Welcome to the Week 5 Recap coupled with Part 2 of the Weeks 3 & 4 recap of football in the Bayside Conference. Thanks for all the support and readership. If you have any questions, comments, etc, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org For those interested in the Bayside South, the ‘Bayside Blitz’ is one of the features on my weekday morning show at the beach on 92-7 WGMD, wgmd.com and the WGMD App. Ricky Pollitt from ‘The Daily Times’ joins me every Friday at 740am to talk about that week’s games and news and notes.
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It’s finally time to start looking at playoff points:
In addition to the Salisbury Championship being on the line, 3A points are on the line for Parkside as they take on JM Bennett on Friday night. If Parkside is going to try and gain ground and stay in the hunt for a #4 seed they will need to win Friday or else have to win out and hope they get a lot of help from the teams in front of them. We know either North Caroline or Kent Island will have at least one loss as the two will do battle late in the year.
There were a lot of expectations internally and externally for Parkside before the season started. Seeing that Harford Tech has come out of nowhere from years past to go 5-0 to start the year and that three others have all started unblemished make it so tough for the Rams. Tech is 17-32 over the last five years and have gone 5-5 the last two years. All this with Easton having lost QB Mason Ledford for the year which helped Parkside or so we thought but Tech has basically taken their place. It’s no surprise Elkton is 5-0. The good news for Parkside is Tech’s schedule will get tougher and they will have at least two losses before the season is out but it still gives them very little margin of error.
Let’s not forget though Queen Anne’s should win out until Kent Island and by then the young Lions will have a lot of experience and who knows could pull the upset in a rivalry game. By the way that game is in Centreville.
The Colonel loss to JM Bennett was huge in Week 1. Those 3A points would have likely been the difference in the push for a 1A playoff spot. Last week’s loss to Cambridge puts them in a spot where they have no margin for error. They must win until Week 10 (we know they aren’t beating North Caroline) and get some help. Crunch time begins against Kent County this Saturday. That ought to be a fired up Colonel team at home that has not defeated Kent County in a while so they have a little extra motivation…One would assume Cambridge-SD should win out until Easton then we shall see. It’s safe to say they probably will not be a #1 or #2 seed which puts them on the road for the playoffs but then that’s where the tough schedule the first three weeks of the year comes into play and you have to put it to use.
JM Bennett at 4-1 has set themselves up nicely in the 3A as the current #2 seed. However after beating all teams with losing records the Clippers face a tough schedule the second half of the season. With that we segue way into:
1st Half Headlines:
Now that the 1st half of the season is in the books let’s look back:
*North Caroline has lived up to their billing and has been absolutely dominant
*This is the year that Queen Anne’s and Cambridge could not overcome graduation and are in rebuilding mode.
*Losing QB Mason Ledford for the season ended Easton’s chances of competing for a playoff spot in an ultra-competitive 2A East.
*JM Bennett off to a 4-1 start in a rebuilding year in the trenches is one of the bigger surprises
*The South’s best is not close enough to the best of the North as evidenced by Parkside’s losses to North Caroline and Kent Island and JM Bennett’s loss to Kent Island
*Stephen Decatur doubled the amount of wins they had from all of last year after Week 3
2nd Half Schedules:
Queen Anne’s, Cambridge-SD and Kent County were among those with the toughest schedules in the 1st half of the year. Queen Anne’s isn’t exactly easy in the second half either…For the second half of the year though JM Bennett who is 4-1 has probably the most difficult second half schedule with Parkside, Queen Anne’s, North Caroline, Decatur and Wicomico. There are three winnable games here but none here easy at all. Kent Island who had one of the easiest schedules to start the year has three real tough games in the last four games of the season. After this week against Wicomico, they have Oakdale (Frederick, MD), Easton, North Caroline and Queen Anne’s to end the year. Wicomico also has a tough road with Kent Island, Cambridge, Queen Anne’s, Easton and Bennett left on their schedule however there are again three winnable games though but again all difficult. North Caroline has one of the easiest second half schedules outside of the Kent Island game.
