Morgantown Game Notes - Talk about the midnight rambler

TDHelmick

Hall of Fame Poster
May 29, 2001
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OK, so this one is lengthy. It's after midnight, I have taken a much needed nap most of the day and I'm clinging to a Boise State vs. Portland State late game on the boob tube. I type fast so here ya go...

The Morgantown HS football field is awesome. The school surrounds the field. Stands were pretty full on both sides. My only complaint was that the pepperoni rolls were average. When in Morgantown you kind of expect a little more in that department. FYI, the Morgantown Red and Blue Marching Band is spectacular. They are really good and really big in numbers. Some of my favorite band selections included Proud Mary and Jesus is Just Alright With Me. They were even jamming some Marilyn Manson as they were marching off the field.

field.jpg


Things we already thought were true about this 2019 Fort Hill team appear to be so. The offensive line is the strength and the defense with 11 new starters still has some growing pains to experience. It is the complete flip of a year ago at this time when FH needed great defense and three field goals to beat this same Morgantown team as the offense could only muster one touchdown.

OFFENSIVE LINE
Fort Hill put up over 500 yards rushing Friday and only punted once. The Mohigan defense didn't have any answers. The proof in the pudding was with about 10 minutes to go in the game. Morgantown had just scored a touchdown to cut the lead to 35-23 and had momentum. FH calmly took the ball and grinded out nearly 6 minutes, utilizing every second of the play clock with each snap, before scoring a game closing touchdown to put the game away. The Morgantown defense was whipped...couldn't stop FH to save their life. The FH offensive line has owned both of its opponents thus far. And the ball carriers have combinations of power and speed to take advantage of the blocking.

The Sentinel defense gave up 360 yards, albeit more than half of those came on three big plays. The Morgantown quarterback was big, slippery and could move. They would put him in shot gun and just have him take off up the middle or around the edge , pretty much just a QB draw from the wildcat with no read option, and it hurt FH on several occasions. The kid also had a live arm based on my pregame evaluation but for some reason coaches decided not to throw the ball much this game. Not sure why. The first quarter was like a ping pong match with nothing but multiple 70, 75 and 80 yard touchdown runs by both teams on back to back to back to back series. It was 21-13 with about 5 minutes left in the first quarter and it looked like the final outcome might be 58-55. On a positive note however, once FH made some adjustments Morgantown only scored one more touchdown after that first quarter scoring barrage.

The thing about the spread offense, which Morgantown runs, is this...when the offense breaks through the second level past the linebackers it's just a sprint to the end zone. If the defensive safety can't make the tackle it's six points, which is what was happening to FH in the first half. Even if the safety makes the tackle it's usually a 15-20 yard gain. Morgantown was effective at hurting the FH defense between the guards. These are all new faces on the defense for Fort Hill. They really needed a game like this to figure some things out. This game should go a long way to prepare for what's ahead.

FH PASSING GAME
FH only threw one pass, which was incomplete. That makes three total passes on the year so far. The fan bickering is already starting about FH not throwing the ball. But you have to realize this observation. In the few times FH has tried to throw the ball through two games the receivers are pretty well covered. That says the defense is still concerned about FH passing the ball, they are not selling out to stop the run. Ahhh, HELLO!!! If a team has already put up over 400 yards rushing on 50 straight carries one would have to think the defense would adjust and stop worrying about dropping into coverage. Well, that has not been the case. So FH will just continue to pound the ball right up your gut. Morgantown didn't adjust one time on defense so they got the ground and pound they were asking for. That part was disappointing from a Morgantown coaching standpoint. Have you not watched video on Fort Hill? No comment on that one here - sarcasm approved.

BREVEN STUBBS
With every breakdown I have posted this early season, there has never not been a mention of sophomore Breven Stubbs. This guy looks like a gazelle running and leaping over lions and sage brush. Dang, this kid hits the hole super quick. There are two types of speed. One is straight ahead speed another is shifty quickness in tight spaces. Stubbs has both. I hate to make this comparison but he runs like a mini-Sweetness for da Bears fans. If you look back on FH football through all these great Coach Appel seasons I would say some of the very best teams had that Ty Johnson or Brayden Brown mph. Because with that speed, defenses now have to respect both the inside and the outside on every hand off. FH can now go sideline to sideline running the ball again. They didn't have this the last two years on the edge. Breven Stubbs is a D1 college prospect if he can dig deep into the off-season FH training program. He needs some weight in those britches but this kid has it. What an incredible jump he has made from time on the 9th grade freshman team last year to where he is now. What people are also starting to notice is his ability as a cover corner. In fact, I might go so far to say Stubbs is even better at cornerback. He has a very natural gift of getting his head turned when the ball in the air, something few can do at a young age or even at the next level. With his quickness he is always on his man. Had a huge interception against Morgantown. When coaches told me this summer he hand clocked a 4.41 forty yard dash I didn't believe it. I believe it. Few at the NFL combine even post that type of speed.

