Week 4: Breaking down the Eliteby MoCoFootball Staff on 09/22/11
#4 Churchill (3-0) at #3 Seneca Valley (3-0)
The Potomac boys are heading to The Valley for the best game of the elite for week 4; the match-up between the undefeateds make this our unanimous Game of The Week. These two teams make up 2/5ths of the undefeated teams left in the county.
The Dogs are lead by a relentless defense that made some noise in their first three weeks of play. Bret Sickels and Jacob Suissa are a pair of beasts who have garnered some 50-plus tackles combined. As a unit, they are quick, disciplined, and fundamentally sound. By week 2, they looked to be one of the most seasoned teams putting a hurting on Whitman on all facets of the game. Offensively, Lansana Keita is a great leader under center and smart with the ball. The option is dangerous with him running the ball or pitching it to Curtis Kamara (80 yards/game) or Malik Harris. Keita's main target is the MoCo human highlight film in Dominique Williams (also a defensive standout) who accounts for four touchdowns. Quan Gill and Joe Nolan may surprise db's if defenses double up on Williams. Churchill is big on the front line on offense and defense. They are the first and only team so far to eclipse the century mark in points with 108.
The Screamin' Eagles have one of the DC Area's best rushing games thanks to a rugged offensive line and a speedster in James Jones-Williams. Jones-Williams is currently the 3rd best running back in MoCo public and is tied for 29th best in the D.C. Metro Area with his 376 yards. The biggest name in SV is Tanner Vallely. The 6'6" 210 lbs quarterback served well as a tight end in 2010 but his numbers in the sport's most heralded position isn't much of a flash. Tre Cunningham, Chris Ikossie, and Kevin Joppy will be his go-to guys but look for Jones-Williams to rack up yards from the backfield. The Screamin' Eagles are tied with the Quince Orchard Cougars for second stingiest defense having surrendered just 20 points. With rain expected to fall tonight, expect the already heavy-run Eagles to run the ball even more. The Bulldogs are MoCo's stingiest having surrendered just 14 points all year including a shutout in week one.
Keys for the game: Churchill needs to get Seneca Valley to get on third-and-long situations and force them to throw. James-Williams is SV's best athlete and will need to strap him down somehow.
Churchill has only fumbled the ball twice and does well with time of possession. Keita will surprise defenses by pulling back and slinging it to his receivers. Seneca Valley would have to keep a safety checking on Williams. If Seneca Valley can get the Dogs to back up in yardage then we'll have a game. Discipline is a mantra of both teams, but Churchill has displayed a lot more discipline against a better opponent. If this comes down to the wire, it would probably because of bone-headed offside penalties by Seneca Valley.
#7 Whitman (2-1) at Springbrook (2-1)
Game of the Week #2 takes us to Silver Spring for the battle of blue; two southern MoCo 4A teams with winning records. Whitman had been a legitimate #6 for the longest time until being upset by Churchill in week 2. Though unranked, Springbrook isn't too far behind Whitman and has usually hovered about the number 6th-8th spots. If we had a Top 10, Springbrook would be in the rankings but that isn't so.
The Blue Devils had beaten who they had to beat (Northwood and Walter Johnson) and had only lost 9-0 to #5 Gaithersburg. Whitman had to come from behind to beat a surprisingly amazing offensive in Wootton. How do you beat a high scoring team? by trying to outscore them. And with 91 points, the Vikings are #2 in points scoring in the county just behind Churchill. Vikings quarterback Michael Flack made his mark as a receiver in previous seasons but as the best athlete for the Vikes, he has become the heir to Henry Kuhn. He runs real well but do make some questionable plays with his arm. With him in the backfield is Val Djidotor. #5 has a knack for finding holes and does well in the open field. He's got just about 400 yards for the year despite sharing the carries with Flack who is also one of the county's best on the ground.
Springbrook is a lowly 17th place in scoring. Like the Vikings, they have their best athlete at quarterback. Brion Robinson is the Blue Devils' main man who leads the team in both rushing and passing. Expect #10 to have the bulk of the yardage on offense when they try to penetrate through Whitman's defense. A homerun-capable Brandon Creary will take the load of the carries as Springbrook's starting tailback. Sophomore Isaiah Eisendorf is a giant of a target for Robinson and may draw double coverage on third-and-longs.
As low scoring of a team the Blue Devils are, defensively, they are one of MoCo's toughest. They rank 4th best in the county allowing just 9.6 points a game. Xavier Nelson actually returned an interception 45 yards in versus Walter Johnson that set up Springbrook to take a two-score lead.
The Vikings defense allow 21.6 points a game putting them at 15th best of the 25 MoCo public teams.
Keys for the game: Springbrook will need to win the time of possession. The Blue Devils aren't scoring monsters but they will need to keep Whitman's offensive arsenal off the field as much as possible. They have the defense more than capable of doing so.
The Vikings will need to break down the Blue Devils early and play at their own pace. Flack, Djidotor, et al will need to score often. They can put the Blue Devils in uncharted waters if they can score 10 before halftime. WJ scored more points versus Springbrook than any other team with 14 but they did it in the 4th quarter. By that time, Springbrook was sorely in control and they will match what you have to beat you.
-By Michael Cornejo.
credit: Jeffrey Vogt, Michael Cetta, The Washington Post, The Gazette