Author Topic: 2018 Newton (NJ) Braves Super PeeWees  (Read 951 times)

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Offline Bob Goodman

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2018 Newton (NJ) Braves Super PeeWees
« on: September 02, 2018, 01:22:16 PM »
"Super PeeWees" goes by the Morris County YFL class name, corresponding to Junior PeeWee elsewhere.  "Super" is "Junior" like "special" is "disabled".

We lost our opener yesterday afternoon, which was our game in the annual non-league Trophy Game match vs. Mt. Olive Marauders, this year at Mt. Olive's field in Turkey Brook Park, 12-20.  Receiving the opening KO, we got out quickly 6-0 based mostly on a long run on the 1st play from scrimmage.  Coach Lance, calling the O from the field in the 1st half, pointed out that the previous 2 seasons the team had opened with a FB dive (nominally a wing T trap, but last yr. we weren't pulling guards for reasons I've explained here), and the ILBs in their 4-4 just stood there expecting such a run instead of the power sweep we opened with this time.  (I was assigned pre-game & in-game scouting of the Marauders.)  They weren't even keying our FB, who led the runner, but just looked dumbfounded at that vacated space in our backfield.  But that was the last big mistake the Marauders made.

We didn't give up much in the way of long runs, but did allow the Marauders consistent gains, sometimes bailing them out on 4th down, that allowed them long drives, mostly because we didn't tackle well.  That's the sort of fault you can easily stand in youth football on many plays, allowing a few extra yds. as the runner beats a few tackles in traffic -- but not all the time, because then you never stop the other team unless they lose the ball or stop themselves, which to their credit the Marauders didn't.  On offense we did pretty well, but stopped ourselves just often enough due to penetration for failure to sustain a block, and not getting key blocks at 2nd level to keep runs going, to lose.  We got to 6-7, then 6-13, and 12-13 on the way there.  Some of us expected a kick try to put us ahead, but it was not attempted because of poor execution in practice Fri. evening.  (I've been giving remedial work to a late registrant, so didn't see most of the last 2 practices.)  The Marauders didn't complete any of their passes downfield as I'd feared, just some swing passes, but we didn't switch from our 4-4 to a 5-2 until the 2nd half, staying player-to-player vs. their 4 wide.

Late in the game one of our scrubs (a term which barely applies because we have very few subs, are losing one player mid-season when the family moves, and with some marginal weigh-ins may just squeak over the new league requirement of 14 suited up) said he didn't want to go back in.  In last year's Trophy Game we had a couple players in just such a situation of not wanting to re-enter when we had a chance to win.  I think it's performance anxiety, as I thought a year ago, because this player played with us last season.  The pair of players who chickened out last year came back fine in subsequent games, and I'm confident this one will too.  We had a few players banged-up in the 2nd half of this game too; the Marauders, with about the same no. on their roster, didn't have anyone limp off.

The Pre-Clinic and Clinic level games that day had been won by the Braves before we broke the string by our SPW performance.  I don't know how the remaining 3 games (to finish under lights) went, so can't say which club won the trophy.  Although this was a non-league match, at home we'll have the Marauders again a month from now in a league game.  I wonder if by then we'll be like last year, mostly 5-3 with stand-up DEs.

Offline Bob Goodman

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Re: 2018 Newton (NJ) Braves Super PeeWees
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2018, 10:41:51 PM »
Sorry I'm so late in reporting on our 2nd game, our league opener, but I've been busy.  We lost decisively to the Vernon Vikings at Vernon (Maple Grange Park) the afternoon of Sat., Sept. 8, 0-19.  Our tackling was very much improved over our previous game, but our offense was still frequently confused as to their assignments.

Just in front of me before I turned onto Maple Grange Rd., a very large dark brown-colored black bear -- at least I'm told black bears can be brown -- crossed Route 517, slowly -- because why should a bear ever be in a hurry?  It was moving E-W, away from the park we were to play in.  It rained lightly throughout the game.

