Size and turnovers hurt Bartow football teams
by Staff Reports
Sep 29, 2013 | 1135 views | 0 0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Adairsville football team is now 3-2 on the season.

Both games the Tigers lost were against opponents, Cass and Ringgold, that had a significant size advantage over Adairsville.

The size advantage for Ringgold was magnified when starting nose tackle, Dametrices Pitt, went down during Ringgold’s second drive with what head coach Eric Bishop called a possible high ankle sprain. Pitt did not return for the rest of the game, making stopping Ringgold’s running game even more difficult.

After Pitt left the game, on Ringgold’s second drive, Ringgold’s next three plays were runs between the tackles for 12-, 12-, 9- and 7- yard gains. Those four plays brought Ringgold inside Adairsville’s 5-yard line where the offense scored two plays later.

“Yeah, that’s their strength,” Bishop said when asked if Pitt being out helped Ringgold run between the tackles. “If I had that big of an offensive line, we would do that too. We have a great offensive line and some good defensive linemen, it’s just that, when you’re oversized like that, you can drive the ball three or four yards.”

On several plays, especially in short-yardage situations, Ringgold would put two blocking backs in the backfield along with the tailback. The blockers in the backfield resembled offensive lineman more than running backs, however, and Adairsville struggled to match up on those downs.

The Tigers were only able to stop the Ringgold offense in the backfield twice.

Thirty-six out of 58 Ringgold running plays went for at least four yards, many of them in that 4- to 6-yard range.

The result was slow, methodical drives for Ringgold that ticked precious time off the clock, which was needed for Adairsville to mount a comeback, and prevented the Tigers from finding an offensive rhythm.

OH, WHAT COULD’VE BEEN

Fresh of a six-turnover game the previous week, Cass entered Friday’s game against Dalton with the distinct possibility it would give up the ball less than it did in its fourth game of the season.

The Colonels managed as much, with three turnovers overall — and only two with the game still in doubt.

That decrease notwithstanding, Cass likely learned that it’s not only the turnovers that lead directly to opponents’ scores that doom you, but those that prevent your own scores hurt just as badly.

The Colonels moved the ball against the Catamounts and were largely unimpeded in doing so, finishing with 269 yards of offense — 167 on the ground.

However, a failed drive in the second quarter probably altered the course of the game.

Prepared to answer Dalton’s touchdown drive, Cass marched the ball deep into Catamount territory but fumbled inside the red zone.

While Colonels defensive end Justin Reed wound up returning a fumble 7 yards for a score a few plays later, Cass could have been up by as many as nine points.

Instead, the Colonels led just 9-7 after a missed extra point.

A potential two-score lead may have proved beneficial on a night where neither team actually stopped the opponent’s offense — both teams combined for 656 yards.

More importantly, such an edge may have forced Dalton, a team that is predicated on the run game, to pass the ball more.

To Cass’ misfortune, the scenario never unfolded as the Catamounts simply handed the ball to Kelvis Rhodes. Rhodes (129 rushing yards, four TDs) had two of his three rushing scores late in the second quarter to give Dalton a 20-9 halftime lead.

In the span of a few minutes, the tide turned and it was the Colonels who would have to play catchup — though things could have easily gone the other way.

USING THE BYE

Woodland has a bye this week and will get a break from trading licks with an opponent on a football field Friday night.

It means the Wildcats get a full two weeks of practice before they line up on the field on Oct. 11 for their next football game.

Head coach Vince DiLorenzo said the bye week will give players a chance to work on improving their game as well as a chance to mend from seven weeks of games or scrimmages.

“We’ve got to get healthy,” DiLorenzo said.

The coach said a number of Wildcats have missed games for different reasons such as injuries and some have had to play in new positions on any given Friday night as a result.

He said the players also will work on a lot of areas of their game where improvement is needed.

“There’s no phase of our game that doesn’t need improving,” the Wildcat coach said. “We just have to go back to work.”

DiLorenzo said coaches will do their best to provide a plan that will help the players improve.

“These are our kids and we love them,” he said. “They’re what we’re going to go into the last four games with.

“All they ask from us is that we give them the best plan for them every day at practice and the best plan for them on Friday nights. That’s what we intend to do as a coaching staff.”

Woodland entertains Paulding County on Oct. 11, then plays Lithia Springs on Oct. 18; Hiram on Nov. 1 and Rome on Nov. 8.

Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. for those games.