football

Grizzlies Roar to 6-0

Cdd2lcxmsh2mzlug04z0
style='font-size:9.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";
background:yellow;mso-highlight:yellow'>Grassfield
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>
115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";background:yellow;mso-highlight:yellow'>
Roar, Roll to Comfortable 14-Point Win:
normal'>
style='mso-spacerun:yes'>
line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Putting their undefeated
record on the line in Chesapeake Friday night, the Grassfield
Grizzlies continued their winning ways this season, moving to 6-0 overall and
5-0 in Southeastern District play after a 35-21 win over the host Western
Branch Bruins (2-4; 2-3).

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>One of only three unbeaten teams in the Eastern Region
along with Peninsula District members Phoebus and Woodside, Grassfield
is in only its fifth year of existence and the program appears to be headed to
the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season.
They took advantage of facing a Bruins team that had played just four
days prior in a close call with King's Fork, and went to a physical ground
attack that quickly wore Western Branch down.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"We kind of felt they had a short week to prepare.
style='mso-spacerun:yes'> We felt like let's come out and see if we can
establish our run, and I didn't think we needed to get away from it," stated
class=SpellE>Grassfield Head Football Coach
normal'>Martin Asprey, relying on a pair of
sophomores in the backfield in Vincent
Lowe and Isaiah Harper as well
as a tenth grade signal caller in Blake
class=SpellE>LaRussa.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"Vincent had a great night offensively.
style='mso-spacerun:yes'> We thought Isaiah Harper had a good night.
style='mso-spacerun:yes'> They're two good running backs.
style='mso-spacerun:yes'> We thought Blake managed the game well
tonight. I think they're figuring
themselves out as the games progress, and we'll see."

115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Grassfield
style='font-size:9.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>
struck first with an eight-play, 80-yard drive in 4:15 as they went exclusively
to the run game to find the end zone.
Harper scored the first of his three touchdowns in the first half.
style='mso-spacerun:yes'> Western Branch answered with a five-play,
60-yard scoring drive in 2:42, which was capped with
normal'>C.J. Thomas' five-yard touchdown pass to Towson commit
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Willie Ponder.
style='mso-spacerun:yes'> From there, it was all Grassfield
and the Grizzlies couldn't be contained.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Despite missing one of their key tailbacks in
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Jonathan Franklin, who is still out
with a shoulder injury but expected back for their next game, the
class=SpellE>Grizz knew the 1-2 punch of Lowe and Harper would have to
get the job done and convert some third downs to move the chains and make their
offense effective. That they did with
Lowe showing great burst, change of direction with ease, stellar speed and some
wiggle, while Harper made excellent cuts and lowered the shoulder on a few
occasions.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"We're used to it," said Lowe, the game's leading
rusher with 111 yards on 12 attempts. "This
is a physical game and you've got to expect one player to go down, the next
steps up. Jonathan, he's our mentor for
Isaiah and me, and he's still on the sideline coaching us up."

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Lowe had 102 yards on the ground in the first half
alone, and Harper chipped in 83 on 13 rushes.
That kept LaRussa to attempting only one pass
in the first half, but when he did go to the air in the second half, his
14-yard touchdown to tight end
normal'>Soren
class=SpellE>Simonsen put the game out of reach, giving
class=SpellE>Grassfield
style='mso-spacerun:yes'> a 35-7 lead less than five minutes
into the third quarter.

Hu64o3epwnj1y2uqq5t8
style='font-size:9.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>
yellow'>Talkin
yellow;mso-highlight:yellow'> the Trenches:
normal'> While they might be called the
big uglies, the play up front was a thing of beauty for Grassfield.
style='font-size:9.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>
style='mso-spacerun:yes'> Football games are often won and lost up
front in the trenches, where the offensive line and defensive line play a critical
role to the outcome because blocking and tackling are two of the main
fundamentals that will either propel or plague a team.
style='mso-spacerun:yes'>

115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Grassfield
style='font-size:9.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>
was able to rush for 235 yards on 44 carries with eight different ball carriers
in large part due to the way they pushed back the Western Branch defensive
front, enabling the run game to take control right off the bat.
style='mso-spacerun:yes'> From left to right, the experienced unit of
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Mark Warack (6-3,
265), Matthew Corwin (5-11, 245),
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Alex McNally (5-10, 210),
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Nick Selby (6-3, 295) and
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Michael Garrett (6-4, 265) made their
presence felt. Warack,
Garrett and McNally are seniors; Selby and Corwin are juniors.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"I've got to give a special thanks to my offensive
line. Those guys are amazing, they're my
brothers and we couldn't do it without them," said Lowe afterwards.
style='mso-spacerun:yes'> "Mark, Nick, McNally, they're all
returners. Coach Asprey
and Coach [Jamie]
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Fraser have been working them hard and
they're doing everything that they need to do."

