PDT Sports Contributor
In any society, first impressions are always important when gauging a person or a group of people, no matter what the task consists of.
That point is no different with football as Minford and South Point will be looking to imprint good impressions in the minds of each of their respective fan bases in the opening week of the 2014 OHSAA football season.
For the Falcons, the mission that Brent Daniels has set for his team seems simple enough: make a better impression than the Pointers, or simply put, get the victory on Friday.
However, Daniels knows that the objective of winning is easier said than done as South Point, even without the presence of quarterback Gage Townson (who is out for the year with a torn ACL) can present Minford with some problems in its spread formation.
“(South Point) is one of those spread, no-huddle teams,” Daniels said. “Anytime you face a spread team that goes no-huddle, you have got to make sure that you’re aligned appropriately on defense with the different looks that they’re going to show us.
“… They have some nice size up front, a good backfield, and the quarterback that’s replacing Townson (Alex Whitt), has been a starter and has done a good job for them.”
Daniels says that for the most part, the coaching staff will not adjust the defense for Friday night’s contest.
“We’ve got some stuff that we’re going to add, but most of the defensive playcalling that we use against spread teams will remain the same,” Daniels said.
However, Minford is experimenting with some new offensive play calling of their own that will debut in Friday night’s contest under the tutelage of offensive coordinator Mike McRoberts. Daniels says that the offensive line, as well as the offense in general, is ready to handle the expansion of the playbook.
“Our offensive line is doing pretty good,” Daniels said. “The kids are doing pretty well with some of the new plays that we’re implementing. Fortunately for us, we have a couple of linemen that started for us last year as sophomores in Cain Madden and Eli Daniels, and then we have seniors Alex Parker and Boyd Suter at the guard spots, so we have some good experience there.”
That experience will be beneficial to Matt Joyce as he will be taking over the reins from the departing Cody Stapleton at quarterback in 2014. Joyce, who is a 5-foot-9 inch, 175-pound senior, has impressed onlookers with his speed and playmaking ability at the head of the Falcons’ offense so far.
“Matt’s doing a great job right now for us,” Daniels said. “We’ve added some stuff for him specifically to do this year and be able to run. He’s probably one of the fastest kids on our team this year and has been with us for four years watching and learning (the playbook), and now he’s finally getting his time.
“… In both of the scrimmage games (against Zane Trace and Fairland), he’s looked pretty good so far. We’re feeling good about some of the qualities that he brings to the table, especially with his speed and vision in the running game, and in addition to his running abilities, he’s made some nice decisions in the passing game so far.”
Daniels said that the conditions during the contest could play a factor as the game wears on, and with a temperature that will still be hovering at around 87 degrees by the 7:30 p.m. kickoff, that looks to hold true to form for Friday night’s contest.
With cramping always a possibility in warm and muggy conditions, Daniels mentioned that his players need to be ready and fresh for their number to be called.
“It’s going to be hot, and we’ve got to be able to get some subs in and out, and get our kids some breaks with the conditions that we’re going to have on Friday,” Daniels said.
However, Daniels said the things he will be most concerned with is the performance of Minford’s special teams unit and the ability of the Falcons to bounce back from mistakes over the course of the game.
“I think special teams are the No. 1 concern,” Daniels said. “You don’t get to practice (the phases of special teams) a lot live, and that has me concerned, but we’ve been practicing a little bit of it live this week.
“… It’s going to be hot, we’re a young team, and as a result of those two factors, we’re going to make mistakes. I’m looking to see how we bounce back from our mistakes and if we come out playing with a chip on our shoulder.”