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I guess if I enlighten you with the news that the Columbus East football team is really good, you might hit me with the following reaction.
Yes, the sun came up Saturday morning and the Olympians proved once again that they are a formidable force with a 49-21 dusting of Bloomington North.
Oh, and East runs the ball a lot. Forty-six running plays, seven passing plays (four completions for 52 yards).
Oh, and Markell Jones is pretty good. Five touchdowns and 260 yards of good.
But while it can be fun to talk a lot about East, the real focus is North. Should the forecast for the season be pain?
I’m sure after one game, some fans are ready to tank the season. Fortunately, the Bull Dogs don’t roll that way.
No, I’m not going to say the Bull Dogs don’t have some legitimate concerns, but there really was a lot of good during that 34-32 loss to Plainfield, if you chose to see it.
North doesn’t have much speed, true. Remember, though, that inexperienced players often look slow, even though they have decent foot speed. Playing defense is about analyzing the play and then reacting.
That’s why you hear that some players look pretty fast in a football uniform even when they record fairly slow 40-yard dash times. They process the information very quickly.
Anyone watching Plainfield running backs Josh Miller and Jacob Maple make like Usain Bolt, probably feel that North’s defenders were wearing steel-toed work boots. Part of the problem, though, was that the defenders just didn’t react very well to what was happening.
Once they did react, the path they took to the ball was botched. After multiple film sessions with Tim Bless, that is going to change.
Bless isn’t going to wave a magic wand and find a couple of 4.5 sprinters on the roster. What he will do is coach up his players to make better decisions and to react faster.
Here’s the main deal. If you add up all of Plainfield’s offensive plays of five yards or less, you get 28. The Quakers had 14 plays of five yards or more. They had six plays of 20 yards or more.
North is playing solid defense two-thirds of the time. On those plays, they don’t look so slow. Then there was the issue of poor tackling. Two of those long touchdowns never should have happened.
As this North team improves, those numbers are going to change. It’s a given the Bull Dogs are going to be gouged for some long plays. But they need to cut six plays of 20 yards a game to three. That is going to happen with good coaching.
Meanwhile, a bruising offensive rushing attack will continue to get better. Did anyone see the look that sophomore tailback Tyler Wang gave the team? Wow.
Wang might be a shih tzu-sized player, but he has some dynamic moves that will give a great contrast to the power running of Michael Vogel, Jonathan Byers and Kaleb Steele. North scored 32 points, after all, and should have scored more. With Wang playing a slightly bigger role, this offense will continue to improve.
It’s also the kind of offense that can eat up the clock. That is going to help the defense in the long run.
Unfortunately for North, the long run isn’t measured by a week. The opponent on Friday? East.
Maybe the sun won’t come up.
Jay Heater is The Republic sports editor. He can be reached at email@example.com or 379-5632.
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