Pope John Paul II CHS v. Madison County High School
7 pm, Monday, September 5
In the first meeting of these two Madison county teams, JP2 looks to capitalize on a strong preseason showing against Butler on August 18. With two weeks to prepare, lack of excitement and motivation could be, but doesn’t seem to be, a problem. “Game Week! Game Week!” Coach Rick Daniel yelled as he walked among the players, exhorting them to get “up”, but there was already excitement in the air.
The Falcons know they will face a strong bunch of players on Monday. Daniel ticked off the Red Raiders’ strengths, “They have good size, and are athletic” but would not enumerate any weaknesses. It’s dangerous—it makes for good bulletin board material–and he says, “I just want to focus on us doing what we have to do.”
What do they have to do? Work on reducing penalties, for one. It is a classic sign of a young team: excitement and early season nerves lead to a lot of jumping offsides. In addition to taking care of penalties, the lines still need work. Both the offense and defensive lines allowed too much easy penetration, Daniel said, and strong teams always should always control the line. Also, this will be the 2011 Falcons’ first test of special teams, since there was no special teams play permitted in the jamboree.
Coach Daniel said a big part of practice this week was spent on special teams, but they also worked on defending the spread. Madison County will throw a spread offense at the Falcons and see how they respond. JP2 also runs a little spread as part of its offensive package, so the defense has worked against it, but Daniel wanted his defense to have more. “We want to give the defense some good practice against the spread.”
The Labor Day evening game should prove to be exciting. The Falcon hope to provide their fans with the lion’s share, with this young team showing their coach they can be the hard hitting, strong running team he envisions.