It's the football equivalent of the old shell game, with the
opponent trying to guess where the ball will end up.
"Everybody talks about having a wide-open offense or a conservative offense," said Patterson coach Roger Wrenn. "Well, run a real wide-open kicking game." As Mervo found out in a 28-0 loss to the Clippers.
Take the formation Patterson uses on every placement kick. "The generic football term for it is 'muddle huddle,' " Wrenn said. "We do five things from it."
After end Roger Main teamed up with quarterback Buddy Edmond on a 40-yard pass for the Clippers' first touchdown, Main lined up over the ball to snap to holder Ron Green. The other six linemen and two backs lined up about 15 yards out to the left, making Main an eligible receiver.
The kicker, Edmond, "reads the defense, makes a decision and calls the play," said Wrenn. In this instance, Mervo put two men over the ball, with the rest of the defense out with the Clippers. Green took the snap and flipped it back to Edmond, Main slipped through the two defenders into the end zone, and Edmond fired a pass to him. Bingo, two points!
After their second touchdown, the Clippers lined up to kick off in their "beehive" play. The ball was spotted at the right hash mark and, nearby, the team huddled around the kicker, Edmond, again. Edmond called a play and raised his hand to signal the officials they were ready. When the whistle sounded, the Clippers, still bunched together, moved en masse toward the ball. An onside kick squirted out toward the sideline and all 11 swarmed toward the ball.
Patterson recovered and, though it didn't score on that possession, the ensuing coffin-corner punt by Edmond led to a safety.
Forget scrimmage, let's just kick it back and forth
Southwestern's special teams have been just that on both sides of the ball. The Sabres have blocked a punt in every game this year. And except for their loss to Severn, when the opening kickoff return for a touchdown was called back for a clip, they've returned a punt or kickoff for a score each game. Donnie Blue's 65-yarder on a punt return in a 23-14 upset of St. Mary's was the latest.
Could we chop them into lots of short ones?
Winless Dulaney hadn't scored a point in any of the 17 quarters it had played this year and was on its own 1-yard line. Then Todd Retchless lofted a 30-yard pass, split end Dave Martin and a Dundalk defender both went up for the ball. Martin came down with it, the defender fell, and Martin put a shoulder into the Owls off-balance safety. As he ran down the sideline on a warm afternoon, Martin began to tire. But the Lions' Jeff Clary was trailing and screened off two pursuing defenders. The 99-yard play from scrimmage was the Lions' first score of the season, and can't be beaten as the area's longest of the year.
"I don't think he had another yard in him," said Dulaney coacChuck Klimek.
Just to show what kind of shape he's in, Clary had a 95-yarkickoff return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, giving the Lions three for the game and their first win, a 20-14 upset.
What's a guy have to do?
Cardinal Gibbons' Eugene Marshall had 102 yards rushing and a touchdown called back on the first two plays of the game because of penalties away from the action against McDonogh. But he picked up 103 more on 21 carries with two touchdowns as the Crusaders won in overtime, 23-20, on Kevin Holderfield's 24-yard field goal.
Any simpler and they'd just fall on the ball
Owings Mills found itself with no healthy quarterbacks for the second half against Sparrows Point so senior wide receiver Rob Levy, who had never before taken a snap, volunteered.
"We took him in at halftime and worked on three plays," saiEagles coach Ray Groszkowski. "We just ran dives and sweeps all second half."
But Grant Johnson, who finished with 179 yards on 10 carriestook one of those sweeps 89 yards for one of his three TDs and the area's longest run from scrimmage this week. The Eagles held on to win, 26-14.