Jordan: Time-consuming drives vital for Grove City
Grove City High School football coach Matt Jordan realizes it will be difficult for his defense to slow down Westerville South when the teams meet Friday, Sept. 7, at Wildcat Stadium.
The Wildcats' spread offense has averaged 51.5 points and 550 yards in the team's 2-0 start.
With that in mind, Jordan said it's crucial for his triple-option offense to sustain time-consuming drives to keep the ball away from the Wildcats as much as possible.
Grove City had modest success with that strategy last year while beating South 41-34.
"Offensively, our job is to move the chains and keep the ball away from their offense, because Westerville South has so many weapons that it's hard to stop them for very long," said Jordan, whose team beat Westerville North 41-7 on Aug. 31 to improve to 1-1. "The more opportunities they get, the more likely they are to score, so we've got to control the clock and make sure their offense is sitting on the bench for long periods of the game."
With junior guards Brandon Glover (6-foot-4, 328 pounds) and Jared McCoy (6-5, 335) on the offensive line, the Dawgs will attempt to wear down South's 4-3 defense with the run.
Grove City rushed for 211 yards on 35 carries and passed for 196 yards against North, as quarterback Cameron Meece scored twice on 1-yard runs.
Running back Jake Sayers also established career highs in rushing and receiving yards by rushing for 75 yards and a score on nine carries and catching two passes for 100 yards and a touchdown.
"It's important that we make the right reads against their defense because Westerville South brings the heat almost every play," Jordan said. "All of their linebackers are fast and we need to account for everyone because they bring six guys pretty often."
South coach Rocky Pentello will count on linebackers John Edwards and Kamaree Walden to recognize whether they need to converge to stop the run or drop back to help the secondary defend the pass.
Safety Marcus Ball is perhaps South's most dangerous defender, as he intercepted two passes during the Wildcats' 48-21 victory over Clayton Northmont on Aug. 31 and returned the second one 38 yards for a score.
"Grove City's a big, physical team with some talented players and their size up front could be a problem," Pentello said. "The key for our defense is getting them off the field as quickly as we can. Our whole defense is fast. We need to stay aggressive, but we also need to stay disciplined because Grove City throws the ball well, too."
South wide receiver Garry Brown, a Division I recruit who had 10 catches for 199 yards and two touchdowns in a 55-14 win at Groveport on Aug. 24, didn't play against Northmont. Neither did defensive lineman Jordan Rodriguez.
Pentello declined to comment on why they didn't play or when they might return.
Jordan said his defense is preparing as if Brown will play.
With linebackers Tyler Conner, Chad Moore and Vennie Sapp and defensive back Payton Bowyer leading the way, the Dawgs will try to pressure South quarterback Nick Renzetti.
In two games, Renzetti is 47-for-67 passing for 778 yards with eight touchdowns and one interception.
Besides Brown, Renzetti's primary targets are Jalen Bell (14 catches, 310 yards, 4 touchdowns), Ball (9 catches, 132 yards, 1 touchdown), Torrodd Carter (7 catches, 65 yards, 1 touchdown) and Darryl Long (6 catches, 66 yards).
"The guy who pulls the trigger for them (Renzetti) is very good, so we can't let him get into a rhythm against us," Jordan said. "Westerville South has athletes everywhere, so we have to be prepared to tackle in space. If we don't do that, it's going to be a long night."
Even though his offense has been productive, Pentello said the Wildcats are going to utilize some new plays against Grove City.
"We're tweaking things every week to try and get better," he said. "Nick's put the ball there for our receivers and they've done a good job of catching it, but we need to run the ball a little better and that's something we're working on."