Independence sees similarities in second round
By Austin Stanley, for the Williamson Herald
Senior kicker Drake Dormann (20) has been a factor in several Independence victories this season. Should tomorrow night's game with Overton come down to a last minute kick, Dormann, shown here with his holder Kent Katzman (5) could be the weapon that keeps the Eagle season alive. Bill Dorsten
After an exciting opening round playoff win on the road at Rossview last week, Independence now travels up I-65 to undefeated Overton for Round Two.
In the 35-25 win, the Eagles (8-3) faced a Rossview’s Isaiah Johnson, a running back that rushed for over 2,000 yards on the season. The Bobcats (11-0) have a stud running back of their own.
Justin Martin has run for 1,745 yards and 25 touchdowns this year. Independence Head Coach Scott Blade acknowledges these similarities help preparation in back-to-back weeks.
“There are a little bit different formations from Overton but the schemes are very similar,” Blade said. “The skill set of (Johnson and Martin) are real similar. Overton has a real fast quarterback, a running quarterback. Rossview had (a running quarterback) as well as a real talented running back. There’s a lot of similarities that are going to carry over from last week to this week we hope.”
Overton’s running quarterback, Ugo Amandi, has over 500 rushing yards and poses as a real threat that offsets Martin. Facing such running attacks with speedy quarterbacks requires discipline and awareness from a defense to keep an eye on the deep pass.
“We want to make sure everybody’s playing their job to the best of their ability,” Blade said of his defense. “Every once in a while they are going to pull it down and chunk it out there. We just have to make sure we’re in position there. That’s part of it. Corners can’t get lulled to sleep knowing they have plenty of speed and a guy that can throw it.”
Overton’s defense has the responsibility of stopping a very potent Independence offense that flourished through the air last week. Quarterback Andrew Bunch threw four touchdowns and athlete Vic Wharton connected with Rashaan Gaulden for a score as well. The Bobcat defense only gives up an average of under 12 points per contest.
“They have a nice sized and athletic defensive line and linebackers,” Blade said. “All those skill positions they have on offense they all play in the secondary so they have a ton of speed back there as well. We haven’t really seen a 40 front a ton this year. Most people run a 3-5 but we run a version of a 40 front so our kids are very familiar with it.”
Blade and his staff see this week of practice as another opportunity to get better. Being a young team at the beginning of the season, the Eagles have come a long way in their growth. Currently on a five game win streak Independence is still pushing to improve.
“It’s nice when you’ve got a team that still hasn’t reached their ceiling and are still trying to get better,” said Blade. “I think that’s what we’ve got. We’ve got a lot of young kids. Mixture of young and upper classmen that are still willing to come out there every day and give their best.”
This isn’t the first time Blade has played Overton and Coach Terry Anderson. While Blade was at Hillsboro (’04-’08) he was 3-0 against Anderson’s Bobcats.
“It’s been a while (since facing Anderson). He’s done a great job over there. He’ll have his kids ready and they’ve seen our schemes and they kind of know what we’re trying to do. There is some familiarity there. Obviously, he’s got some real talented kids this year that are difference makers. I think if you take us coaches out of it both teams have some game breakers and we’ll see who comes out on top.”
Posted on: 11/14/2013