good a shot as anyone. Alter is the two-time defending champ, so until someone beats them, the state title goes through them. Our defense will keep us in any game and our offense has playmakers. All I'm saying is that we have a look.
That's all for now.....keep an eye on Facebook and Twitter for the week 13 site announcement on Sunday afternoon.