CENTERBURG — A classic showdown between two unbeaten teams occurs this Friday when the Lucas Cubs and their coach, former Mount Vernon coach Scott Spitler, roll into Centerburg for the Trojans’ home opener Friday at 7 p.m.
The Cubs offense put up 49 points in its season-opening win against Plymouth last week. The Trojans’ defense, on the other hand, smothered Cardington in a 28-3 triumph on the road to start 2012. Trojans’ coach Jim Stoyle knows that the Cubs pose a unique challenge.
“(Lucas runs) an unusual offense,” said Stoyle. “It’s a double-split, double-tight, double-wing. They have three real nice running backs who are seniors (Sam Patterson, Lev Harris and Alex Sauder.) They’re really going to line up and come right at you.
“Our guys are going to have to play assignment football, stay low, tackle low and gang tackle. That’s one thing we did well last week. We always had nine, 10 or 11 helmets around the football each time.”
After replacing eight players on offense and seven on defense, the Trojans have much growing to do. That was apparent last Friday, despite the win at Cardington. The Trojans have two challenges against Lucas: Learning the Cubs’ offense and executing their own. The latter may be the more difficult of the two.
“(Lucas) is a little bit different, offensively, than what we will see for the rest of the year,” said Stoyle. “Last year, it took about a quarter and a half to get adjusted to it. It’s hard to simulate in practice, but we will continue to work hard at it and, hopefully, we can get some stops.”
Stoyle will continue his running back by committee offense, which allows him to rotate in fresh, reliable legs throughout the game. Centerburg’s 210-pound running back, Joey Valentine, and his speedy teammate, Jeremy Sesma, both rushed for over 60 yards last week. The pair combined with quarterback Tyler Stoyle to roll up 203 yards on the ground.
“Tyler is definitely what makes us go,” said coach Stoyle. “He’s an extention of the coaching staff on the field. He knows the offense inside and out. He does things that a lot of kids aren’t able to do on the field at that position. Jeremy has the speed that can make guys miss and get going. Joey has some shiftiness in him. Our third running back is junior Austin Glasscock, and he seems to be a combination of the two.”