The Colonel Richardson Cavaliers or is it the Colonel Richardson Griffins? It’s not the Colonels:
As I was reading through the article in The Star Democrat (story by David Insley) on the Colonel-Arcadia (VA), thanks to a mess up by the PA announcer we learned something interesting. It starts out:
Having lost back-to-back games, Colonel Richardson High’s football team, and head coach Dan Mangum, needed to make a change Friday night at Arcadia High. The home team’s PA announcer gave it to them. Twice before kickoff, Colonel was mistakenly called the Cavaliers, likely due to the team’s helmet logo is similar to the University of Virginia’s…“If we win, we’re gonna be the Cavaliers for the rest of the season,” Mangum said. “Write it down.”
Then we learn: “Colonel’s mascot is actually the Griffin, but according to assistant coach Neil Lambert, a local sportswriter called a team the Colonels in the the late 1960s, and the moniker stuck, all the school’s sports adopting it and using it to this day.”
I love those nuggets of information.
I wrote a piece last year asking the question, has Colonel Richardson turned the corner and I wrote that I thought they were beginning to show signs of a program on the rise. A year later, I think the fact that they are no longer the team that you expect to get blown out every week with no level of competition shows a level of competitive consistency that they have displayed now over the last two and half seasons. In fact Colonel likely would have a few more wins over the past few years but a lack of numbers which they can’t control and turnovers which they can control has hurt them from taking it to a playoff level. The 1A has needed someone to step up as I have written in years past with the rough patch that Snow Hill has hit and the continued ceiling that Washington faces every year. Kent County is in rebuilding mode this year which made it even worse for the 1A East this year.
In their win over Arcadia (VA), Head Coach Dan Magnum said he felt his offensive line was more physical than the week before against Cambridge. They also had no turnovers, couple that with a fast start and that is a big recipe for success on the road.
Non-Conference Schedule Games:
I have long hoped for more non-conference games in the Bayside so teams can play their counterparts in the nearby Henlopen Conference in Delaware or against teams from the Western Shore in Anne Arundel County, etc. To me the only way you get better is by playing some of these teams and it breaks up the monotony of the same teams year after year. It’s not only a great litmus test for the Bayside but it also gets the better teams ready for the playoffs when they will be playing a better quality of teams the deeper they go in the playoffs.
One could argue the Eastern Shore of Virginia teams are basically apart of the Bayside Conference with all the games they play against the 1A teams like Colonel and Snow Hill. Some of those games are competitive and then some not so competitive. However the Arcadia’s and Nandua’s of the world do not come close to the Woodbridge’s, Cape Henlopen’s, Elkton’s or say Broadneck’s, Spalding’s or or St. Mary’s.
This year the Queen Anne’s Lions for a third straight year took on the Sussex County Golden Knights out of Delaware’s Henlopen Conference as their non-conference game of the season. The Golden Knights under long time Head Coach John Wells have been a pretty rock solid program overall. They did fall on some hard times in recent years but in the last three have found their way back up. Queen Anne’s has lost two straight now to SC but did win three years ago in their first matchup, a blowout win by the Lions. Both programs are very much alike, tough, and hard-nosed, grind it out teams who run similar offenses. It’s a great game for the Lions to have on their schedule and I certainly hope it continues.
Cambridge-SD has played Henlopen Conference teams since 2014. In 14’ they played the very tough Cape Henlopen High School, then in 15’ and 16’ Seaford before ratcheting it back up as they took on Delaware Division II Champ Woodbridge this year. In 2013 if you remember they played both Silver Oak Academy from Western MD and Dulaney out of Baltimore County, a team they routed 70-13 on their homecoming. The Lions are a 4A team too!
Easton played John Carroll in 2015 out of Baltimore’s MIAA Private School Conference. That year Carroll had several transfer students ship in and were a Top 25 team in the state. Easton fell 42-14 in that one. This year the Warriors are playing Southern of Anne Arundel County this year, a program that has struggled the last five years going 14-36. Still it’s a 2A team with big numbers and who plays good competition in the AA County League.
Kent Island is playing Oakdale of Frederick this year. They are 5-0 so far and ranked in the Top 25 in the state. That area has exploded over the last 20 years and has seen the rise of Urbana, Tuscarora and Oakdale High Schools due to the population swell. While Frederick has never been very good, Linganore has been and is back again but suffered for a while with Urbana taking away players they used to get with district lines redrawn. Now Urbana seems to be losing players to Oakdale. It definitely should be a good tune up for Kent Island as Carroll County Football is very good these days. North Caroline knows all too well as they lost at home to Walkersville 16-14 in 2015 in the playoffs in the State Region Final…A few years ago Kent Island went on the road and played at 1A power Ft. Hill who boasted RB Ty Johnson who is now wreaking havoc on Big Ten defenses at the University of Maryland.
