PDT Sports Contributor
As the 2013 season approaches the halfway point, the East Tartans have not had a strong start to the season.
However, if there were any positives to take away from the first three games of the season, it is the fact that East battled valiantly throughout in each game. That persistence and effort finally paid off in a major way for the Tartans as they eked out a 22-20 victory over previously undefeated Manchester.
However, it will take that same persistence and effort – as well as great defensive containment – to stop a two-headed monster in the backfield as East will entertain the Dayton Jefferson Township Broncos on Saturday at Allard Park.
Coach Todd Gilliland said that beating the previously undefeated Greyhounds has had the Tartans pumped up all week.
“The guys are really excited. We did a great job of playing team defense and we did a great job of controlling the football,” Gilliland said. “It was a great collective team victory for our guys.”
The Tartans will need to be ready to handle speed and quickness because Jefferson Township features a myriad of players on both sides of the ball that have those aforementioned attributes.
T’Monte Watson and Daviawne Jones are two players that will keep you from blinking your eyes too often.
Jones proved against East’s fellow SOC I foe that he has speed and quickness by rushing for two scores and catching a touchdown pass in a 38-0 drubbing of Green last Saturday.
The 5’8”, 145 pound junior serves as a backup to Watson at the running back position but will see plenty of snaps as the two will share touches out of the backfield.
Watson plays several different positions, but stars at running back where he has the speed, agility and quickness to break off a long run at any time.
The 5’10”, 185 pound senior had a monstrous game against East last season as he scored three rushing touchdowns and added an interception return for a touchdown to lead the Broncos to a 34-18 victory over the Tartans last season.
“(Watson) does a great job, has great vision, makes great cuts and has great speed,” Gilliland said. “In order to win the game, we will have to shut him down defensively. They have some good players, their quarterback, No. 10 (Dylan Wright) is a good player, but we have to shut down Watson. He’s their main guy.”
The Tartans will counter with a strong running game led by Justin Bowen, Chadd Haddix and Akia Brown, who have each shown the ability to run through and around the opposition this season. Gilliand said that Brown recorded 22 carries against Manchester, and the freshman has produced despite a limited amount of touches this season.
Defensively, Gilliland says that Jefferson Township will run several different offensive formations against East but the defensive philosophy itself will not be adjusted upon.
“We’re going to stay with our base 4-3 defense,” Gilliland said. “We want to dictate the flow of the game and what our opponent does rather than being dictated by our opponent and what they do.”
The 34-18 decision in last year’s game was the first time these two schools had met before. Both schools are 1-3 this season and will need to win out to have a chance at making a postseason appearance.