Following this game, HC Dan has cut down on warmups, stretching, agilities, & conditioning.  Hmmm...if it's good to eliminate these things once you're in trouble, wouldn't it make sense not to do them even before you're in trouble?  He's also gone back to square 1 in our offense, re-teaching the playbook, trying to make sure we've got some plays down cold before reintroducing others.  We're also varying some assignments to find what our players consistently execute.

Meanwhile at my suggestion, I've started remedial work with one of our younger-heavier players.  He's contact-shy.  So I'm teaching him moves that force his first move from scrimmage, putting him in a situation where he's not looking right at the opponent he's going to hit: submarining on the DL by springing out on all 4s, then popping up; crab blocking as an OT to cover for a pulling G.  He's not happy about the drills, and resisted using them when we went opposed in team.  But when he tries to play conventionally, he just does what he can to get out of the way!

Offline Bob Goodman

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Re: 2018 Newton (NJ) Braves Super PeeWees
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2018, 07:12:02 PM »
This past Sun. afternoon we beat the Twin Boro Bears at W. Mendham HS, 32-12.  Paring down our playbook may have helped our execution, but the main thing that seemed to help was...the Bears' stooopid defense.

Remember how I used to rag on Coach Miguel's D a few years ago?  I thought I'd never see it again, but that's how Twin Boro lined up: a 3-4 or 3-5 where the front 3 were no wider than our B gaps.  Actually even some of them seemed to be flexed back, considering that I once saw them jump forward on our count, but not go offside -- and that play I happened to have a view down the line, it wasn't a homer lack-of-call.

The Bears' 1st score came on the 2nd half kickoff when we had a 3-player pileup on our cover team, which also resulted in one of our players sitting about a quarter with a sore ankle.

Offline Bob Goodman

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Re: 2018 Newton (NJ) Braves Super PeeWees
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2018, 11:18:29 AM »
This past Sat. morning, the most exciting game I've coached in since joining the Braves.

We were visitors at the Jefferson Falcons in a park between Route 15 and Lake Hopatcong.  The excitement for me started before the game as I sat in some empty stands on the home team's side and faced the other way to take notes on the Falcons' warmups.  After a few minutes a Falcons coach came to tell me I couldn't watch them because the MCYFL disallowed scouting.  I told him MCYFL rules only forbade a scout from taking pictures or using electronic recording devices; one of my co-coaches, Jeff, later remembered an add'l provision, that we not hide while scouting.  I was only using a clipboard & was dressed in a team shirt, so not using electronics or hiding.  There was nothing in the written league rules I had w me, so I asked to speak to the Falcons' league rep.  The coach got him on the phone, he told me I wasn't allowed to do any kind of scouting.  I knew that was wrong, but also that I wouldn't get anywhere, so I went over to where our team was warming up.  Coach John remembered that Falcons coach as having engaged in sharp tactics in the past by killing time in the huddle to run out the clock on a 1-TD lead in flag football; who's so "Just win, baby" w 6 -7 YOs?!

The Falcons were using a pistol-fly offense, which must've taken a lot of practice, w handoffs or fakes in front so closely timed to the motion (and the FB dive) that it often appeared the fly back was taking the snap.  Indeed that cost them on their 1st series when they put the ball on the ground the 1st couple of snaps.  They changed centers soon after that.  As was the case the previous year, the Falcons were one of the few teams in the conference/level that passed a lot -- and very well, with a QB who had great touch.

Penalties & spots all seemed to disfavor the Braves, but I'm not saying they were incorrect (except for one ruling at game's end).  We had a good scoring threat turned away, and at halftime it was scoreless.  HC Dan at halftime thought we could break things open in the 2nd half by running some slants w our DL, but that may have led to the initial score of the game by the Falcons on their drive after our 2nd half kickoff.  We blocked the kick, and it was 0-6.  We then came back to even the TDs, but our FB came up just short on the conversion so it was 6-6.  The Falcons were noticeably slow out of their defense huddles, but we hadn't practiced no-huddle in a while, so apparently Coach Lance wasn't confident enough to call it.