Washington has played Hancock out of Western Maryland, a similar small 1A school in years past.
Turning Point in the Year:
After going 0-3 to start the season against Queen Anne’s, Woodbridge (Delaware’s Henlopen Conference) and North Caroline, there appeared to be a turning point for Cambridge in their first win of the year coming against Colonel Richardson. After giving up an opening drive TD to the Colonel’s, the Vikings responded on offense and defense as chronicled in the article in the Star Democrat a few weeks ago:
The running duo [Colonel RBs] moved the ball to the Colonel 35 on the first drive, but on fourth-and-one, Colonel defensive tackle John Carter stuffed a run to force a turnover on downs.
The Vikings got the ball right back when Rodney Dotson made a diving interception. CSD then marched 50 yards on five plays with Molock capping the drive with a 6-yard touchdown run and the two-point conversion to tie the score at 8-8.
The Colonels (1-3) countered C-SD’s score by driving 62 yards on 13 plays to the Vikings’ 11. The Vikings stiffened though. An incompletion and tackle for loss by Dotson forced a fourth-and-10. Linebacker Lamont Jackson blitzed Zebron, forcing an incompletion to return possession to the Vikings.
The Vikings defense continued its stingy play, allowing 18 yards on Colonel’s next five possessions, which included sacks by Molock and Kavon Williams. Linebacker Jacob Smith also made nine tackles, and three for a loss.
Cambridge would score 20 points in the second half and hold Colonel to just one more score and win 28-14. This past week Taj Molock’s 7 TDs against Nandua (VA) led them to a 66-7 victory. The win against Colonel was a real solid one given the improved Colonel program and the amount of turnover with the starters. The Vikings also were without starting QB Tyler Harding. Assuming Cambridge builds on their success they can look back to the Colonel game as the turning point.
Not a Chance:
Kent Island Head Coach Damien Ferragamo said there was no danger of the Buccaneers overlooking this Friday’s game against Wicomico to the game on the 13th against non-conference foe Oakdale out of Frederick whose ranked in the Top 25 in the state.
…Speaking of Kent Island:
A few weeks ago we discussed the passing game for Kent Island, the balance it brings and some of the adjustments that have to be made. After the Stephen Decatur game Head Coach Damien Ferragamo was interviewed by David Insley of The Star-Democrat and had this to say about playing cleaner and adjusting to new QB Trent Jackson:
“Jackson’s poise in the pocket and a noticeable knack for going through his progressions have allowed the Buccaneers to really open up the playbook this season. Ferragamo said, however, that he has not had to add any new wrinkles to his play-calling, but the more complex blocking schemes often necessary to air it out has elevated Kent Island’s penalty counts…“We’re making some checks at the line and it’s making the offensive line fidget around a little bit, making some frustrating penalties for us,” Ferragamo said. “But, those things are correctible, and they have to get corrected soon, because we’re in midseason…“We’re doing more with him,” Ferragamo added of the pre-snap play of Jackson. “So, it’s not just get your hands on the ground and go on ‘One.’ Sometimes, there are some words between, so it’s a byproduct of that…“Some of these other penalties, when you throw the ball, there are going to be more holding penalties,” Ferragamo continued. “It’s part of the game, there are penalties all over the place.”
It’s fascinating to see the NFL and College nuances, complexity and autonomy funneling down to the high school game. Mentally it can be a challenge on the Quarterback, physically it’s toughest on those lineman who would rather get up to the line and go. They would rather dish out punishment via the run game then receive it in pass blocking. This is a big adjustment but one certainly those at higher levels have to contend with, in fact I think one of the reasons some offensive lines struggle to be physical or establish the line of scrimmage is due to all the waiting around they have to do with checks at the line by the QB or the QB having to look over to the sideline to get the play call based on the defensive alignment.
Kent Island Has Found Their RB:
Kent Island has always had a solid stable of backs but usually one tends to emerge from the group as the go to guy at some point. HC Damien Ferragamo said earlier this season that despite the depth he has at RB he wanted to find his go to guy at some point and Dylan Finley has emerged as that guy. He had a career performance against Parkside this past week with 221 yards on 27 carries and 2 TDs. That toppled the career performance he had the week before against Stephen Decatur when he had 145 yards on 23 carries and 2 TDs.
