Posted: 5:05 pm Saturday, October 15th, 2011
By Jeff Greer
Some games provide a lot more writing material than others, and we’re going to file Seminole Ridge’s pummeling of John I. Leonard under the “Not Much to See Here” category.
The game started nicely, with the teams trading early scores. But things quickly deteriorated. Seminole Ridge scored three times in 12 plays over a span of 3:47 in the first and second quarters, all but burying any chance of Leonard challenging Ridge.
Gary Holmes, the focal point of my game story yesterday, had 166 yards and four touchdowns (we’ll touch on that final score later on). Elie Turene added 56 yards and a touchdown. And Ridge’s defense forced four fumbles and an interception.
Not a bad day for Ridge. Leonard, however, has hit a midseason skid that shows no sign of slowing down.
Running wild. Last year we didn’t give enough credit to Seminole Ridge’s offensive line, which was one of the biggest and meanest groups in the county. This year’s group is smaller, but is starting to shape up nicely. The problem is fullback play — Ridge still hasn’t threatened teams with a punishing attack up the middle.
The wingbacks are doing just fine. Holmes looked great. Turene looked good in a complementary role. We’ll see if fullback Justin Keip gets more touches as the season goes along. The senior had 42 yards on six carries, though 31 of them came on one run.
Ridge could benefit from a less predictable passing game. It’s hard to criticize a team that consistently puts out a good product, but aside from the two-minute drill to end the first half, Ridge’s passes are generally test-the-defense fly patterns. Quarterback Antwan Washington has all the tools to become a leading QB in the county, but his touch is a work in progress. He has speedy receiver Darian Williams to throw to on those deep routes, but again, the secondary doesn’t need to spend much time wondering what route Ridge’s receiver(s) are running.
Leonard’s game plan. On the opening drive, Leonard showed it had a nice little game plan. Ridge, in its base 3-4 defense, rushed the edges and tried to contain Leonard quarterback Adam Johnson from rollouts and scrambles. At first, Johnson did well, splitting the pressure by stepping up in the pocket and flipping shovel passes to running back Donovan Miller.
On Leonard’s scoring drive, Johnson was 4-of-5 for 80 yards. With the exception of his 36-yard go route to Nesly Ovincy for the game-tying touchdown, the rest of Johnson’s passes with quick releases to avoid the rush. Swing passes, screens, short outs. It was smart. But it stopped working after that drive.
Ridge changed its looks after the first few series, faking gut blitzes and dropping into coverage. The pass rush was still effective, but Leonard slowed down after that because it didn’t adapt to Ridge’s adjustments. Johnson was 0-for-3 on the next drive, and the Lancers committed two 5-yard penalties before punting. On their fourth drive, the Lancers lost a fumble. On their fifth, they gained a yard before Darian Williams recovered the blocked punt in the end zone. Boom — 28-7 Ridge. Game over.
Two teams, two directions. Ridge is grooving heading into its colossal district showdown with Gardens, which will decide the district. With all due respect to Jupiter and Wellington, neither team has much of a chance of upsetting Ridge or Gardens. Ridge already handled Wellington and should do the same against Jupiter, and Gardens already routed Jupiter and should cruise past Wellington. Judging by the comments from Gardens after its 47-10 win over Boca on Friday, the Gators are fully aware of this week’s importance.
Meanwhile Leonard is 0-1 in the district and losers of four in a row. That’s bad news with Park Vista and Palm Beach Central still on the schedule. Boca was believed to be the weakest team in the district after early-season results, but Leonard now faces an uphill battle to finish anywhere but last.
An apology. Seminole Ridge coach Matt Dickmann was livid when his team scored its eighth touchdown of the night, an end-around off a fake handoff. He didn’t want his team to run anything but basic, up-the-middle running plays to bleed out the clock. He made sure John I. Leonard coach Wayne Monroe knew that. Monroe said it was no problem.