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Post  E.I.R. on Sat Oct 05, 2013 3:30 am

From reading the Nashua Telegraph this morning, it's clear to me that neither Central nor Meriimack decided to suit up their defense....56-35 was the final score. Jesiah Wade of Central carried the ball 31 times for 556 yards and 6 TD, while Merrimack's QB went 16-35 with 374 passing yards and 4 TD. I don't know about the rest of you but I seem to remember football having 2 other phases - defense and special teams - that involved stopping the guy with the football. But what do I know?

South tops Exeter 28-6. I'm not surprised they won, what with Knight being back to 100% the last few weeks and Exeter's troubles stopping the pass. What did shock me was South holding Exeter to 2 field goals. I knew they were for real, but I didn't realize they had such a stingy D. Like I said earlier, they'd quietly made a good start to their season, and with this win, the "experts" and the guys in charge of voting have to take notice.

Now for my analysis of the BG-Alvirne game, which I actually got to see:
Alvirne's Offense: The first few drives were nothing special. I believe they managed two first downs on their first drive, but one came on blown coverage on 3rd and long and the other came on a 4th down play. They finally started to move the ball with some consistency when they ran the triple option, spelled by the occasional pass or trick play, and their two drives were long, time-consuming grinds. But once they got down in the second half they struggled, and you could tell they were in panic mode, despite not really needing to be. Drives started stalling out, lack of depth caught up to them, and BG's speed and ferocity ended most scoring chances. Travis Cote obviously hadn't played Mark Phillips much before, I don't think BG prepped for certain things, such as Alvirne going for it on 4th anytime it was remotely close, or running right under center whenever they were in short yardage situations (something that Phillips loves to do). A bright spot I saw was Rodriguez (#32) who showed some good stuff running the ball (80 yards on 11 carries), but they also had one drive where their center/QB fumbled the snap 4 or 5 times.
Alvirne's Defense: No playmakers. They had no stop for Anthony Realle or Michael Deveraux running the ball, and Hurley passed with relative success too. They had a few big sacks that stalled BG drives, and they did manage to strip the ball from Housman right before the half, but BG could rip off 5-9 yard runs almost at will all night long.
BG's Offense: As I said above, Realle (#35) and Deveraux (#26) ran all over the Alvirne defense. BG didn't have many big plays, such as last week's 61 yard TD run, which is a credit to Alvirne's D, but they didn't need to either. The Telegraph has Hurley going 9/13 for 89 yards and a TD, which seems about right to me. He impresses me as an athlete, and he managed to rip off the one big play BG did have, a 42 yard option run for the TD. His pass to Aidan Loftus was a beauty, and Loftus made a great jumping catch over good coverage to grab the ball. BG had some mistakes though - a fumble in the redzone at the end of the first half could have given them the lead going into halftime. They allowed Hurley to be pressured and sacked a few times to kill more drives, and one holding penalty stopped another drive. BG ran the clock out on a 40 some-odd yard drive to end the game, running right up the middle. Miller looked like he'd broken a TD run but the refs blew the whistle prematurely so it ended up only getting BG a few yards.
BG's Defense: Always fun to watch. The team speed that was characteristic in the Johnson era is still present, and they did a good job shutting down Alvirne's sweeps and plain outside runs, though the Broncos showed some success with the option. The front 4 for BG did a good job against the run, though they don't have a great pass rusher and the Alvirne QB had way too much time to throw when he dropped back. Kelvin Rivera (#23), who I like on as a runner on offense, got taken advantage of in BG's secondary a few times. Anagnost (#30) had a decent game, he's good in coverage. Kyle Cushion (#10) is another kid I like, he had some big plays last week and again this week. The best part of the BG defense though has to be their interior LBs. John Miller (#36) is a 3rd year starter and he is a solid kid capable of laying a big hit. Ended the first half with a backfield stick of Alvirne's RB. Anthony Realle (#35) is the star of the team though - solid on offense running the ball, but he is a monster on defense. Fills holes, seems to be all over the field, and he stood the RBs up several times and stopped them from going anywhere. He lacks the speed of guys like Mike Kelly or Manny Lattimore, but he still may be the best high school player I've seen play in person.
Interesting Notes:
1) CJ Boykin was dressed and on the sideline for BG, though he didn't play. If he does come back, BG's offense gets that much better, because he has the ability to make a big play anytime he touches the ball, and he can play as a solid CB in the secondary and a good special teams player.
2) I remember reading earlier in the year that Alvirne has a lot of young kids starting for them. If true, I am not at all surprised. The lack of leadership on the field was pretty evident, they didn't have a big playmaker, and they cooled off quickly in the second half. In contrast, Hurley is noticeably in control of the huddle on offense, and it won't take you more than 2 plays to figure out who Realle is if you watch the defense. Deveraux gives them some good leadership too, he's a hard worker and from the few times I've heard him with his teammates, he sounds like a good kid.
3) To the GNGs of the world - I noticed a lot of ex-BG parents, some even from last year's seniors, sporting all red at last night's game. I have nothing against Phillips and would like nothing more than for him to succeed in the long run at Alvirne, but I really do not get the animosity towards Travis Cote. The man took over the program after being hired by Tony Johnson (a fact I think people tend to like to forget) and since then he has gone 18-9, with a championship win and a playoff appearance in his first two seasons. He seems like a good enough guy, insofar as I haven't heard any complaints. Moreover, I think he practices some good sportsmanship - last night when Deveraux and Realle were tearing up Alvirne, he could have run them for a TD to pad stats and make the final 28-14. Instead he spread the ball to other guys, ran up the middle, and took the clock to 0. Get off the guy's back, and get over the fact that Tony Johnson doesn't coach at BG anymore, it's getting ridiculous.

