PLYMOUTH — It’s Homecoming week at PHS, and when the festivities finally turn to football, it will likely be anything but social on the field.
Northern Lakes Conference foe Wawasee comes to town sporting a 2-3 record and a little history when it comes to the Rockies.
“They’ve beaten us five times since I’ve been head coach here — that’s more than anybody else we play,” said Plymouth coach John Barron. “I’d actually forgotten that stat until somebody pointed it out to me this weekend. They’ve gotten the best of us the last two years. They’re well coached and they seem to have our number.”
There is likely to be very little subtlety in the approach to the game on the field. Both teams want to run the football. Both teams want to intimidate on defense and as with any NLC game it will be physical.
“We know they are going to want to come out and run the football, and we just have to get them off the field,” said Barron. “They do a great job of misdirection. They’ll pull one guy, they’ll pull two guys, they’ll pull a tackle, and our inside linebackers are going to have to be disciplined. We want to stop the run and make them throw it and then defend the pass.”
The improvement of the Plymouth defense has been an important part of the newfound success of the team. After surrendering an average of nearly 30 points a game in the first three weeks of the season, the Rockies have given up just 6 in the last two games.
“We have to continue to get better defensively,” said Barron. “I think we’re a good team right now, but if we continue to improve on defense we could be a very good team.”
The offense has been a juggernaut the past two weeks and has continued to evolve adding the no-huddle attack three weeks ago and last week running the flex offense with a new wrinkle — the shotgun.
“We call it the pistol formation, and it just gives (quarterback) Ike (Kastner) a little longer to read,” said Barron. “With that extra time he’s got a better chance of making the right read. Also we’d like to improve our passing game, and we think that will help us do that too.
“We like it a lot because we can run our whole offense out of the pistol formation. Really it’s just another look that defenses are going to have to prepare for every Friday.”
“I really believe that we still have our destiny in our own hands and that we’re playing for a conference championship every Friday night, and that’s the way we will prepare for every Friday. It’s going to be a physical game, they’re going to come out and play that 4-3 and we’re going to have to adjust to what they try to take away. Maybe if they start junking up their fronts we’ll be able to catch them in something.”