Coverage Breakdown: Vardaman @ Sebastopol
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Trae Owen | QB
The Vardaman passing game had some success last week in their loss to Nanih Waiya. Trae Owen found Kody Townsend on a Hail Mary touchdown to conclude the first half and found Wesley Casey and Michael Williams throughout the night as well. Owen and the Rams’ passing game had stalled in recent weeks, but it helped provide a much-needed balance to their offense against a talented Nanih Waiya team. Owen will need his arm as well as his legs tonight to give Vardaman the best shot to win.
Patrick Pratt | RB/CB
It seems like we talk more about Patrick Pratt each week. Pratt’s skills on the ground and 18 career interceptions on defense make him one of the most dangerous players in 1A football. It has oftentimes been the speed and running ability of Pratt that has given the Vardaman offense life this season. If Sebastopol wants to upset the Rams, stopping #4 will be a huge priority.
Michael Williams | FB/LB
The Rams have incorporated wide-receiver-turned-fullback Michael Williams more in their offense in recent weeks. Williams has made a huge impact in both the rushing and passing games and oftentimes will be called on to run screen routes. On defense, Williams is a punishing hitter and makes ball carriers and returners pay seemingly every week. Williams could put some points on the board tonight and will play a large role in slowing down the Bobcat offense.
Austin Wilson | QB
The Bobcat signal-caller has not had an easy season to this point. He has thrown 14 interceptions paired with only four touchdowns. Despite the turnover problem, Wilson is good enough to make defenses pay if he is given time to throw. Wilson has playmakers that he will feed the ball early and often, so the Vardaman defense will have to be on its toes.
Javiers Johnson | RB
If there has been a bright spot in the Sebastopol offense this season, it has been Javiers Johnson. Johnson has rushed for 820 yards this season and seven touchdowns. Of his massive yardage total, Johnson has rushed for 100+ yards in five different games this season. Sebastopol’s offense will gain its spark from Johnson tonight, and his level of play could be the difference in the game.
Joseph Leach | QB/RB
It is important to keep your eye on Leach for a different reason than the two Bobcats listed above. Leach is second on the team in rushing yards with 237, but one of his more important roles may be at quarterback. While Austin Wilson takes the majority of Sebastopol’s snaps, Leach will come in at quarterback for the Bobcats from time to time. He has thrown one touchdown and four interceptions on the season, but if the Bobcat offense begins to stall, the coaching staff may opt to play the speedier of the quarterback choices in Joseph Leach.
KEYS TO THE GAME
Turnovers—Both Vardaman and Sebastopol have experienced turnover problems this season, but tonight, taking care of the football is especially crucial. The Bobcat offense has combined for five passing touchdowns and 18 interceptions on the season, which is not ideal. They are also facing one of the best secondaries in 1A that just so happens to be spearheaded by a man that has intercepted 18 passes in his career. If Sebastopol gets in a lot of passing situations, the Vardaman defense could make them pay.
Running backs—The Rams and Bobcats both thrive off their ground game. Sebastopol will feed Javiers Johnson all night in an effort to wear down the Vardaman front-seven. Vardaman will use Pratt, Williams, Owen and Kody Townsend in healthy doses on the ground, and their various motions and formations can give defenses fits. A balanced offense is important, but “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” We’ll have a lot of tired running backs tonight when the clock hits zero.
Quarterbacks—Although the run game will be the lifeblood of both teams’ offenses tonight, the field generals cannot take the night off. Trae Owen, Austin Wilson and Joseph Leach will have to show up and show out when called on in the passing game. We may not see a lot of passing, but when we do, the plays have to be efficient in order for the offenses to stay on schedule. If either team utilizes the play action off of their run-heavy offenses, we could see some big plays.
Patrick Pratt—Not only will Pratt carry the Vardaman offense on his shoulders tonight, but he could come away with some more interceptions to add to his career total. Will the Bobcats risk throwing the ball his way?