So things stood until the Falcons made a defensive stand against us deep in their territory.  With less than 2 mins. left, HC Dan started calling time outs as the Falcons started a drive, because he expected us to get the ball back.  That didn't happen, as the Falcons moved the ball fairly well.  Then on a run around right end that threatened to score, our player tackled theirs on the sideline farthest from our bench.  The official said the runner had stepped out of bounds upfield and that our player had committed a late hit, even though no whistle had been blown.  I didn't mind that call so much; what I did mind was that the referee said time had expired on the play, but that the game would be extended for an untimed down, which I didn't think was possible on a dead ball foul.  The Falcons passer, under heavy pressure, got off his worst pass of the day, a wobbly affair that our DB reached up to get w both hands on about our 5 yard line.  He wound up volleying it, and it came down into the possession of a Falcon, who struggled on in a crowd before going down on our 1 yard line.  So the game ended 6-6.

Offline Bob Goodman

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Re: 2018 Newton (NJ) Braves Super PeeWees
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2018, 03:58:24 PM »
Yesterday a 5 PM game hosted by the Randolph Bulldogs at Freedom Park in the hills off the Morris & Sussex Tpke.  Turned out to be one of those frustrating affairs where you can tell your opponent was a little better than you, but not so much better that you had to lose.  Randolph took the opening kickoff to midfield, then started a drive that looked like it was stopped when on 4th down they ripped off a long run around our L end after their runner looked like he was stopped in their backfield but for our tackler's failure to wrap him up.  Result was a TD, the Bulldogs' conversion run was stopped short of the goal line, and it was 0-6.

The Braves then started a drive from the kickoff; seems we consistently get 10-15 yds. worse field position out of KOs than our opponents, & this was no exception.  Like it's all we can do to fall on the ball, while our opponents seem always slightly out of reach of our coverage until they've moved the ball considerably, although the quality of the kicks is about the same.  Then we got a couple 1st downs running between the ends -- FB traps & bellies, FB leads on powers.  But our drive was stopped, and the Bulldogs again got out of the hole via a long TD around the same end.  This time they converted, so 0-13.

The scoreboard (yes, they had one) rout continued until it was 0-19 at half.  The Bulldogs attempted a lot (by our standards) of passes, completing none the whole game, but the threat still managed to loosen our defense, especially w trips receivers that we took pains to cover.  We had pretty good coverage, but they still had receivers open who couldn't quite get to where the ball was thrown.  Meanwhile shortly before halftime our QB Caden went out after making a tackle from S position to keep the Bulldogs' 3rd TD from happening slightly earlier; his knee hurt a lot, wasn't even walking on the sideline in the 2nd half, but by today (team & individual picture day) he was fine.

Lots of little but significant things.  Bulldogs getting more hats on LBs than Braves did, including one severe 2nd-half shot on Joey -- our FB, ILB, and DG when we're in an odd front -- when he was caught flat-footed on one play.  But with so many Bulldog OL releasing clean to 2nd level (we don't try to keep our LBs clean), why were we not getting better penetr'n by our DL?  Lots of escapes from Braves tackles, plenty of 4th down conversions by them.  But even w/o their subbing much, the Bulldogs didn't score in the 2nd half while we hung 7 on them, final 7-19.

I could say it could've been much worse if the Bulldogs had completed some of those passes, but actually they wound up sustaining those drives after the incompletions anyway, so I don't think they'd've scored more.  Only one incompletion wound up with them turning the ball over on downs, and that one looked like it was more to our Joey than to their receiver.  We did put the ball on the ground a few times w our sub QB from the snap, but the Bulldogs did too w their starter.

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Re: 2018 Newton (NJ) Braves Super PeeWees
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2018, 09:32:25 AM »
Sat. morning on our small home field in Memory Park, the Newton Braves beat the Hackettstown Tigers 27-0.  The Braves SPW team was ailing, w one player out w a gastro-enteritis, & another player playing & coach coaching w a respiratory infection that'd kept them out of practice, work, & school the preceding week.  The morning almost until KO was drizzly/misty.

