Login |  Register |  help

Goaline Article in Journal news

Posted Friday, October 02, 2009 by Mike Odonnell

All guts and glory on goal-line stands

October 2, 2009 Del.icio.us

 

Four hundred and seventy pounds of brawn assembled in the Stepinac backfield at practice this week. The goal line patiently awaited their arrival.

 

Advertisement

 

One yard? With the way Caleb Gilligan-Evans and Andrea Gigi are built, gaining a yard hardly seems like a challenge.

 

 

"When we have those guys in the backfield together," Stepinac offensive coordinator Joe Spagnolo said, "we can't be stopped."

 

 

As the engineer of Stepinac's vaunted spread offense, Spagnolo is as innovative and daring as any play-caller around. But once the Crusaders drive inside the opposing team's 5-yard line, he quickly reverts to his basic wing-T schemes, shifting the 245-pound Gigi from left guard to fullback - despite his No. 66 jersey - and has him block for the 225-pound Gilligan-Evans.

 

 

"It's like we have a thousand-pound backfield," said Gigi, a Yonkers resident. "It's tough to stop."

 

 

How teams negotiate goal-line situations, from an offensive and defensive standpoint, varies and has evolved in recent years.

 

 

A 1- or 2-yard gain anywhere else on the field pretty much goes unnoticed. But when it's the final yards to score - or prevent - a touchdown, adrenaline and pride are as important as assignments and coverage.

 

 

"I think it's all a mentality at the goal line," Eastchester coach Fred DiCarlo said. "When you get down, you can either dig in a little bit harder or you can just let the other team score. We've had a couple of big goal-line stands the last few years, and now we've got that mentality."

 

 

Rarely has more been riding on a goal-line situation than last Saturday when Rye's six-year reign over Section 1 ended inches short of the end zone.

 

 

Eastchester's James Kehoe and Kevin Bronner led a gang-tackle on fourth down at the goal line with 15 seconds remaining, preserving a 13-7 win and handing the Garnets their first Section 1 defeat in seven years.

(2 of 2)

 

Advertisement

 

"It's a pride thing," Kehoe said. "You let a team get all the way down there on you. You can't let them get those points. It can be degrading to let a team score on you like that."

Perhaps the most critical aspect of Eastchester's goal-line stand was the return of Dylan Archer. The standout linebacker missed the majority of the game with a first-quarter knee injury before checking himself back into the game in the final minute.

"He tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘I can get back in,' " DiCarlo said. "It was like Willis Reed to our kids. When he came back in, from that point on, I could see it in their eyes that they were ready for it. That confidence is what you need on the goal line."

Preparing for those goal-line situations can be difficult.

Nyack coach John Castellano said he simulates them, both offensively and defensively, during practice at least two or three times each week.

Defensively, the personnel teams use in those spots varies. Nyack, like many teams, has a specific set of players suited for goal-line situations.

"What I look for on the goal line is two big, strong kids to put over the center to eliminate the QB sneak," Castellano said. "The rest, I really look at different things a player is good at. Mainly I want good cover guys out there."

Fox Lane swaps out two defensive backs for a pair of hefty defensive tackles: 300-pound Ian Reilly and 270-pounder Bryant Hill. Their job is to clog the middle.

"Those guys are always really excited to come into the game there," Foxes senior safety Tim Muller said. "They like knowing it's all up to them to protect the middle of the field. They take a lot of pride in it."

The standard "goal-line defense" unit, though, has faded as offenses have evolved. Unlike Stepinac, many spread offense teams will not come out of their four-receiver sets in short-yardage situations.

"Most of the teams in our league don't change what they're doing whether they're in the middle of the field or at the goal line," Stepinac coach Mike O'Donnell said. "So we don't have a goal-line defense anymore."

 

Neither does Eastchester. DiCarlo abandoned it four years ago.

 

 

As the Eagles proved this week, all they needed was aggressiveness to stop Rye at the goal line. The players were still basking in the victory this week. Kehoe admitted to watching the replay of the final stop a few dozen times that night with teammates.

 

 

It's a moment Kehoe will relive forever.

 

 

"When I saw the refs say that he didn't get in, I was completely overwhelmed," Kehoe said. "I could see the whole crowd going nuts. I was overcome with joy. Stopping them at the goal line was the greatest feeling in the world."