Head Coach Damien Ferragamo was quoted as saying about Finley in the The Star-Democrat: “Dylan puts us in a position where he’s going to do what the play is designed to do. He’s going to run in the right spot, he’s going to protect the football and we can trust him to do the right thing. Because of that, he’s getting the bulk of the carries. “He’s a very disciplined football player.”
*The Bucs offensive line (see below) considered to be one of if not the best in the Bayside opened the way for RB Dylan Finley’s 227 yards and Jordan Walker’s 96 yards.
LT: Boone Sublett,
LG: Garrett Redden,
C: Nolan Gallagher
RG: Brendan Wilburn
RT: Kashawn Tomlinson, along with
TE: J.C. Getz
Head Coach Damien Ferragamo told me after the game:
“We came into the game wanting to be a downhill power running team…Those guys heard a lot about Parkside and their philosophy of football and wanted to show that we’re a downhill running football team.’ Parkside has some big bodies in there, we really got in there and drove them moving our feet.”
Ferragamo also told me on the OTL he thought they should have put up a lot more points on the board if weren’t for penalties once again plaguing the team. He said when your not moving your feet that’s when penalties happen (presuming he is referring to then resorting to holding),
*Kent Island did not need QB Trent Jackson and the passing game to win the game although 31 of his 39 total yards on a big pass play to Jordan Marciano (last year’s QB) did set up one TD.
*Poor field position early on limited the Buccaneers offensive playbook on the first drive and in addition on one of the early drives Finley had the ball taken from him in a scrum turning it over to the Rams.
*After Parkside’s strip recovery the Rams got the ball at the 35 but a holding call on 1st down disrupted the series and a series of incompletions led to them having to punt. It was certainly a wasted opportunity. On the previous series they had the ball at the 50 but Smith over threw an open receiver on 3rd and 5 and they were forced to punt there as well.
*Parkside’s fumble early in the second half as they were on a drive which would have tied the game had they scored a touchdown was the turning point in the game. Kent Island would recover and go down and while they were kept out of the end zone would kick a FG to go up 17-7 and the Bucs would not look back.
*Ferragamo said he was happy to see K Joe Garvey hit his first FG in a pressure situation
*Parkside used multiple formations to try and have success running the ball and had trouble even with keeping nine guys in in blocking Kent Island’s front when the Rams went to pass. At one point Parkside sent no receivers out in one formation.
*The Rams turned the ball over on an interception on 2nd and 13 that was just thrown up for grabs on their second series, they also turned the ball over on the snap from C to QB. With a Senior QB in Andrew Smith you just can’t have those mistakes and expect to win especially against the likes of a Kent Island.
*I have made mention that Parkside didn’t necessarily need to score on Special Teams but they needed to make sure they didn’t turn over the ball but an errant snap on a 4th down punt gave KI great field position in which they would score.
*The Rams did have some success running the ball at time with Oge but obviously not near enough
Taking The Next Step:
North Caroline has dominated their opponents this year including their 55-7 win over Queen Anne’s two weeks ago. Head Coach James Franklin told me it’s tough to point out many mistakes after a game like that but that your always talking about getting better, things like finishing off a double team block or getting up to the next level as a lineman or setting the edge defensively against a Jet Sweep. At this point a lot of it is paying attention to the finer details of every player’s game that will help them much more so when they get into the playoffs where the competition is better.
Coach McCormick told me the improvement from Junior to Senior year for Cody Pepper is different from the improvement Cameron Byrd had back between 2014 and 2015. McCormick said the biggest reason why Pepper is better this year is confidence; knowing the system and why you’re doing what you’re doing, allows you to just play ball. He also said playing under fire getting experience obviously helps…When asked about comparing the 2015 to 2017 teams at this point in the year he said both teams are different, however he did say the one similarity the two teams have is how tight they are as a group, how they enjoy being around each other and showing up for work every day at practice and in the locker-room. He said you can feel that vibe. He would go on to say as a Coach you see it when it’s there and when it’s not there. He said I think this group has got it and they have a chance to do special things.