The Tigers had a couple stars on the DL who in the 1st half consistently beat our fancy blocking assignments (& often our un-fancy ones) to get into our backfield, but often couldn't complete the tackles as our HB Braden dodged them to get around on sweeps even on our 40 yd. wide field, to put us up 13-0 at half.  The Tigers moved those stars around on the DL.  However, the Tiger LBs just waited for runners to come to them.

For the 1st time in the season, we tried punting.  Although the MCYFL SPW rules say you can rush 6 on scrimmage kicks (which kicks must be declared, and if the player drops the ball after receiving the snap, it's dead), the officials, probably in view of the wet conditions, decided no rush would be allowed at all, and the ball allowed to be picked up & kicked after the snap was fielded.  HC Dan decided to have us punt for the 1st time in the season, which we did from our practiced formation, & then punter Nick dropped the ball on his foot w the points sideways, just as he'd done at practice the evening before, giving as his reason then that he'd been told to get it off quickly; but this time there was no rush!  The resulting punt was even lower than it'd been in practice, rolling-skidding thru our line to net about 3 yds.  I told OC Lance that if we got into a punting situation again, we should place kick.  Our kickoffs were going deep, but although being mishandled by the Tigers were returned to about the same position as our usual ground balls were' you know how bad kiddie kickoff coverage tends to be.

At halftime in view of the use of the Tigers' stars on the DL w not-so-good players behind them, HC Dan took off our outside pulls by our Gs & our T-E x-blocks.  Our offense clicked even better, & late in the game to avoid running up the score we just let the Tigers snap the ball an unlimited # of downs.

On defense HC Dan had been concerned about Hackettstown's multiple looks confusing our keys, but that was not a problem at all.  Late in the game I finally realized the Tigers had been trying to run triple option, or at least give that look w either the handoff or pitch being read by their QB.  They didn't do it well, but at least they weren't putting the ball on the ground.

Offline woodhawg

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Re: 2018 Newton (NJ) Braves Super PeeWees
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2018, 08:26:17 PM »
As an old veteran of the long valley raiders and then Wes
t Morris wolfpack it seems like not much has changed in regards to the balance of power in the iron hills during the last 35-40 years.

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Re: 2018 Newton (NJ) Braves Super PeeWees
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2018, 08:38:25 AM »
As an old veteran of the long valley raiders and then West Morris wolfpack
Does that club still exist?  Maybe competing in Central Conf.?  We have a Twin Boro formed by the merger of the Chester and Mendham clubs.

Or is the West Morris Wolfpack a HS team?

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Re: 2018 Newton (NJ) Braves Super PeeWees
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2018, 09:28:04 AM »
Ever get a close game where you could absolutely attribute the outcome to coaching?  We had one last night.

Having lost 12-20 to the Mt. Olive Marauders in our opener, the trophy game at Turkey Brook Park, the Braves had them there again in a MCTFL match.  Entirely different game, but again an 8 point loss.  We outplayed them on both sides of the ball except for 2 spectacular trick plays.

Braves kicked off & as usual the ball bounced deep & was mishandled by the receiving team, & as usual they still managed to run the ball back to near midfield.  From there the Marauders got into 3rd & 10 and lined up in trips right.  We'd spent a lot of time working on coverage of their twins & trips, anticipating smoke screens and other possibilities, so when we saw the swing pass we though we had them boxed good...but it turned out to be double pass, an easy TD once they completed it to their receiver who was behind our secondary.  They ran in the XP and it was 0-7.

Receiving the KO, we then traded drives.  We were stopped when our QB got banged up, but he went back in on O (not D as S) when the Marauders stalled inside our 10 as the 1st Q expired.  It was clear from that drive that the Marauders bag of tricks was still full as they pulled out reverses, Statue of Liberty, and an intended pitch-and-pass of which the pass never got off.  From there we began a drive that consumed the entire 2nd Q but came to naught when from their 12 yard line we didn't get the call on a blatant pass interference by the Marauders in the end zone.  It wasn't much of a hit, but it was a clear shove by their coverage on our receiver who was behind him as the ball arrived & the half expired.

