Chris Murphy, Published November 26 2013
Analyzing Underwood's state championship gameWhen Underwood has the ball
There’s really no hiding what the Rockets do with the ball.
They run. Then they’ll run some more and, just to switch things up, they’ll run again.
The Rockets have rushed for 4,407 yards on 675 attempts. They’ve only thrown the ball 73 times all season.
Running back Noah Thompson has rushed for 2,579 yards and 24 touchdowns on 316 rushes, quarterback Adam Creek has rushed for 596 yards and eight touchdowns on 113 attempts, and fullback/tight end Dylan Biegler has rushed for 560 yards and 12 touchdowns on 113 carries.
The Underwood defense starts with linebacker Max Kollar. Kollar leads the team with 88.5 tackles, seven tackles for loss and three interceptions to go along with two sacks.
Biegler leads the team with 6.5 sacks to go along with his 68 tackles.
Underwood’s defense basically bends, but doesn’t break. The Rockets have given up on average 23.5 points, 164.4 rushing yards and 162.7 passing yards a game. They’ve given up 23 rushing touchdowns and 21 passing touchdowns, along with 2,137 rushing yards and 2,115 passing yards.
Underwood will win if…
It all starts up front for Underwood. They get to the quarterback on defense with 21 sacks, and they run the ball on offense.
“I like our matchup up front,” Underwood football coach Chuck Ross said. “Our offensive and defensive lines have been our bread and butter all year. Going into this game, I think we have a definite edge there.”
If their guys win the battle of the trenches, the Rockets will win their first football state title.
When Grand Meadow has the ball
Grand Meadow is very similar to Underwood. The Superlarks have rushed for 3,221 yards. Junior Landon Jacobson has rushed for 1,778 yards and 28 touchdowns.
The difference is the Superlarks have more of a passing game with senior quarterback Trenton Bleifus. Bleifus has thrown for 1,371 yards and 14 touchdowns on 70 completions and also ran for 18 touchdowns and 643 rushing yards.
Defense is also Jacobson’s territory, as he leads the team with 152 tackles, one fumble recovery and an interception. Grand Meadow has only given up on average 15.2 points per game, while scoring on average 40 points per game.
Grand Meadow will win if…
If Underwood can’t contain Bleifus in the pocket and block Jacobson on offense, Grand Meadow will win the state title. It will serve as redemption for the loss in last season’s state championship game.
“They like to throw the ball a little more than we do,” Ross said. “The quarterback is a good athlete and he likes to run when he has the chance. We’re going to have our hands full to keep him in the pocket and don’t let him run all over the place.”