By Rusty Nixon
PLYMOUTH – Plymouth’s Rockies played literally an extra day on their way to it but with a 2-0 record heading into Friday night things don’t get any easier.
“I thought we played really well offensively,” said Plymouth Coach John Barron of his team’s come from behind win over Rochester in the wee hours of Saturday morning. “I thought they looked prepared. Our interior line blocking scheme was very dominant. I don’t think most teams are going to defend us like that. Defensively we did not look as bad on film as we thought we did watching it live. We got beat on two misdirection plays and beat on a fade route against our best defender. But we’ve given up 54 points in two games and that’s too much.”
The Zebras were able to do much of their damage on third down plays, something that has been a recurring theme the first two weeks.
“Bremen was doing some of the same stuff,” said Barron. “I think third down stops are a mentality and we don’t have that yet. I think it’s my job to try to cultivate it. Maybe we have to start scoring so fast because our defense is on the field so long.”
Barron was very pleased with his interior guys on the offense a week ago – a big reason why fullback Taylor Fulton had a career night with 184 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
“Our two guards (Devin Straka and Kyle Kopetski) are 280 plus and Kevin (Escobar) is 260 but they move around well – they have great feet,” said Barron. “Coach Kershner likes that size inside. We also don’t talk enough about our perimeter guys blocking. The only guy we don’t ask to block a lot is our fullback but he blocks by his fakes.”
Preparing for this week’s game has involved a lot of “horror” movies of Warsaw.
“They look like Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde,” said Barron. “They go on the road and get beat by Columbia City pretty soundly and come back and beat an East Noble team that is loaded with talent.
“Their shortest receiver is 6’2”. I’m really impressed with their quarterback (Jake Mangus) – I’m impressed with their whole team – they are all tall and athletic and I guess that’s what you get with a 6A school. Totally different monster than defending Rochester.”
Stopping Mangus will involve the Rockie defensive front being able to get some pressure up the middle.
“They throw the ball really well, they have a really good running back in the (Ethyn) Bradley kid,” said Barron. “These offenses today spread you out and try to get one on one matchups. We’re going to try to play zone but that’s what it’s going to be.
“We’re going to change our practice up a little this week and do more one on one’s so we can challenge our kids in practice before they get to Friday. That’s been a point of emphasis with our staff. We have to be able to get to the quarterback and we have to get to him before he sets his feet. He’s very aggressive throwing the ball and we have to make him throw the ball. We will have to adjust to their passing game. We’ve tried to do that in practice, but we aren’t defending 6’4”receivers in practice.”