Coach Currie asked the boys to come out firing from that start in this game and they did they do just that.
An opening kick return touchdown by Jay Armitage capped off by a 2-point covert from QB Nolan Zen to Joaquin Sousa gave the Highlanders a 8-0 lead out of the gates. Carson Graham answered back with a touchdown on their next drive, but failed to convert the 2 point try maintaining the Highlander lead.
Even with the Carson Graham Eagles score our JV Highlanders bubbled with confidence, turned to a strong run game, dominated the time of possession and methodically march down the field.
Our offensive line came to play with a chip on their shoulders and ended this long drive by parting the seas and giving Ben Mason a beautiful hole right up the middle to power his way into the end zone for our second score of the day. Unable to convert the 2 point. The score sat at 14-6 heading into the second quarter.
Carson Graham turned to a strong run game of their own and unleashed their main weapon in their running back # 25 Darius Ndrade. Full credit to the Carson Eagles running back who found lanes and broke arm tackles all game long for over 200 yards on the ground.
The JV Highlanders struggled defensively all game long. Our tackling was sub par. You cannot control the game by trying to grab jerseys and arm tackle instead of wrapping up properly. The JV Highlanders tended to watch as a teammates tried to make a tackle instead of join in, gang tackling and making sure they all played whistle to whistle. Gang tackling and being smart and aggressive to the ball are always on of the keys to winning.
The first half was balanced with neither team excelling on defence but both proving to be offensive forces. The JV Highlanders got the ball back late in the 2nd quarter, managed to get the score tied at 14 to 14 and drove down to the 6-inch line with about 10 seconds to go in the 1st half. A quarterback sneak by Nolan Zen for what we all thought was a TD was called back with a flag for pushing the player and assisting him over the line. The jury is out on the call, but you must respect the officials. The coaches will certainly be pouring over the film to watch that play.
Coming out of halftime the JV Highlanders knew they were going to be in for a battle. The coaches preached tackling and dominating on the offensive and defensive line. The second half we continued to have issues wrapping up and tackling. This led to big plays by Carson Graham who continued to pound out a successful ground game.
On a positive note, the JV Highlander offence continued to click for the most part as Nolan Zen threw a touchdown pass to Jay Armitage and later in the game, Joaquin Sousa was able to collect a fumble recovery in the end zone for our 4th TD of the game followed by a successful 2 point convert to give us 28 points on the day. The offence never gave up and continued to fight for every inch on the field.
The theme of the second half was the same as the first half… tackling. The JV Highlanders struggles finishing off on defence and unfortunately allowed the Carson Eagles to continue to score every time they got the ball and late in the game at time we could only match them with punts. Officiating should never determine a game but at time the coaches felt that the calls weren’t going the Highlander way. The JV Highlanders battled hard despite of this and the team kept their composure.
Coach Curries thinks this game, despite the seemingly lopsided score was a very well played game by the JV Highlanders. It was a very tight battle for 3 quarters of the game until Carson started pulling away. Coach Curries (as always) is very proud of the way our offensive Line played. The offensive line dominating Carson Graham's defensive line. This allowed some great runs by Ben Mason and Joey Craddock and allowed them to find their lanes and make big impacts in the run game.
Nolan Zen was on his game as well, spreading the ball to at least 5 different receivers throughout the game and moving the sticks to keep our offense on the field.
This game was one of those games where the score doesn’t match the exciting take-aways for the players and the coaches. Offensively we need to take this strong performance and apply it to Handsworth next week. Defensively we just need to get back to fundamental tackling and being aggressive to the ball.
Coach Currie knows we have lost that in recent weeks. We have had many players not coming or not participating in Monday practices where the bulk of our live hitting drills take place. We all know that when this Highlanders team takes that next step and starts putting together a complete game for 4 quarters, we will no doubt be powerful team on the North Shore.
Pride ~ Respect ~ United
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