Posted: 7:28 am Friday, December 4th, 2009
By Jason Lieser
One of the funnier moments this season came when I was sitting in the Glades Central press box and someone bragged to me that the team is “over 50 percent” on extra-point kicks this year.
Glades Central has converted exactly 61 percent of those kicks this season. I honestly don’t have the time to research the area’s average, but I can confidently tell you 61 percent is bad.
When your closest game of the season is a 12-point win and most of your games are blowouts, this seems irrelevant. But if the Raiders ever get into a close game, they’re going to regret leaving easy points on the field.
“That’s a concern, no question about it,” coach Jessie Hester said. “It’s something we’re definitely getting fixed because in the end we’re going to need that.”
However, the Raiders have converted 6 of 10 two-point conversions when they run the ball and 3 of 11 when they pass.
So what’s the point? Just go for two.
I’m not ripping the Raiders. I’m just saying know what you are.
Glades Central is not a kicking team.
Glades Central is a team with an abundance of offensive weapons: mobile quarterback with a rifle for a right arm, two targets at 6-6 or taller (Kelvin Benjamin and Clive Walford) and at least two others who can go up and get a ball against any defender (Greg Dent and Demetrius Evans).
I’ve seen some abysmal punts and field goal tries. Those problems are not solely due to the kicker, Antione Dalfice, either. Any number of details can go awry on a kick. On the Glades Central field goal Pahokee blocked in the Muck Bowl, which Merrill Noel returned for a touchdown, the Raiders only had 10 men on the field. Bad snaps, bad holds, bad blocking can all play a role.
“Most of it is the snap or the hold,” Hester said.
Glades Central’s strengths on offense give it a strong enough chance of picking up three yards on a two-point conversion that they might as well go for it every time.
The raw data says the Raiders convert 61 percent of their kicks vs. 43 percent of their two-point tries, but that’s somewhat misleading. When you see that Glades Central is only 3 for 11 trying to pass the ball in on point-afters, consider that many of those were not true pass plays. A lot of them were kicks-gone-haywire and the Raiders had their holder running for his life and he chucked the ball to the first open man he saw — which is really all he can do in that spot. There is a big difference between that and actually calling a pass play with your first-team personnel on the field.
My best estimate, and it is only an estimate, is that the Raiders have roughly the same odds of converting kicks as they do going for two. Hester actually thinks the team probably has a better chance of converting two-pointers than kicks and he knows better than I do. If the percentages are that close and the payoff is double, why not just ditch kicking extra-points altogether?
“You need the work in game-type situations,” Hester said. “Even when it’s a failed try, you still need that work. You don’t know what it would do for a kid’s confidence if he hits a couple in a row and then you’ve got a gem.
“If it gets to the point where it’s really, really bad, we’ll go for two points.”
Glades Central’s average margin of victory this season is exactly 29 points. If the Raiders keep up that pace, none of this will matter.
“I don’t see anybody holding our offense down,” Hester said.
Pretty good counterpoint.