 




  • 1 |

    All guts and glory on goal-line stands

    October 2, 2009

    Text Size: Normal | Large | Larger

     

    Four hundred and seventy pounds of brawn assembled in the Stepinac backfield at practice this week. The goal line patiently awaited their arrival.

     

    Advertisement

     

    One yard? With the way Caleb Gilligan-Evans and Andrea Gigi are built, gaining a yard hardly seems like a challenge.

     

     

    "When we have those guys in the backfield together," Stepinac offensive coordinator Joe Spagnolo said, "we can't be stopped."

     

     

    As the engineer of Stepinac's vaunted spread offense, Spagnolo is as innovative and daring as any play-caller around. But once the Crusaders drive inside the opposing team's 5-yard line, he quickly reverts to his basic wing-T schemes, shifting the 245-pound Gigi from left guard to fullback - despite his No. 66 jersey - and has him block for the 225-pound Gilligan-Evans.

     

     

    "It's like we have a thousand-pound backfield," said Gigi, a Yonkers resident. "It's tough to stop."

     

     

    How teams negotiate goal-line situations, from an offensive and defensive standpoint, varies and has evolved in recent years.

     

     

    A 1- or 2-yard gain anywhere else on the field pretty much goes unnoticed. But when it's the final yards to score - or prevent - a touchdown, adrenaline and pride are as important as assignments and coverage.

     

     

    "I think it's all a mentality at the goal line," Eastchester coach Fred DiCarlo said. "When you get down, you can either dig in a little bit harder or you can just let the other team score. We've had a couple of big goal-line stands the last few years, and now we've got that mentality."

     

     

    Rarely has more been riding on a goal-line situation than last Saturday when Rye's six-year reign over Section 1 ended inches short of the end zone.

     

     

    Eastchester's James Kehoe and Kevin Bronner led a gang-tackle on fourth down at the goal line with 15 seconds remaining, preserving a 13-7 win and handing the Garnets their first Section 1 defeat in seven years.

    (2 of 2)

     

    Advertisement

     

    "It's a pride thing," Kehoe said. "You let a team get all the way down there on you. You can't let them get those points. It can be degrading to let a team score on you like that."

     

     

    Perhaps the most critical aspect of Eastchester's goal-line stand was the return of Dylan Archer. The standout linebacker missed the majority of the game with a first-quarter knee injury before checking himself back into the game in the final minute.

     

     

    "He tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘I can get back in,' " DiCarlo said. "It was like Willis Reed to our kids. When he came back in, from that point on, I could see it in their eyes that they were ready for it. That confidence is what you need on the goal line."

     

     

    Preparing for those goal-line situations can be difficult.

     

     

    Nyack coach John Castellano said he simulates them, both offensively and defensively, during practice at least two or three times each week.

     

     

    Defensively, the personnel teams use in those spots varies. Nyack, like many teams, has a specific set of players suited for goal-line situations.

     

     

    "What I look for on the goal line is two big, strong kids to put over the center to eliminate the QB sneak," Castellano said. "The rest, I really look at different things a player is good at. Mainly I want good cover guys out there."

     

     

    Fox Lane swaps out two defensive backs for a pair of hefty defensive tackles: 300-pound Ian Reilly and 270-pounder Bryant Hill. Their job is to clog the middle.

     

     

    "Those guys are always really excited to come into the game there," Foxes senior safety Tim Muller said. "They like knowing it's all up to them to protect the middle of the field. They take a lot of pride in it."

     

     

    The standard "goal-line defense" unit, though, has faded as offenses have evolved. Unlike Stepinac, many spread offense teams will not come out of their four-receiver sets in short-yardage situations.

     

     

    "Most of the teams in our league don't change what they're doing whether they're in the middle of the field or at the goal line," Stepinac coach Mike O'Donnell said. "So we don't have a goal-line defense anymore."

     

     

    Neither does Eastchester. DiCarlo abandoned it four years ago.

     

     

    As the Eagles proved this week, all they needed was aggressiveness to stop Rye at the goal line. The players were still basking in the victory this week. Kehoe admitted to watching the replay of the final stop a few dozen times that night with teammates.

     

     

    It's a moment Kehoe will relive forever.

     

     

    "When I saw the refs say that he didn't get in, I was completely overwhelmed," Kehoe said. "I could see the whole crowd going nuts. I was overcome with joy. Stopping them at the goal line was the greatest feeling in the world."

 
 

This page was created in 0.1250 seconds on server 132