Eastern Randolph Spoils Homecoming at Providence GrovePosted on September on 29, 2012 @ 00:46:00 by Fred Burgess
Eastern Randolph High School
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If you just looked at the stats, you would assume Providence Grove won this game. The Patriots had 200 more yards of total offense. They had nearly three times the first downs (19 for PG and 7 for ER).
Stats do not tell the story of this game. Special teams were the difference in this game.
The Patriots kicked off to the Wildcats three times during this game. Two were returned for touchdowns. The first one was the openning kick of the second half. Paris Martin returned the kick-off 79 yards for the score.
The second came with 8 minutes left in the game. The Patriots' Jasper Milligan had just scored to narrow the Wildcat lead to 17-12 when Boo Williams returned the kick-off 62 yards for the score. This was the final score for both teams on the night, giving the Wildcats a 24-12 victory.
The Patriots struck first in the game when Stedman Rush found Jonathan Davis open down the sideline for a 42 yard touchdown. The point after was blocked and PG lead 6-0.
Paris Martin would put the Wildcats ahead in second quarter with a seven yard touchdown run. The big play of this drive was a punt return by Tyrell Watt down to the Patriot 11 yard line.
Fred's observations of the game.
Special Teams, Special Teams, Special Teams: The Wildcats had three big kick retuns. They kicked a field goal and made all their extra points. Julio Diaz also kicked had three kick offs for touchbacks sail into the end zone. This was huge because it forced Providence Grove to start from their own 20 yard line.
The Wildcat Defense: They gave up 355 yards of total offense, but they came up with the big stops when they needed them. The Patriots twice marched down inside the ten yard line, but the Wildcat defense stiffened and denied the score.
The Patriots also moved the ball 50 yards in the final minutes of the first half down to the ER 30 yard line, but the defense once again made the plays to keep them off the score board.
Stedman Rush: How can you not be impressed with this young man? He accounted for 295 of the Patriots 355 yards (120 rushing 175 passing). The Wildcats hit him time and time again, but he kept getting up and making plays.
Once late in the fourth quarter he took what looked like a helmet to the knee and laid on the field for a while. I thought for sure he was done for the night. He came out for two plays and lead the offense down to the ten yard line for the last drive of the night.
Coach Seth Baxter said, "Stedman has one of the biggest hearts of any kid I have ever coached against. We worked on tackling this week, and I thought we did a better job of tackling tonight, but you have to tackle well against Stedman."
Stedman Rush reminds me a lot of former ER running back Khyri Crawford. Both are good hard nosed runners who are difficult to bring down and are just tough as nails.
Eastern Randolph defensive line: Josh Randolph proved once again he is almost impossible to block one on one. He had a couple of quarterback sacks and kept pressure on Stedman Rush all night long.
I was also impressed, and I have to admit very pleased with the play of Blue Price. I coached Blue in eighth grade, and if someone would have told me he would be a starting defensive tackle in high school I would not have believed it. He is proof that hard work and a desire to play can take you a long way. I never saw him take a play off, and I cannot tell you how glad I am to see him have this success during his senior year. Young players could learn a lot from the play and character of Blue Price.
Providence Grove Defense: They played much better than I expected tonight. Eastern Randolph's only offensive touchdown was an 11 yard drive. Linebackers Adam Johnson and Miguel Meza continue to amaze me. Somehow they make tackles even though often times it looks like they run themselves out of the play. It comes back to a lot of effort and heart. I do enjoy watching these two guys play.
The defensive line for Providence Grove also played very well. Michael Perrin, despite having an injured shoulder, made several good plays. Anthony Hicks and Josh Register had a couple of tackles for losses on the night, and Will Ford seems to get better every game.
Finally, Jasper Milligan came up and made some very hard hits from his safety position. He fits well in the Calvin Brown's defensive scheme. He has the speed to come up and provide run support. I am not sure how much he weighs, but he hits you will everything he has. He is another player who is just fun to watch.
Paris Martin, Tyrell Watt, and Boo Williams: These three men were the difference in the game. Paris and Boo returned kick offs for touchdowns, and Tyrell set up the first score with a 63 yard punt return. They are just athletes who compete with anyone and are capable of bringing the crowd to its feet at any moment.
Patriot Coach Corey Phillips said earlier in the week he was concerned with the big play capability of ER's athletes. He was right on with this one. The speed and play making ability of these three guys were the difference in the game.
Joey Pippin: With an injury to starting middle linebacker Cole Muehlbach, Joey Pippin ended up playing both ways for the Wildcats tonight. He played both offensive guard and linebacker. I watched him a lot tonight and he played very well. His defensive play probably goes unnoticed by many people, but played extremely well. Joey is one of those guys who gives it everything he has on every play and every team needs players like him to be successful.
The Wildcat Offense: This was a must win for Eastern Randolph. Any kind of win over your rival is a great win. In the end the team with the most athletes won this game, but the offense must concern the ER coaching staff. In three of their last four games the offense has really been unable to move the ball effectively.
Next week the Cummings Cavaliers come to ER. They will bring an equal or even greater number of athletes to Ramseur. The Wildcats must find some consistent offense to contend for a conference championship. Somehow I think they will do it.
This was a great win for the Wildcats, but offensively their line must do a better job of getting to the second level of their blocks and they must have better execution in the passing game. I expect the offense to play better next week when the Cavaliers come to town.
Final comments: I may make a few people mad with this final thought, but standing on the sidelines of both teams and listening to players and coaches talk to one another I believe it is accurate.
When I look at these two teams, I believe ER has the better athletes, but PG has the better team. Let me try to explain. The Wildcats simply have more players on the field who can make a game changing play. I think that should be clear to anyone, and this game was an example of that.
Providence Grove (aside from Stedman Rush) does not have one player stand out above the others. I do hear the word "WE" used more on the PG sidelines by coaches and players. "WE got to do this." "We need to keep them from doing that."
Conversely from the ER sideline I hear the word "I" more. "I made a great block on that play." "I can beat my man." This is not a slam on the Wildcats. The reality is the Patriots have to play more as a team because of the lack of individual talent. When a team has a lot of very good individual players like the Wildcats, it is sometimes difficult to play as a team.
I am not saying that ER has a bunch of individual players who do not care about the team. What I am saying is that PG is made up of more team players. When it comes down to it, athletes win games. The Wildcats have more athletes and that is why they won this game. Cummings and Reidsville are approaching fast. They Wildcats will not win these games because they have more athletes on the field. The Wildcats will win these games because their athletes started playing as a team.
It was a great game to watch tonight. Good luck to ER next week as they host Burlington Cummings. Good luck to PG as they travel to Bartlett Yancey.
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