PLYMOUTH — A wounded Elkhart Memorial team could do little to stop Plymouth’s Rockies on a Saturday night in Elkhart, but it doesn’t mean it wasn’t a learning experience.
“We could have gone up there and laid an egg,” said Plymouth head coach John Barron. “We didn’t. We’ve played well on the road and that goes to our guys making sure that everybody is focused. It seemed like the week went on forever. I know it was only 24 hours, but there are certain things you do at certain times of the week and it seemed really different.”
The Rockies made short work of Memorial, scoring early and often — especially because of the numerous injuries to starters suffered by the Chargers in the course of the season so far. There were still signs of good things in the win.
“Our perimeter guys block so well and block well for each other,” said Barron. “(Trent) Briles, (Justin) Drudge, (Dakota) Brooke, it really doesn’t matter to them who has the ball; they just block for them. Our guards and our tackles stepped up this week to get Michael (Hartman) to the second line and open up our option game.
“People are trying to get us out of the option. They do more stunts sending a lineman one way and a linebacker another, but as long as we continue to attack the perimeter we should be okay. Our passing game helps. We’re completing a high percentage of our passes and our receivers continue to make plays, and that is very important.”
The defense — that has been so good — will get a new challenge in stopping a high-powered pass first offense in Wawasee on the road this weekend.
“Clayton Cook (Wawasee receiver) is probably a division one or two receiver,” said Barron. “He’s big, he’s strong and he can run and catch. They spread you out — it seems like their receivers are only three yards from the sideline most of the time — and they challenge you to defend it.
“They’re going to take that three to five yard pass every time and when they spread you out to the sideline that way it’s a challenge to stay patient defensively. Our outside linebackers and our safeties are going to be challenged. Their trip set and two by two set gets the ball in the flats on that seal and quick hitter.
“They’re getting rid of the ball in three seconds so it’s hard to get to the quarterback. We are going to be challenged defensively mentally and physically.”