Playoffs are the prize in Poets and Clippers annual matchup

Written by on November 2, 2011 in Featured, High Schools - No comments

This year’s annual meeting between Dunbar and Patterson will once again be a battle of teams of contrasting styles.

Patterson runs the spread offense, which is built to get speedy playmakers the ball in space. Dunbar wants to run downhill and has plenty of weapons to do so. Here’s a quick look at what each team will want to do when they have the ball:

Patterson relies on speed, agility and guile. Photos by Jason Butt

When Patterson has the ball
The Clippers, assuming quarterback Craig Oliver is healthy and back in the lineup, will line up in the shotgun formation all game. On run plays, the Clippers can either run power plays or misdirection to get the opposition guessing the wrong way. Senior running backs Derwin Beasley and Fess Williams are the ones to watch for as both can make plays in a short amount of space.

When Patterson’s throwing the ball, Oliver can read the defense quick since he’s already dropped back in the shotgun formation. He has two solid receiving targets in Pete Carter and Nyme Manns, the latter being a player that can excel in man-to-man situations. Oliver trusts Manns, about 6-foot-4, in jump ball situations. Receiver Anthony Dandridge has also proven to be a reliable target for Patterson this season.

The Clippers will also split Beasley out wide as he can play multiple positions within this spread offense. He’ll line up at running back, wide receiver and slot receiver depending on what play coach Corey Johnson calls.

If Oliver’s primary reads aren’t there in the passing game, the option to pull the ball down and run is available, and Oliver has a knack for making plays with his feet. Dunbar’s defense is big and powerful up front though and will look to pressure Oliver from the start, hoping to prevent any of these broken plays from going for big yardage.

Dunbar likes to play a pro-style, smashmouth game of football.

When Dunbar has the ball
When you have a player as talented as senior receiver Deontay McManus, the game plan is clear: Get him the ball.
With the Poets breaking in a sophomore quarterback this season in William Crest, and with teams shadowing McManus in the passing game, it’s been hard to get him the ball. So against Poly earlier this season, the Poets altered their game plan and lined McManus up as a running back in the pistol formation to much success.

Ultimately, the Poets want to play smash mouth football and wear down opposing defenses. McManus, at 6-2, 212 pounds, can be maddening for a defensive coordinator as his combination of elusiveness and power can take its toll. But Dunbar also likes to pound the rock in the I-formation with Lavar Highsmith, a 6-foot, 220-pound downhill-running tailback.

Crest has picked up the passing game better as the season’s gone along. With McManus receiving the bulk of the attention, senior Aaron Haynes has had the chance to catch plenty of passes. Senior tight end Ernest Hawkins is a threat in the passing game, as well as toting the ball when lined up in the backfield in Dunbar’s pistol formation.

by Jason Butt

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