Senators Focus on Falcons, SOC Title

Article taken from The Portsmouth Daily Times, October 10, 2003


Senators focus on Falcons, SOC title

By JASON R. CRISLER, PDT Sports Editor
Minford tries to stay undefeated

Minford coach Bob Ashley knows Portsmouth West’s 3-4 record is a little misleading. He also knows if he and his Falcons are going to finish with the school’s only undefeated season, they’re going to have to play every team like its perfect on the season.
“ They’re getting better every week,” he said of the Senators. “They had to replace some kids and they have some kids coming on. They have a very good football team.”
Minford’s 7-0 record isn’t an issue for the Senators, they have their own goals.
“ You must focus inward at this point, what’s at stake for this year,” West coach Mike Sammons said. “We’re focusing on a conference championship and Minford is standing in the way of that and that is our focus.”
Ashley said his team is staying focused on the game ahead, but can’t help realize the importance of what it’s trying to do.
But with his team traveling to West, Ashley knows his team has to be aware of the Senators’ offense.
“ You have to try to control the line of scrimmage,” he said. “They definitely make you play assignment football. Our kids have to know their responsibility.”
The Senators’ team speed in their option offense can be a hassle for any team. Three running backs, Josh Logan, Jason Bailey and Scott Summers, are averaging more than five yards per carry and have rushed for more than 230 yards.
“ We have to do a better job of executing,” Ashley said. “Our execution hasn’t been where we liked it to be. A big key (tonight) will be field possession and special teams. We just have to run to the football on defense, we have to play all three phases well, they have very good team speed.”
Logan leads the team with 525 yards on 98 carries and four touchdowns.
“ I think we have that capability (to make the big play),” Sammons said. “I don’t think we’ve had that all year. Our offensive line is playing much better and when out backs get in the open field they can make something happen.”
The Senators’ offense can also be dangerous passing when defenses commit to the run. Quarterback Levi Morgan has thrown four touchdowns.
“ (Stopping the big play) is very important,” Ashley said. “It changes the whole feel of the game as far as momentum goes. (West) makes you respect the run so much that when they use the play-action pass, it usually is for a big gain.”
The Falcons have a few weapons on offense as well.
Tailback Dwight Luman has rushed for 731 yards, best in the Southern Ohio Conference, and fullback Hayden Zeis has scored three times on just 33 carries.
“ I didn’t know if there is any weakness in their defense,” Ashley said. “We’re going to try some different matchups. We want to spread the ball around. If we can establish the running game it will open up our passing game.”
Ryan McGraw has thrown for almost 1,000 yards, he enters tonight’s game with 962, and eight touchdowns.
“ He’s dangerous with his feet and his arm,” Sammons said. “I know he hasn’t ran the ball a lot but he’s a dangerous athlete, we have to keep him in the pocket.”
He’s completed 68 percent of his throws, most of which have gone to Matt Lloyd.
The senior has caught 25 balls for 447 yards and seven touchdowns.
To battle the Falcons’ balanced attack, Sammons hopes to limit their opportunities.
“ I would think first down would be a key,” he said. “If they throw, incomplete or we stop them for no gain, second-down and long yardage would be a big key for us.
“ You become one dimensional when it’s second-and-long. When it’s second and short it allows them to do whatever they want to do.”