Columbus East wide receiver Cameron Wilson made the perfect move, shaking off his North defender and opening a 5-yard cushion during the second quarter Aug. 29.
The Olympians’ mash-and-dash rushing game was working perfectly, so it wasn’t surprising that the Bull Dogs were fooled by a deep pass route.
It would have been a touchdown, too, but East quarterback K.J. McCarter hung the ball up a little too long, and Wilson had to hold up, eventually being caught after the catch for a 29-yard gain.
“Coach (Bob) Gaddis always says, ‘You don’t want to miss a layup,’” McCarter said with a laugh. “I don’t regret (throwing the ball short).”
While East’s rushing game is firing on all cylinders, averaging 418 yards per game, the passing game hasn’t really been needed. So it’s not a huge surprise that the timing isn’t perfect.
“We’ve been pretty conservative going into the first couple of games,” Gaddis said. “But we feel pretty good about where we are (in the passing game). I think K.J. has managed the game well, but there are going to be games where we turn him loose more.”
Columbus North coach Tim Bless would like to see his team be able to turn it loose a bit in the passing game, but the Bull Dogs are completing only 48.6 percent of their passes.
“It’s important for us to have a high percentage passing attack, and we need it to be just that,” Bless said. “We need to complete 60 percent of our passes and have a three-to-one touchdown to interception ratio.”
The Bull Dogs have yet to catch a scoring pass this season, and three passes have been intercepted.
“Our timing is a little off,” North junior quarterback Mitchell Kelley said. “And I know it’s important for us to keep safeties and secondaries honest.”
Perhaps North’s biggest problem to solve will be getting the ball to senior wide receiver Weston Moore, who has just one catch in the first two games. Moore is expected to be one of North’s key offensive weapons this season.
North tight end Drew Schoeberl has six catches in two games but for only 43 yards. It will be interesting to see if North can get him the ball farther down the field.
Primarily a running team, it isn’t likely that North will throw 30 passes tonight against host Bloomington North, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Bless call a few more shots down the field to Moore and Schoeberl.
Gaddis, meanwhile, probably isn’t going to turn loose his best receivers, such as Wilson, Steven O’Neal and Karson Kamman. The Olympians will be huge favorites tonight over visiting Seymour, and the running game most likely will get the job done.
If East gets ahead as expected, it also doesn’t look good to work on the deep passing game with a big lead.
“We’re always trying to play with good sportsmanship,” said Gaddis, who noted that his team will continue to work on its passing game in practice, knowing that it could be a big key down the road.
“We’re going to need it,” Gaddis said. “And we do work really hard on it.”