We got a scare on the 2nd half KO when a Marauders coverage player appeared to spear our player who'd dived on their short kick.  We then started a drive that took a lot of time but produced a TD.  Our XP failed and it was 6-7.

Our KO was a ground ball that managed to bounce deep.  Their deep receiver picked it up and threw a long cross-field pass.  We had the coverage on that side of the field, but the Marauders had guessed correctly that our tackling would not be so good out there, as their attempted arm tackles couldn't stop the TD.  They converted again and it was 6-14.

The Marauders then short chipped their KO, which landed and died just at 10 yards, and most of our players seemed flummoxed as to what to do, except for Timmy, who'd been out of position but ran up for it, and yet still seemed to be beaten to the ball by a Marauder.  Fortunately the officials ruled it'd been touched by a Marauder just short of the line, and we took possession.  We traded drives again, the Marauders still making heavy use of razzle-dazzle with reverses and fake reverses, until we held again about our own 25 with 9 minutes left.  We then drove to the Marauders 20 with less than 2 mins. left, where Joey mishandled a pitch on 4th and 5, covered the ball, and we sent in the last of our subs to end the game on D.

Offline woodhawg

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Re: 2018 Newton (NJ) Braves Super PeeWees
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2018, 07:38:04 AM »
I think the Long Valley Raiders are now the long valley wolfpack. Central conference sounds right. When I played they were an "outlaw club" which meant we were unaffiliated played anybody anywhere. We played Newton, Jefferson, Morris Knolls, went into Newark, Raway. Randolph was still and still is a big rival. Chester used to be seperate in youth, the lions. They went to H.S. at west Morris. Now Chester goes to mendhem. My brother is a coach currently at Long Valley.
Yes west Morris central is a  h.s. It is usually top 20 State ranking and state title contender. I think they have 9 in last 30 years. It is a sister school of West Morris Mendhem. Same school district with two schools. They have seperate teams.Mendhem is usually pretty good too.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2018, 07:48:04 AM by woodhawg »

Offline Bob Goodman

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Re: 2018 Newton (NJ) Braves Super PeeWees
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2018, 01:46:48 PM »
I think the Long Valley Raiders are now the long valley wolfpack. Central conference sounds right. When I played they were an "outlaw club" which meant we were unaffiliated played anybody anywhere. We played Newton, Jefferson, Morris Knolls, went into Newark, Raway. Randolph was still and still is a big rival. Chester used to be seperate in youth, the lions. They went to H.S. at west Morris. Now Chester goes to mendhem. My brother is a coach currently at Long Valley.
Yes west Morris central is a  h.s. It is usually top 20 State ranking and state title contender. I think they have 9 in last 30 years. It is a sister school of West Morris Mendhem. Same school district with two schools. They have seperate teams.Mendhem is usually pretty good too.
Well, we're now 2-4-1 (2-3-1 in league play) and going into the toughest part of our schedule, finishing against Long Valley & Madison.  We have them at home on our small Memory Park field, but now that we're not giving up so many long end runs I don't think it's that much of an advantage for us.  Somehow we got only 3 home games this season, 6 away.  Even though we'll finish in Oct., the other coaches aren't interested in participating in a "challenge" game against a league team finishing w the same record in Nov. as the MCYFL says we can arrange.  That'd probably require waiting until at least the 2nd week of Nov., as most teams are scheduled the 1st week, & the other Braves coaches can't spare the time, & don't think they could hold the team together the extra time, with some players starting other sports.

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Re: 2018 Newton (NJ) Braves Super PeeWees
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2018, 08:39:10 AM »
Sat. morning the Braves hosted a 0-36 loss to the Madison Dodgers, which IIRC was a worse score than last yr.  The Dodgers this year weren't going with a quick huddle (they'd;ve probably gone no-huddle last yr. had the MCYFL rules for that class allowed it) because they didn't have the surfeit of players they did last season.  This yr. their Clinic level had a big drop-off in enrollment, so many of the players they had last yr. at Clinic are now playing again at that level as older-lighters so as to field a team rather than moving up to SPW.

