September 27, 2010
It's hard to believe that the high school football season is halfway done (more or less). Seems like yesterday that teams were doing 7 on 7 scrimmages. This season has been a bizarre one, especially considering the big "brawl" during the Union Pines-Pinecrest football game. It is a shame that both teams have to sit out the playoffs this season, but, the rules are definitely there in the NCHSAA rule book in black and white. Playoffs or no playoffs, how have our Moore County high school football teams done so far this football season?
As far as grades go, I feel like I am most tougher than any high school teacher or college professor. If you want an 'A', you better do something extraordinary. You can always get a 'B' if you work really hard and then some. A 'C' grade is, well, it is what it is, average. A 'D' grade indicates a subpar performance. And, do I need I describe what an 'F' is all about? So far this season, I have NOT been impressed. So, here goes .....
North Moore: C
The Mustangs are doing all they can with what little resources they have, but, at least head coach Greg Simmons knows that Rome was NOT built in a day. There is no reason why NM can't have success in football. There has been success on the gridiron before. NM just needs to get more players out there in uniform. And, Coach Simmons needs to sell the program to the student body, faculty, staff and administration, parents, future Mustangs playing for the composite middle school team and the community at large. But heck, at least the Mustangs are out there trying to give an honest effort, and there are a few games left on the schedule that are winnable.
Union Pines: D
The Vikings have been a big disappointment this year. The offensive line is still ineffective, and the defensive line isn't too much better. Seems like the Vikings have regressed since the North Moore game and the offense has been totally ineffective, almost even non-existent versus Cardinal Gibbons and Overhills. Seems like in those two games, the defense is just flat out tired at halftime because they are on the field most of the first half. Would like to see the running game become a bigger part of the offense, though I still feel you need to have a passing game since the pass complements the run and vice versa. Would like so see some of the better defensive players also play on offense and contribute there as well. And, I would also like to see more creative play calling, perhaps some more trickery and misdirection to keep opposing defenses confused. Seems like some of UP's offensive plays are "telegraphed", thus, opposing defenses knows what's coming ahead of time.
There are a few winnable games ahead on the schedule, and since there will be no playoff trip for the Vikes whatsoever this season, you can definitely build for next season. And, as former Washington Redskins football coach George Allen once said, "The future is now." But, as for now, there are a lot of things that head coach Ryan Riggan and his staff needs to fix.
OK, so PC runs the table on the non-conference schedule. But consider that PC has one of the weakest non-conference schedules amongst 4A teams. Are we all supposed to be impressed because PC is undefeated. I think not.
There are two reasons why I am giving the Patriots a 'D'. First, let's not forget about the PC-UP football game. I think both head coaches could have done a better job of controlling their teams, and the officials should have taken a time out to warn both head coaches about the teams' on-the-field behavior. But, Pinecrest has long had a reputation for unsportsmanlike conduct on the gridiron, long before head coach Chris Metzger arrived at PC. And it seems like ol' Saint Metzger is keeping the tradition alive. Whenever PC is ahead, the players always taunt, brag and boast, but, when the Pats are behind, they cry, whine and throw cheap shots. And, the funny thing of it all is, this only happens during football season. I've never heard of this problem in other sports. Speaking of behavior control, I think Coach Metzger could have done a better job of controlling himself. What the heck was he trying to prove running for two or going for an onside kick with his team leading by 40??? Then of course, when all hell broke lose, you see him running across the field faster then any of his backs and receivers yelling and pointing fingers at UP coaches. What in the world??? In addition to all those PC and UP players that got a suspension, Coach Metzger should have received one as well.
Second, ever since the UP game, PC has been playing kind of "flat." They haven't really been blowing out opponents like I thought they would. Heck, even 4A West Johnston gave them a game for at least a half before PC comes back to win.
I still can't figure out what sort of "P.R. move" Pinecrest officials decided to make by announcing next year's season opener versus Jack Britt. Could it make folks forget about not going to the playoffs, or, make folks forget about what beatings for the Pats could lie ahead when Southeastern 4A conference play begins? Maybe those SE 4A coaches had a good idea of things to come when they predicted the Pats to finish fifth in the conference before the season began.
The season is far from over. And there is still room for improvement. Improvement on and off the field. Even improvement in the grades that I've given out.