TOP TACKLES
I did see some great tackles by the FH defense mixed in with some bad tackling as well. The three tackles that really jumped out: 1) LB Sheldon Welsh just lowered the boom on the Morgantown running back coming up the middle. You could hear the pop and then the Ohhhhhs from the crowd. That Morgantown running back was never the same the rest of the night. It was a Ronnie Lott type of bone shaker. 2) Austin Slider had a great open field tackle on the big Morgantown QB in the open space. It was like a 3rd and long, the QB scrambles outside where he had hurt FH several times on the night and all 150 lbs of Slider just form tackled him to the ground. Open field one on one tackling on good ball carriers is very difficult. Morgantown then failed to make the first down. 3) Safety Korey Stafford had at least 2 or 3 touchdown saving tackles after Morgantown had started to blister FH up the gut that first quarter. It made a difference. In a situation like that you need a sound tackler at safety more than you need a cover man. Don't be surprised if you see kicker/QB Danny King at safety in obvious passing situations along with more Andrew Smith. Friday night was not one of those cover the pass nights. It was more somebody tackle that dude.

You can see a good handful of young kids on the defense that just need another year in the weight training program. In that program, which is what separates FH from so many, are the same kids who you run into next July and ask who is that guy all jacked up with muscles and washboard stomachs? Oh, that's Stafford, Welsh, Wurtz, White, Stubbs, insert name here. Never fails me as these 160 pound underclassmen become a different man physically their senior year.

MISTAKE FREE
For being so young, this team has been very disciplined thus far. Only one penalty on Friday, only like 3 at Mtn Ridge. They don't jump offside, they don't commit personal fouls, they don't turn the ball over, they are playing with some intelligence.

FILM EXCHANGE
The Morgantown News already ran a game preview on Thursday with a note about FH not sharing film. First, why we still call it film is amazing. It's all digital video as actual plastic film went out decades ago. I have seen Coach Appel refuse to exchange video on dozens of occasions through the years. Yes, it is a simple matter of putting in the work while others do not and expect a hand out. Although that hand out is considered an unwritten gentleman's rule that seemingly 95% of America follows. There is no denying it offends opponent's coaching staffs and it can make it hard to ever schedule those teams sometimes. Cathedral Prep are you reading this? Sure as heck FH has sent a coach over 4 hours away to get that video. Coach Appel grew up when I did. He still has an older way of thinking. It wins games. The same type of stuff New England Coach Bill Belichick would do and take black eyes for it while collecting trophies. It's all strategy. You don't have to like it or approve of it but you cannot deny the results. This is 2019. It is so easy to get video of FH from other opponents. While coaches and other admins again tell me it is an "unwritten" rule to exchange video they leave off the part that says it is also an unwritten rule to NOT exchange that video with the other team's opponents. But they all do it. If you are not familiar with how Hudl works it only take a simple click of the mouse to request a game video. FH could ask for all of the video from the Hollidaysburg opponents and with a simple click of the mouse the other teams send it...no need to even ask Hollidaysburg. There would be no need for FH to pay a coach to go record a game when a simple click of the mouse does the same thing. C'mon Morgantown. I bet someone gave you the FH video from Mountain Ridge and both scrimmages if you just clicked the Hudl mouse.

If FH did decide to send the film, they should actually send the entire film reel. None of the opponents would have a film projector to run it on anyway.

COACHING RUMORS
If one more person asks me if Coach Appel has stepped down I'm going to make them watch practice film every day. Stop. When it comes time for the ole ball coach to call it quits it will be front page news, not based on a South Cumberland rumor circling the GFC. When that time finally comes FH will be in good hands. Todd has earned the right to step down on his own terms. But like I said after the Quad, if he could read this I would tell him outside of the love for his family, I have never seen his soul happier than when the ball is being snapped or when his players surround him. Not sure if he knows it but he was born for those moments and few know more about football at this level.

This was the last year for the Morgantown contract. They didn't want to renew. I'm told they also dropped Parkersburg so who knows what scheduling direction they desire or the reasons. Morgantown has also folded freshman football this year citing a lack of numbers. That is crazy considering the sheer amount of students in their school, band, drill team and student cheering section. The Hollidaysburg game up next represents the third straight road game. That PA atmosphere is every bit as good as the one we just saw in Morgantown. If you have never visited Hollidaysburg on a Friday night it's highly recommended.

PEACE!
Proud Mary keep on burning.
And we're Rolling, Rolling, Rolling on the River
 
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money316

All County Poster
Oct 15, 2017
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Fort Hill's starting safety now understands the 3 strikes and you are out rule. 3 straight whiffs on the Morgantown QB and his night at playing safety was done. Not sure who FH #7 was taking advice from at the fence (every time that he whiffed on a tackle) behind Fort Hill's bench but please start seeking advice from another source. Possibly the coaches....
 

TDHelmick

Hall of Fame Poster
May 29, 2001
6,136
1,700
113
Fort Hill's starting safety now understands the 3 strikes and you are out rule. 3 straight whiffs on the Morgantown QB and his night at playing safety was done. Not sure who FH #7 was taking advice from at the fence (every time that he whiffed on a tackle) behind Fort Hill's bench but please start seeking advice from another source. Possibly the coaches....

Different players have different roles and abilities. Some were born to cover, some were born to tackle. It is very unusual to find a DB that does both really well at any level. Ever watch Deion Sanders try to tackle somebody? He wasn't built for that role.