Evaluations of games are messy things to write up on, especially if you want to judge it just by numbers, but last night was more than just another conference test, it was a gut check, with conference titles implications. So lets get to the grades and MVP’s.
Offense-I give the unit as a whole an A because really, they played about as good of a game as you can play. I have to say that Harrison Stewart continues to improve more and more. Last night one thing I noticed about his passes is that on the long balls he is driving the ball vertically more and not so much putting air underneath and that is what I have been wanting to see out of him more. He had his best game as a starter and the running game just adds something so important and Theo Wofford and Richard Cooper are just playing A game running right now. Great effort.
Defense-Solid B. Really there were not penalties and the first drive ENMU just ran right down the field and scored on us, but overall the defense played pretty decent assignment defense and did not allow any long scoring runs. They did a good job tackling as well. Only thing I can say that I would say needs some pretty big improvement is learning how to stop the passing game of running teams. Jeremy Buurma, ENMU’s QB has been running a great offense for 3 years and few teams can stop them, but he can be slowed. I believe last year was probably the best example of that, but the fourth down stop on the hounds last possession was fantastic.
Special teams-Chase Thrasher and Kris Martinez continue to do their job. Let me say something about Martinez, he could leave Commerce as maybe the best place kicker in school history. The kid is a true freshman and can blast extra points and get some long field goals. Another thing, people look at Thrasher’s average yards on a punt, but when you look at how many times he puts punts deep in the other teams territory, that is more important statistically. Also, Buck Wilson is quickly becoming one of the best return men we could possibly have, plus coverage units are playing at a high level. A plus for this group.
Harrison Stewart. Every week his confidence continues to build and he continues to build his confindence in leading the unit, and perhaps the best of all, he can be a passer or a facilitator and can do either one well, last night was his best game from a efficieny standpoint.
Cole Pitts was all over the field last night, and for the first time I believe, he is the MVP. Pitts has been a mainstay for the Lion defense for the past 3 seasons and he had a fantastic game last night. 10 solo tackles and what I love about Pitts probably more than anything is that he has zero fear when mixing it up with bigger guys.
Going with Chase Thrasher on this one, anytime you have a team that moves the ball effectively as ENMU, you need good punting, and Thrasher did his part making sure that ENMU did not get good field position, and with the exception of a early mistake on the kickoff that opened the game, He is a very under-appreciated player, like most kickers are, but when push comes to shove, you need these guys in the clutch, and Thrasher is very reliable.
Another A. Colby Carthel might do the best job of any coaching staff in getting ready for games. Putting a defensive strategy against a team that runs an offense like the Greyhounds is tall order, and once again, the coaching staff in preparation and also in play calling just kept the Hounds on the ropes all night until we knocked them out.