football

2012 Grassfield Grizzlies Preview

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href="http://matthewhatfield.com/Football/2012_ClassAAA_EasternRegion_HighSchoolFootball_Schedules.pdf">
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mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin'>2012 Eastern Region Football Schedules
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href="http://matthewhatfield.com/Football/2011_ClassAAA_EasternRegion_HighSchoolFootball_Schedules.pdf">
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mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin'>2011 Eastern Region Football Results
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style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Southeastern
District, Eastern Region, Division 6
Head Coach:  Martin Asprey

style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Recent
History:
2009 - -
"Verdana","sans-serif"'>9-3 (lost to Oscar Smith 28-21 in regional semifinals)
2010 - - 8-3 (lost to Woodside 33-18
in regional quarterfinals)
2011 - - 10-2 (lost to Oscar Smith
34-14 in regional semifinals)

style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";
background:yellow;mso-highlight:yellow'>Rewind:
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line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>After missing the playoffs
in their first season of organized football back in 2007, the
class=SpellE>Grassfield Grizzlies under the guidance of Coach Martin
class=SpellE>Asprey have been to the playoffs each year since, twice
making the regional semifinals in the last three years.
style='mso-spacerun:yes'>  Both of those regional semifinal losses were
to Oscar Smith, the eventual Division 6 State Champions.
style='mso-spacerun:yes'>  Grassfield notched
its second ever postseason win by defeating Landstown
17-6 in the quarterfinals last November.

style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";
mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin;background:yellow;
mso-highlight:yellow'>Offensive Outlook:
normal'>
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style='mso-spacerun:yes'> 
line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin'>After averaging 24 points per game and ranking
#17 in the Eastern Region in scoring last year, the Grizzlies have to like
their chances to see those numbers rise with the return of electrifying running
backs Vince Lowe (5-7, 185) and
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Isaiah Harper (5-7, 175).
style='mso-spacerun:yes'>  Lowe averaged 8.4 yards per carry as a
sophomore with 936 yards and 10 touchdowns on 112 carries.
style='mso-spacerun:yes'>  Harper, meanwhile, racked up 744 yards and
8TD's on 141 attempts. 
style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"We
like that one can slash and cut in Vince, and the other way can cut and get
north and south in Isaiah," Coach Asprey said of his
junior tandem in the backfield.  "Both of
them are learning how to play more in the slot, so they're going to get the
ball in multiple ways."
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minor-latin'>

"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin'>Returning
at quarterback is junior Blake
class=SpellE>LaRussa (5-11, 175), who protected the ball well by
throwing only two interceptions in 102 pass attempts.
style='mso-spacerun:yes'>  At the skill positions, to go with Lowe and
Harper, they have receivers Paris Smith (5-10,
160), Markus Webb (5-11, 175),
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Tyler Fink (6-1, 175) and junior
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Joshua Rhea (6-2, 190) as well as tight
ends Chase Simonsen
(6-3, 200) and Demond
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'> Dowson (6-2, 210).
style='mso-spacerun:yes'>  "Hopefully our offense can be more explosive
and stretch the field in a lot of areas," stated Asprey.
style='mso-spacerun:yes'>  On the offensive line, seniors
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Nicholas Selby (6-3, 305),
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Matthew Corwin (6-1, 215) and
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Andrew Hines (6-3, 260) will be doing
their job if they don't get noticed and the Grizzlies find the end zone
frequently.

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mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin;background:yellow;
mso-highlight:yellow'>Defensive Outlook:
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mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin'>  The
class=SpellE>Grassfield defense has earned a reputation of being a stingy
one, not relenting many yards or points at all. 
This year's team doesn't have a star or BCS-level talent like an Avery
Thompson, who's now at Maryland. 
However, the team has solid depth at all three positions on this side of
the ball.  Hines, Selby and
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>A.J. Geressy (5-10,
255) get the nod on the d-line, while it'll be seniors
normal'>Marcus Mitchell (5-10, 205) and
normal'>Blake Pitre (6-2, 210) with junior
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Beltran Skinner (5-9, 185) controlling
things at linebacker.  Known as 'Tex,' Mitchell
is an All-District caliber performer with an offer from D-2 Brevard College.