Kent County sees some progress:
Trojans Head Coach Brendan Ireton told me on the OTL that despite their loss on Friday 29-7 to Queen Anne’s that he was pleased with his team. He thought this defense played well in not giving up any big plays. Sophomore Walters Kolby recorded two sacks for the Trojans. Mookie Jones made four tackles for loss. He said his option offense is coming along but issues at times on 1st down (i.e. penalties) plagued them and in that kind of offense when you get off schedule it’s tough to catch up especially on 3rd and Long. That said Kent County did have 4 turnovers (3 on interceptions) which they will need to clean up. Ireton did not seem concerned one way or the other on players he may get back who have been out due to grades issues. I got the feeling he either doesn’t think they will be back or it’s so far into the season that he can’t be concerned with those guys right now.
One More Shot:
While the scoreboard certainly showed much better for Parkside last Friday as they fell to Kent Island 31-19 (although 6 of their 19 points came at the end of the game when it had been determined) compared to the loss to North Caroline in Week 2, it still came out a loss. The Rams will get more shot to prove themselves against one of the better teams in the North later in the year when they host Queen Anne’s on October 27th in Salisbury. While it’s a rebuilding year for Queen Anne’s it would still be a very good win for Parkside…To be fair, JM Bennett who has a better record at 4-1 at the moment over Parkside also gets a chance to show themselves as they face Queen Anne’s and North Caroline in the next two weeks after this week’s showdown against in Salisbury city rival Parkside.
What Will Parkside-JM Bennett Tell Us:
One thing that will come out from this matchup between Parkside and JM Bennett on Friday is whether strength of schedule plays a factor. Parkside has played a tougher schedule so far having taken on North Caroline, Kent Island and to lesser extent Easton and Wicomico. Kent County was their easy game. Bennett has played Kent Island and Colonel and then Nandua, Easton and Snow Hill. Although Easton gave both teams a game until the 4th quarter. Parkside’s opponents are 16-9 where Bennett’s are 11-15.
Wicomico and Kent Island have been known for quality depth at RB in the last few years, in fact one year Wicomico went 5 deep at the position. Parkside recently had one of the state’s all-time leading rushers in Dalonte Waters. Nayel Oge has been touted as the big feature back this year coming off his junior season. Prior to the Kent Island game Oge had been out with a foot injury for two games. Parkside’s depth had to step up and indeed they did. In wins over Easton and Wicomico in Weeks 3 & 4, Michael Angelo-Collins, Alijah Bivens, Marcus Yarns and Destin Richardson all stepped to fill the shoes of Oge. All four scored TDs at some point in both games proving that they could step up when called upon to get the job done.
Why Did they Do That:
In Parkside’s victory over Wicomico two weeks ago the Rams led 15-8 when in the second half inside their own 50 Wicomico decided to go for a fake punt which was botched and gave the Rams the ball with the good field position. QB Andrew Smith hit TE Tyler Poulson for 28yd pass (the two connected earlier on a 36yd TD pass) which eventually set up a 2yd TD run by Destin Richardson. That was the turning point in the game as the Rams went for two and went up 23-8. You have to wonder why the Indians would pull such a desperate move unless they saw something they really though they could exploit from video studying or were desperate due to a lack of offense. Wicomico’s lone score came on a Jordan Briggs 22yd TD run credited to good field position off a poor Parkside punt. Wicomico would do Parkside a similar favor with a fumble but the Indians defense was able to hold off the Rams and forced them to punt.
Parkside would go on to win 31-8. Credit though Wicomico’s defense who kept the offense in the game holding down Parkside’s offense for several series. Outside of the early Parkside scores, (it’s tough to blame the defense too much for the fake punt and subsequent field position) the Indians simply wore down at the very end with the final TD. Credit the Rams who took advantage of opportunities and did what they wanted to in wearing down the opponent with their rushing attack and stable of backs. Clearly the Parkside defense had one of their best games of the year holding Wicomico to just 8 points. This was the first game in the Salisbury City Championship. Parkside and JM Bennett do battle Friday. Wicomico and JM Bennett will meet in the last game of the season. Parkside has defeated Wicomico 5 straight times and clearly has taken over supremacy in Salisbury that once belonged to Wicomico for a long time. The Indians though have fallen on hard times and have not been able to recover. This year though the Indians sit at 3-2 but have a tough second half stretch coming up beginning Friday.
For more on Snow Hill and JM Bennett check out the posted articles from The Daily Times on the Overtime Live Facebook page