Plainfield Central (4-2-0, 2-2-0 SPC) definitely had the "Wright" stuff going for them in their 27-19 upset victory over Plainfield South (3-3-0, 2-2-0 SPC) last week. And it wasn't the first time that Central has been able to win on the South Side as I alluded to in last week's preview. It is those doggone intangibles! But hey, they are part of the game aren't they? As for the "Wright" stuff, it was Plainfield South's Dantrell Wright who uncharacteristically helped put his team behind the eight-ball in a span of about 40 seconds when he muffed a fair catch punt and then watched as the ensuing kickoff fell in front of him and failed to cover it. It was a "LIVE" ball! Both of those mistakes were recovered by alert Plainfield Central players as Mike Leffler recovered the fumble and Derek Bernascik fell on the live ball. Wildcat QB Tim Blake tossed two TD's off those errors to quickly stun the Cougars Homecoming crowd.
The damage, as they say, was done as the Cougars were down 13-0 after just 3:00 minutes had elapsed in the 1st Quarter and the Cougars never recovered. It must be pointed out, though, that South still had a chance at the end of the game to tie it. However, after some pretty horrific play-calling on that last drive - they couldn't convert a crucial 4th down play and wound up turning the ball over after reaching the Wildcat 38 Yard Line. Game Over!
Now, I don't want anyone thinking that Dantell Wright lost this game for the Cougars, because HE DID NOT! In the end, this game was a collective team loss and that includes both Players and Coaches! Unfortunately, that was a big loss and could very well end the Cougars 2011 Season as they now must win out to make the IHSA Playoffs. Two of their final three games are against Oswego (4-2-0, 4-0-0 SPC), Plainfield East (2-4-0, 2-2-0 SPC) and Plainfield North (3-3-0, 2-2-0 SPC). And East is a vastly improved team.
So the Cougars back's are up against a wall and I am not so sure if they can pull it off. But it is possible.
I suppose the thing that bothers me most about watching South play is that they still have yet to play an entire 48 minute game. Their best game of the season was against Oswego East in their conference opener and even there they probably only played a solid 35 minutes. So I really don't know how to explain why such a talented team is unable to play up to its potential? This is a squad that has more than your average number of good players and most coaches would make a deal with the devil to get that many on the team at the same time.
Of course, Plainfield South isn't the only team to have a loaded squad. This week's opponent is just as stacked and talented. Oswego Panther QB Ryan West has been lighting it up this season and he has one heck of an arsenal in WR's Jack Kwiatkowski, Brett Wainwright, Elliot McGaughey and RB's Mikeel Stewart and Josh Mapalo. These five players have been his principle targets and all of them can catch and run.
Meanwhile, Cougars QB Austin Howarth has an outstanding cast of offensive weapons himself and wouldn't take them lightly either. WR's Dantrell Wright, Jason Ochoa, Joshua Harris, Ryan Turk and Jimmy Strauss can all hurt you, but he also has QB/WR's Ricky Luna and Tyler Butler who can rotate with Howarth in any variety of option sets. In addition to those players there is also RB's Jonathan Kosirog and Kwanez Gibson. Yes sir - Austin Howarth has no less than nine players who can catch and run the ball. And we haven't even mentioned the backup players.
Plainfield South also a very effective defense, albeit one who has played a lot of minutes. However the defense, led by Angelo Cervantes, Clifton Garrett and Jake Meeder, would rate an edge over Oswego's. The thing about Oswego, though, is that they know how to come up with the big play when they need it to preserve a win. But they are porous as they give up an average of 30 points while the offense puts up an average of 33. So, if the Cougars want to win this game then it will be up to the Offense to exploit that defense. Let's face it, Ryan West will put up his numbers - they just have to put up more! The million dollar question, though, can the Offensive Line protect Austin Howarth this week? To date they have looked erratic, especially at Center where multiple players have had struggled.
So this is a big big game for Plainfield South and they will need to find the "Wright Stuff" if they expect to play a Week 10 Playoff Game. Besides, it isn't as if Oswego isn't beatable or that the Cougars don't understand their spread offense. Plainfield South will just need to play a complete 48 minute game this week and they must put up the points - because Oswego's QB Ryan West certainly will be putting some up for the Panthers!