The Dodgers line up in a wing T formation, mixed with a little double wing, straight T and power I, but don't have the flavor of typical wing T style, instead taking big splits and coming straight at you.  Only late in the game did they show anything fancy with their scrub LG trying to pull across, but not making it past C with their big splits.  Their jet/fly series alone would've been enough to shred the Braves.  They put up their first 24 points by capping each TD with a kicked conversion, which cleared the bar and split the uprights so well you know they could kick FGs of considerable length.  Then they took it easy on our team by trying to run in the extra points.

What's frustrating is seeing your players do the same things wrong even in terms of alignment that we'd been trying to correct all week, & in some cases all season.  In many cases the types of errors looked to me like things they were doing to avoid contact.

The Dodgers have paid coaches, some of whom have been said to be on NY Jets staff.  What I'd like to know is what magic they have that gets their players to pay att'n in practice!

The one complaint I don't have about the Braves the past 2 games has been tackling.  When our players have been in position to make the tackles, they've been fairly reliable at doing so lately.  But the Dodgers busted runners free especially on jet end runs and dives off the jet fake, and were remarkably good at sticking on blocks on the edges.  Counters were not working against the Braves, who were good at staying home, but the Dodgers kept running counters for the practice, I suppose.

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Re: 2018 Newton (NJ) Braves Super PeeWees
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2018, 11:33:13 AM »
The Braves' last game of the season was postponed from Sat. morning because of the storm, then played on Sun. afternoon on Newton HS's regulation field.  The visiting Long Valley Raiders had to be considered strong favorites because: (1) last season they'd fielded 2 teams at our level, this year only 1, so a long roster & there's no MP rule; and (2) they played a close game vs. the Madison Dodgers who blew us out.

The Braves quickly got behind after punting on their opening series, leading to a Raiders drive wherein the Braves' DEs, OLBs, & corners did a bad job containing.  So the Raiders got their TD, then a run for the PAT, and it was 0-7.

The Braves came back with a drive capped by a waggle fly pass; our R-handed QB seems particularly adept at throwing after waggling to his L, but this one was un-optimally high, yet pulled down out of the lights by our receiver.  The PAT run failed, and the half ended 6-7.  During that drive I noticed Raiders #30 at CB was shying away from plays, and I told our O play calling coach Lance to pick on his side on running plays; AC Jeff agreed w what I saw.

At halftime the officials made our coaches stop using the wireless audio we'd been using for several games to communicate between sideline and on-field coach, saying they were enforcing a Federation rule against sideline electronics, since nothing in MCYFL rules seemed to contradict that rule.  In the 2nd half, Raiders #30 was switched to the opposite side; in both halves, he was playing the side away from their bench.  Funny that with all those subs, they didn't pull him.

3rd Q saw defensive stops by both teams to threatening drives.  Turnovers were equal with a fumble lost by the Raiders and a 4th Q interception gained by them.  That last led to a runback, a short TD drive and PAT making it 6-14.  However, the Braves off the subsequent kickoff started a drive and ended the game on the Raiders' 18 yard line.

So after having every reason to expect to be slaughtered, the Braves ended their season with a game they were competitive in until the final whistle.

This season was a lot of fun for me to coach -- actually even more enjoyable than 2015 when I got to install (mostly) my offense.  I got in a lot of practice with in-game scouting of opponents, did remedial work w a pair of our own players, felt more a part of the coaching team than most I've coached on, even though there were still 6 of us for 16 players.  The kids are great, so are the coaches, the rest of the organiz'n is nice; the league is...so-so.  I'm not sure whether if I got an opp'ty next season to jump elsewhere & be given more authority I'd jump at it, whether in the same organiz'n or elsewhere, while if I'd been presented that choice a yr. ago I think I'd've been sure to jump outside the club & league, maybe even within.