"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin'>At
cornerback, the Grizzlies will trust Harper and Lowe keep some of the better
wide receivers around in check.  Lowe
made four interceptions a season ago. 
Also patrolling the secondary are Webb,
normal'>Calvin Copeland Jr. (5-10, 165) and junior
normal'>Josh McNair (6-2, 190).  According
to Asprey, how quickly each player can understand their
position will determine the defense's performance.
style='mso-spacerun:yes'>  If the linebackers step up and fill the shoes
of who they lost to graduation admirably, this can be another Top 5 defense in
the region as we've become accustomed to seeing with the Grizzlies.

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mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin;background:yellow;
mso-highlight:yellow'>Date to Circle:
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mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin'>  Outside
of the October 26th matchup with Oscar Smith, the toughest test for the
Grizzlies will probably come on October 12th against a Lakeland team with a lot
of speed and hype going into the season. 
Grassfield won last year's game 27-13, but this
time they have to go out to Suffolk to take on the Cavs, and the Grizzlies
could very well be putting a 6-0 record on the line.

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mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin;background:yellow;
mso-highlight:yellow'>Hat's Hit:
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style='mso-spacerun:yes'>  With Lowe and Harper, the Grizzlies have two
of the fastest kids not only in the district, but in the region.
style='mso-spacerun:yes'>  Both of them are guaranteed to break some long
runs to the house, and they have the capabilities to change a game with on one
move.  Size-wise, Grassfield
doesn't appear to be quite as large in the trenches as they have been.
style='mso-spacerun:yes'>  They'll probably rely on more quick-hitters,
getting guys out in space rather than doing most of their damage between the
tackles and coming at teams with power or a physical style.

115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin'>Grassfield
style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";
mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin'> lost a bunch of
really influential seniors like d-linemen Austin Johnson and Jerome Williams,
LB's Thompson and Drew Burns, and corner Dominique Torres (CNU), who made 11
interceptions over the past two seasons. 
Some have their doubts about this team staying in the second spot in the
district and if the fresh faces are going to be able to be adequate
replacements.  They're expecting
class=SpellE>LaRussa to be efficient at the quarterback position and
take a few extra chances with his arm now that he's a year older and better
familiar with their system.

"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin'>One
of Grassfield's biggest problems is they are stuck in
the same district as Oscar Smith, though the Grizz
have proven to be a consistent winner and contender in a short period of time.
style='mso-spacerun:yes'>  Anything less than another playoff berth
would be stunning because that seems to be automatic at this point.
style='mso-spacerun:yes'>  They've been to the regional semis and want
to go a step further and play in a regional title game.
style='mso-spacerun:yes'>  For that to happen, it may require being on
the opposite side of the bracket as their district nemesis, the Tigers.
style='mso-spacerun:yes'>  To have another double-digit win season, they'll
also have to fend off up-and-comers like Lakeland and Western Branch within the
district as well as city rival Great Bridge.

"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin'>Overall,
Grassfield has shown its worth as a Top Ten team in
the region under Asprey, and it will take someone
playing a really good, sometimes even great game to beat them because they
seldom are going to make a boatload of mistakes or beat themselves.

"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin'>

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115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";text-decoration:none;text-underline:
none'>Matthew Hatfield
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has covered Eastern Region Football & Basketball since 2004 for
href="http://www.virginiapreps.com">
style='font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";
text-decoration:none;text-underline:none'>VirginiaPreps.com
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115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'>, part of the Rivals.com
Network.  Check out
href="http://www.twitter.com/hatfieldsports">
normal'>
text-decoration:none;text-underline:none'>Hatfield's Twitter page
style='mso-bidi-font-style:normal'>
115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'> for more sports related updates,
and you can also read his work in the
href="http://www.suffolknewsherald.com">
style='font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";
text-decoration:none;text-underline:none'>Suffolk News Herald
style='mso-bidi-font-style:normal'>
115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'>. 
To contact Matthew, please e-mail
href="mailto:hatfieldsports2k4@yahoo.com">
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text-decoration:none;text-underline:none'>hatfieldsports2k4@yahoo.com
style='mso-bidi-font-style:normal'>
115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'>, and don't forget to listen to him
on the VirginiaPreps.com Hour every Saturday at 11AM on
href="http://www.espnradio941.com/">
style='font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";
text-decoration:none;text-underline:none'>ESPN Radio 94.1
style='mso-bidi-font-style:normal'>
115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'> plus watch him on the
href="http://www.cox11.com">
style='font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";
text-decoration:none;text-underline:none'>Cox 11 Sports Report
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