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Views From The Bridge - 11/09/17

POSTED November 8, 2017 2:57 p.m.

    First things first, if leaders are willing to accept a pat on the back when things go well, they need to accept & take responsibility when things don’t go so well. To do anything else is not only embarrassing, it is wrong. 

AROUND THE AREA
    Early on it looked like another rollover win for the Warriors. Jumping out to a 20-0 lead in the first quarter, the game normalized & Black Hawk finished with a workman-like performance & a victory. Despite another strong rushing performance, the star again this week was the Warrior defense. P/C had averaged around 390 yards of offense & 44 points a game, they were held to 110 yards & a single score.
    This week. Fall River. At Middleton. Winner goes to Madison. Fall River advanced with an 8-7 win on the road vs. Wild Rose– the #1 seed in their group of 8. Wild Rose had defeated Fall River, 27-12, in week two.    The Pirates are led by dual threat QB Luke Figol & have a 1,100 yard rusher in Davyn Braker. They have been tested during the playoffs with the win over Wild Rose & a 3-point victory over Lourdes Academy.
    The question will be if they can crack the Warrior defense.   
    On the other side of the bracket, Bangor upset top-ranked & top-seeded Edgar, 16-8. To say that one raised a few eyebrows is an understatement.
    Bangor plays Abbotsford for the right to advance. While Bangor is the favorite, one shouldn’t sleep on Abby who is fresh off a 50-14 rout of top-seed Clear Lake in a snowstorm. When the smoke clears, look for the Warriors & Bangor to tangle in the final. 

AROUND THE SWAL
    Point became the third straight SWAL club to lose to Markesan. I thought the Pointers could pull off the upset. Remind me never to pick them again. The Hornets jumped out to a big lead thanks to some Pointer mistakes. Point had a chance to cut it to a one score game just before half, but Markesan extended the lead to 32-12 & never looked back as they won 47-26. This one had a running clock in the second half. 
    Looking way too far ahead, some folks think that Pointer Nation will be the team to beat in the SWAL next year.

AROUND THE REST
    Waukesha West defeated Monona Grove, 28-7. In D5, Amherst rolled over Stratford, 52-14. They get Grantsburg in the semifinals. On the other side, Lake Country Lutheran upset Clinton. LCL plays Cedar Grove-Belgium. Markesan gets another shot at Springs, who defeated them 35-0 early this year. Good luck. Regis stays alive with a 21-8 win over Unity. They play Iola-Scandinavia.   
    Kimberly’s win streak continues as they slipped past Fondy, 28-21. In D3, New Berlin Eisenhower knocked off Catholic Memorial, 7-0. Ike plays Whitefish Bay in the semifinals. Upon further review, it is apparent I had no idea what I was doing when I made my original finals picks.

AROUND MARTENS FIELD
    No truth to the rumor that I was going to finish this in February. But only if the readers worked hard. 
    A few years ago, I took some flak when I said the game had changed. I understand the criticism. At the end of the day it still comes down to the basics, blocking, tackling & execution. Perhaps a better description is that the game has evolved. Let’s put it this way, this program really hasn’t changed all that much since Doug was first here in the 1980s. Now ask yourself this question, name something you do the exact same way now, that you did in 1987. Farm? Conduct business? Communicate? Use technology? Teach? Why should football be any different?
    This is not an excuse to say this scheme or system is better than that scheme or system. We can have that conversation later. What we want to point out is that our football program has not evolved. We have not responded well to the evolution of offenses & defenses. You can run power, trap & belly to your heart’s content, but you do not have to just run it out of 100/900. And, you need a better answer to multiple receiver sets than just playing cover zero to everything.
    Listen to what Waunakee Head Coach Pat Rice said last week in an article on Madison.com. Waunakee changed their offense this year from their more traditional multiple pro I to a spread. Here’s what he said:
    “We wanted to stretch the field and play different personnel groups to get our playmakers in space. It taxes the defense to have to compartmentalize some things. … Our other offense was 260-40 (as an overall record). I made the decision; I just felt it was a way to feature our offense. You try to be in front of the curve.”
    When is the last time you heard someone from Darliington talk about staying ahead of the curve? Exactly. Oh, by the way, for all of you who get nervous when you hear the word spread, they have a 2,000 yard rusher this year. 
    It is worse on the defensive side of things where Darlington has evolved the least. We talked this year about playing teams that are in our “defensive” comfort zone. Cambridge & IG, pro I teams that rely on iso & power. We know that. We can defend that. Now, run us up against a team that not only stretches you vertically, but horizontally. Add a little zone read or power read into the mix & we are lucky our defenders don’t spin themselves in circles & fall on the ground.
    While we have modernized things a little bit on offense starting in 2014, incorporating Jet sweep & motion, unbalanced & this year multi-receiver sets & a perimeter screen game, we are late to the party. Let’s put it this way– the youth program incorporated Jet as part of their offensive sets 10 years ago.
    Think about this & not evolving. It has been 22 years since the ‘Birds won a State Title. Most recently there was a 16-year gap in getting back to state until we broke through in 2013. While we did have the recent run of four trips, that had as much to do with the talent level walking the halls as anything this program did.   
    We will continue this visit, but, for now, think about what Coach Rice said.

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