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>On the defensive line, Garrett along with
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Austin Johnson, d-tackle
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Jerome Williams and
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Ryan Waters made it tough on the Bruins
o-line and running game at times. Of
course, what didn't help Western Branch was the absence of offensive tackle
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Jordan Veal, an All-District level
performer and preseason All-Region candidate.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"Any time you lose a stud like that, a scholarship
player, it changes the complexity of your offense," noted Asprey.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>
mso-highlight:yellow'>Takeaways Turn Into Points:
style='mso-spacerun:yes'> You hear the experts say why it's so
important to win the turnover battle. What
you don't always hear is that it's imperative to cash in on takeaways,
something that the Grizzlies did. They
came up with four takeaways on Western Branch, two in each half, and committed
only one turnover themselves. A team
that finishes +3 in the turnover margin category is going to win more times
than not, it's just that simple.

115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Grassfield
style='font-size:9.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>
was able to stretch its lead from 14 points to 28 with touchdowns off two
turnovers. Lowe made a pick on defense,
and senior corner Dominique Torres grabbed
two interceptions late in the second quarter.
Torres now has eight interceptions over the last 17 games dating back to
the start of the 2010 campaign.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"We've been coming in to work hard at practice every
day, and we're getting better every week," remarked Torres, who gave credit to
some of the d-linemen along with senior linebackers
normal'>Avery Thompson (Maryland commit) and
normal'>Drew Burns as the pressure they helped create forced a few
ill-advised throws by the Bruins. "Defense
wins Championships. We'd be nothing
without our defensive line. We do what
we've got to do."

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>The Grizzlies are not only coming up with takeaways;
they are flat out stumping offenses right now, holding the opposition to 12.5
points per game. In addition, they've
yet to allow an opponent to gain 210 yards of offense on them in a game this
season.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"We don't like to let people score," Lowe pointed out.
style='mso-spacerun:yes'> "We hate seeing people score and stopping
people is what we do. We focus on that
on defense."

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>
mso-highlight:yellow'>Big Matchup Looming:
style='mso-spacerun:yes'> Up next for Grassfield
is a home game against resurgent Lakeland, a 53-3 winner over Suffolk rival
King's Fork on Friday night. At 5-1
overall and 4-1 in the district, the Cavaliers could move into a tie for second
place with the Grizzlies in the Southeastern and further solidify their playoff hopes. Meanwhile, for
class=SpellE>Grassfield, staying unblemished is critical as their
October 28th matchup with Oscar Smith, a team that has won the league title
every year since 2004, might very well determine who gets the #1 seed for the
Eastern Region Division 6 Playoffs.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"We've got a good football team coming in with
Lakeland. Coach [
normal'>Glenwood] Ferebee
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'> does a good job getting them
prepared. I know they'll be ready to
play us and know they have great speed," stated Asprey
afterwards.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"They're 5-1 and their only loss was to a team whose
only loss was to a team out-of-state.
Hopefully it's a great football game.
I hope we don't give up 53 points."

115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Grassfield's
style='font-size:9.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>
players are looking forward to the opportunity to continue to show they are a
threat in Hampton Roads. Their defense
takes on an offense that is one of only two schools in the region to put up 40
points or more four times this season, so they know their work will be cut out
for them. But that's how they want it to
be.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"It's always good for a challenge," admitted Lowe.
style='mso-spacerun:yes'> "As a player, I'm a competitor and would like
to win with a hard challenge rather than blowing somebody out."

style='font-size:9.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>
Stats:

style='font-size:9.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Grassfield
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>
115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'> 35:
9.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Vincent Lowe - - 12Car.
111Yds. TD (10Car. 102Yds. 1st Half); INT
Isaiah Harper - - 18Car. 84Yds. 3TD (13Car. 83Yds. 1st Half)
Marcus Mitchell - - 5Car. 24Yds.
Blake LaRussa - - 2-4 for 38Yds. 1-0TD/Int. ratio
Soren Simonsen - - 2Rec.
38Yds. TD
Dominique Torres - - 2 Defensive INT's
Avery Thompson - - 5 Tackles
Drew Burns - - 4 Tackles

style='font-size:9.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Western
Branch 21:
9.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>C.J. Thomas - - 9-17
for 91Yds. 2-3TD/Int. ratio; 4Car. 37Yds
class=GramE>.
Josh Marriner - - 15Car. 54Yds. TD
(7Car. 18Yds. 1st Half); 2Rec. 10Yds.
Justin Wellons - - 2Rec. 38Yds.
Willie Ponder - - 2Rec. 20Yds. TD
T.J. Boothe - - 2Rec. 12Yds. TD; 3 Tackles, Fumble
Recovery
Deveron Lucas-Jeter - - 7 Tackles
Kenneth Holland - - 6 Tackles, 2TFL, PBU

style='font-size:9.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>
Postgame Audio with
class=SpellE>Grassfield Coach Martin Asprey

 

style='mso-bidi-font-style:normal'>
115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";text-decoration:none;text-underline:
none'>Matthew Hatfield
style='font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'>
has covered Eastern Region Football & Basketball since 2004 for
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Network. Check out
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115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'> for more sports related info and
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