Football notebook: EC having best season since 1991
By John O’Malley Post-Tribune correspondent October 10, 2012 11:47PM
Griffith's Austin Brown is brought down by Lowell's Josh Bottos in the end zone at the ed of the second quarter on Friday, in Griffith. This score cut the Red Devils lead to 7. | Scott R. Brandush~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 12, 2012 12:11PM
If Griffith’s Austin Brown runs wild against E.C. Central, it won’t be because the Cardinals weren’t prepared to deal with the talented quarterback.
“He’s a phenomenal football player and a tough guy to stop,” Cards’s coach Stacy Adams said. “He’s played running back and been a receiver for them at times, too. They like to run the option. The only way to beat an option team is to be disciplined and tackle their skill guys.”
After getting burned by Brown and the Panthers a year ago, especially in the second half, Adams and his players apparently learned somewhat of a lesson.
“We’ve been practicing without a football this week, that way, our defense has to react,” Adams said. “We’re attacking with our guys (against our scout team) without the ball. As soon as you think the fullback has the ball, Brown will pull it out and he’s gone. Once you look at the ball, you’re done.”
The Panthers (3-5) have had an up and down season — although more up than down in recent weeks — but would obviously love nothing more than to hand the Cards only their second loss.
“Our kids are really looking forward to this game,” Griffith coach Jim Pickett said. “They kind of fell short the last couple games. Injuries killed us at the end of the Andrean game.
“The kids have been working really hard in practice and they’re excited. They’re excited about this time of year with the playoffs starting next week. Our kids are very interested in this game. They want to set the tone Friday night for the playoffs. East Chicago is a tough team. They have a lot of speed. It should be a good game.”
The Cardinals (7-1) are enjoying their best season since 1991, when they went 10-1 and had their season ended by Crown Point — coached by Brad Smith.
If these two teams win their first two sectional games, they could meet again in the Class 4A, Sectional 9 title game.
“Hopefully, the mistakes we make in the Griffith game this week, will help get us ready for our sectional opener with Hammond,” Adams said.
Maybe this week? Morton coach Roy Richards is hoping his team can turn its season around this week and head into the postseason on an upbeat by beating host Gavit (3-5, 1-1) in a Great Lakes Athletic Conference game.
The Governors (3-5, 1-1) have had a disappointing season so far. The team’s defense has been porous from the start. Five offensive players were suspended a few weeks ago for an undisclosed reason. While three of those players returned, the last two will be back Friday.
“Yeah, it’s been a disappointing year,” Richards said. “Things just haven’t gone like we thought they would. The frustration hits, but it’s really not any one person’s fault — it’s our fault collectively. It’s our job to turn it around together if we can.”
When asked if he thought the Govs could do that, Richards didn’t hesitate.
“I think so,” he said. “I think we can. We feel like we’ve run into one or two teams that were just better than us, but in our other games, we’ve run into teams who have just executed better than we have. We’ve had more turnovers and more penalties against every team that’s beaten us. I don’t think we we’re pressing, because the other team’s were so good. I just think we’re not executing like we should and they have been. You can’t give the opposition added opportunities to beat you and we’ve done that every game we’ve lost.
“We always feel like this week is the week we’re not going to have those turnovers and penalties, but then we’ll have them again. We’re just not giving ourselves a chance to win. It’s strange. In the year you’re 11-1, you either don’t fumble or you recover your own fumbles. When you’re 3-5, and you fumble, you don’t recover those fumbles.”
So how does Richards plan on winning this week?
“We’re trying to simplify everything to try and eliminate the possibility of mistakes and then just try and see if we’re simply good enough to win on both sides of the ball,” he said. “We have a lot of confidence in our players. We think if we run the right play and are in the right coverages, we’ll be fine.”