10/25/2013 6:01:00 AM Stopping Eagles' rush attack key for KHS football
Kingman High senior wide receiver Joe Scott and the rest of the Bulldogs take a breather after warm-ups at practice Tuesday afternoon. KHS looks to be a step ahead of Flagstaff at 7 p.m. today at KHS.
Matt Hollinshead Miner Staff Reporter
KINGMAN - It's understandable the Kingman High School football team will mostly worry about Flagstaff High School's running game. The Eagles average 209 passing yards per game - if they can connect on short-yardage pass attempts to the side. And "if" is the key word. That's one hurdle standing in the Eagles' way because they're run-oriented. Problems surface when Flagstaff is forced to throw quickly. Under pressure, they have trouble connecting on their passes. They also have difficulties throwing deep and up the middle.
Flagstaff averages just 131 rushing yards per game, largely because of how often they have to pass. KHS head coach David Ward hopes to exploit that when his squad hosts Flagstaff on Senior Night at 7 today. "They don't run big vertical routs," Ward said, noting that strive to move the ball via cross-motions. "Every once in a while, they'll dive into the line. That's pretty much the gist of their offense."
Because Flagstaff heavily relies on short-yardage plays to move from the line of scrimmage, Ward believes his players won't have much difficulty in shutting their offense down.
"Their forte is, they like to run their jet-sweep (plays). Will they pass? Yeah, but not like some of these other teams who'll go vertical," Ward said. "Nothing major. In other words, all quick hitches. If you stop their run, they don't break loose and they telegraph their pass, that's what we'd like them to do. They don't have the personnel like Paradise Valley, where they can go vertical."
On the other hand, Kingman's efforts could become futile if they can't move the ball themselves. The last thing the Bulldogs want is to make split-second decisions to bail them out.
For example, Kingman had a legitimate shot to win with about two minutes left at Mingus last Friday. KHS senior quarterback Tyler Logas threw the ball deep in to Marauders' territory, intending to hit senior wide receiver Joe Scott.
It was a split-second move that didn't pay off as MHS senior defensive back Jesse Rios came away with the interception.
"It's 50-50. The funny thing is, if Joey pulled the ball back, you'd look like a genius," Ward said. "It just didn't work."
Ward also feels if his players establish early momentum running the ball and contain Flagstaff's backfield from the get-go, KHS will be fine.
Mingus' running game buried Kingman early. The Bulldogs don't want that to happen again tonight.