MOUNT VERNON — After a four-touchdown victory to open the 2012 season, Mount Vernon head football coach Anthony Naples doesn’t want to make too many changes.
But, last Friday’s 27-0 victory over Marion Harding was his first chance to see this year’s players in a game situation. So, no matter how well the team played, changes are in order.
The biggest change in Friday’s home opener against Cambridge (7:30 p.m.) will be at quarterback, where junior Greg Briggs will get the nod. Briggs came in for sophomore Greg Dennis in the second half and led the Jackets to three touchdowns.
“(Dennis) was just having a sophomore day,” said Naples. “We told both of them this week that, after a couple of series, if Briggs isn’t doing well, we’ll pull him and bring in Dennis. These two compete. I think you just had a sophomore who saw his first Friday night, and that’s hard for any sophomore.”
Beyond the QB situation, Naples doesn’t plan to make many big changes. That’s especially true on defense, where the Jackets shut down a Harding offense that featured three skill position players being scouted by Division I colleges.
“Our whole defense is really disciplined,” said Naples. “Our D-line was disciplined, which is what we talked about all week. Obviously, that doesn’t stop at Week 1. But it was good to see us do that in that first game and have some success.”
Defensively, Cambridge uses five defensive backs — an unusual setup in high school football, but one that’s necessary in a league with such powerhouses as Dover and New Philadelphia.
Mount Vernon’s strength in offense is the running game. J.D. Orr scored twice on long runs last Friday, while Jordan Crabtree punched one in from a yard out.
For the Jackets to move the ball effectively, it’s going to come down to the offensive line’s ability to hold its blocks.
“They’ve got to block and they’ve got to drive,” said Naples. “If that doesn’t happen, I don’t care who we’re playing, we’re not going to win. We tell them to get a hat on a hat. Get moving, push them back.
“We’re fortunate in that four of the five (on Mount Vernon’s line) don’t play defense. Our whole concept is getting the line to do what it needs to do, knocking people back.”