South Pointe football coach Strait Herron and his Stallions were the only local team to play both Northwestern and Greenwood, who play in Saturdays Class AAAA Division II state championship game,
Herron agreed to do a guest column that breaks down the game. Greenwood knocked his team out of a trip to Saturdays state championship 35-30 last week. The Stallions beat Northwestern 28-25 in the regular season.
When asked to write a column about the upcoming Class AAAA Division II state championship, I have to say I got a lump in my throat and was not sure I could do it. I was not sure that my competitive side would allow me to write without seeming condescending or sour.
However, it came to me that I am not ashamed of what we did this year. So first I want to acknowledge the fact that I am proud of our South Pointe team and football program. As with several games this year, against quality opponents, the games could have gone either way. Winning the close ones is a testament to hard work and I am proud that we get to play in those types of games and proud of our players and coaches for their determination.
As far as Saturdays game
As I see it, Greenwood has many strengths. They are very strong, have a productive, ball-controlling offense, and are extremely confident. Their offensive line mostly single-blocks everything which means they can get a man on all of your defensive players.
Winning the one-on-one battles up front will be a deciding factor. They are methodical with their offense, and as we found out have a back-up quarterback who adds a weapon for them. When we played we felt confident that their starting quarterback would not play and thought that would be in our favor. We knew that the back-up was a better passer than the starter, but our secondary underestimated his ability.
Looking back on it now, I wish the starter had played! I dont know the status of their starting quarterback for this week but either way they will have a good player in that position that will try to methodically move the ball down the field while taking up much of the playing time. They are a very confident team which I am sure resonates from the tradition of their program.
We gave them everything we could, and in the third quarter thought we had them on the ropes but they just sputtered a little bit, recomposed and finished the game. My hats off to them!
The question, in my opinion, is Greenwoods defense; in particular, its scheme and secondary. I have watched much film on Northwestern and I have seen teams do some strange stuff to them as far as coverage. The scheme Greenwood uses will be interesting and I can probably watch the first couple of series and tell you how they will fair. If you see any single-high safety or four across coverage look for a big night from Northwesterns offense.
Northwestern has many strengths as well. In my opinion the Trojans have more than Greenwood. Obviously they have a strong group of skill players, and defensively they are very talented up front and they also have confidence and tradition.
The skill players in their offense give them the ability to score many points and score them quickly. Of course, they are very efficient in their system, and defenses have a hard time slowing them down. As I alluded to earlier, it will be interesting to see what Greenwood tries as far as coverage.
In my opinion, that will be the other deciding factor.
Defensively, Northwestern will have its hands full but nothing it cant handle with its speed and tenacity. It will get players to the ball and make Greenwood earn every yard.
Of course, if it sees No. 15 (backup QB Thomas Turner) come into the game, Northwesterns secondary will be on high alert. Northwestern has continued the tradition of playing great football that was started years ago. It is coached very well and coached to be confident. Either way you slice it I think Northwestern has the advantage.
Depending on the battle up front and the defensive scheme of Greenwood, this will be anywhere from a 42-14 win or 28-14 win for Northwestern. Hope everyone enjoys the game. I will be watching Alabama and Georgia! OK, so I am a little sour.