E.I.R.
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Post  JAF on Sat Oct 05, 2013 8:24 am


Good analysis EIR - you forgot to mention the band though :-) In his last 3 games I think Jesiah is close to 1000 yards rushing. According to News9 sports last night the 556 yards/6TD's is a state record - not bad for a d6 guy... The Merrimack QB Club tweet last night that made me chuckle "central breakaway run. Again #25 Kid is fast 28-49"...

Anyway back to the BG/Alvirne game. If not for a muffed snap on a punt, BG may not have scored in the 1st Q last night, but alas these things happen. As I understand it the long snapper isn't the first stringer... Alvirne had another drive stalled with a bad shotgun snap which unbelievably put them 4th and I think 45. I tend to disagree with you about being able to get 5-9 yards "at will" all night long - I would say less so in the first half, but I agree with you about depth being the issue which is why in the second half those runs were possible more often than not. I think Phillips prepared for Wing-T and BG didn't prepare for triple option, which is why both were successful.

BG scores were a result of having to go what 5 yards against a deflated team, a Hurley 40 yard run on an option play, and a 40+? yard pass to Loftus. BG was able to move the ball, but it wasn't with as much ease in the first half... Alvirne was able to mix run and pass when on their two successful drives, but didn't sustain much. Alvirne had some good plays on defense, but I think BG made more - Reale and Miller were monsters and layed some serious licks. Not sure who the DB was that run Alvirne's #17 bell on that pass play, but that was a big hit too. The DE's for Alvirne blocked a couple of passes and forced action upfield sooner than perhaps the BG runner's wanted early on in the game. Alvirne's second scoring drive was certainly aided by what many thought could have been an offensive pass interference call. Now I'm not 5-10 yards away from the receiver and I don't know what kind of contact was being allowed last night in pass routes, but it certainly appeared that the receiver pushed away the defender before catching the ball. It's the "physics" explanation for the sudden change of direction for two objects with mass that meet... Overall, it was an entertaining and competitive game from start to finish. To me that's a lot better than how some games went when my kids played and BG would be up 35 by half and all we thought about was getting out to the tailgate.

As for BG parents in Red - I don't know all of last year's parents, but I can say for those sitting around me - I only know of one that was out right rooting for Alvirne, but that's because their son is a coach on the team. Perhaps also the Head Coach's wife was also rooting for Alvirne, but not vociferously... I ended up putting on a red pullover has the night grew colder, but that's because it's the color of my middle son's college team and it was in my car... I'm guessing you missed week 1 where Migs was in full Alvirne colors helping out Mark. I think it's more a show of support for Coach Phillips than animosity towards Cote. I really don't think anyone wants to go down the route of what did and what should have happened 3 years ago in the AD's office - there's way too much that is unknown and is better left that way.

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Post  E.I.R. on Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:39 pm

As always, the band was impressive. Sometimes BG brings their band and the two playing off against one another....well, it gets ugly.
The muffed snap was a big play. Looked though like the punter may have had enough time to kick it anyway, or to throw it away and at least make BG go the 20-30 yards from the LOS. Either that or he should've taken a safety.
"At will" was a poor phrasing for the whole game. In the second half they moved the ball well, and they owned the LOS in the 4th. In the first half, what I saw, was BG moving the ball, sustaining drives, and then having a bad play force them into 2nd and 3rd and longs, which they couldn't make with their sustained running attack. Also, Cote called a much more conservative game, I thought, electing to punt on 4th downs even if they may have been close enough to go for, whereas Phillips played more aggressively. Can't blame either, the BG punter has a boot, and I didn't know about the Alvirne snapper but that makes sense.
W/R/T the BG scoring. The first TD was a gimme from 6 yards out. The Hurley option play was a big one, but it came on a drive that had already gone 20+ yards. I only saw them run that specific play a few times last night but it seemed to work very well, even if you take the TD out. The pass to Loftus was 29 yards according to the Telegraph, but again, BG had driven from their own territory to the Alvirne 30 before running that play. So 2 big plays, yes, but they came on sustained drives.

It was a very good game. I think BG showed more athleticism and definitely more depth (they have a TON of FB/RB that they switch in and out so it seems like fresh legs always on the ball), and Alvirne played well above what I think anyone expected. That's 2 tough losses in a row for Alvirne, and unfortunately, talking to one of their assistants after the game, they still have a 4 game stretch where they have to play Exeter, Keene, Spaulding, and I believe he said North. Still, not bad at all so far for a team that was last place in D3 last year.
BG had Spaulding next week, coming off a 49-25 win over Winnacunnet. Should be a pretty good game to go watch. The loss drops Winnie to 3-2, so I wonder how much love they'll continue to get from voters (as I've already said, I think they're grossly overrated).

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