Improved Hounds to be tested

The state’s top-ranked Class 1 team, Orrick, continues its march through the first few weeks of the 2008 season. The Bearcats have rolled to a 4-0 start by outscoring their opponents by an average of 39-3.5.
Friday night, coach Pat Richard’s crew rolls in to Windsor to meet the somewhat surprising Windsor Greyhounds. After dropping their first game of the season 34-6 at Wellington-Napoleon, the Hounds have reeled off three straight victories – 21-12 vs. Sweet Springs, 47-21 vs. Crest Ridge, and last week’s 29-3 win at St. Paul’s.
Richard said Windsor tried to throw the ball in their opener with Wellington, but since then have concentrated on keeping the ball on the ground.
“Windsor learned their lesson and in the last three games, they have just lined up similar to the wing-T that we run,” Richard said. “They’re pounding the ball and running. In those three games, that fullback has just run over people and they’ve won three straight since doing that.”
Matt Madole has handled a bulk of the Greyhound carries. Last week he ran for 143 yards with a pair of touchdowns. When not running the football, Madole is putting the stops to opponents at linebacker where he is the team’s leading tackler.
Quarterback Brett Shoop is a three-year starter for coach Dave Wanninger’s squad. Shoop is a threat with his arm and his legs. Last week he threw for 55 yards and a touchdown.
Richard said the Hounds have things going for them.
“I’m sure they’re feeling good about where they are,” he said. “They beat a good Sweet Springs team, they pounded Crest Ridge and St. Paul. They’ve got an excellent football team. Up front, I think they’re as good as any team we’ve seen all year and we’re going to have to play well, especially up front.”
The Bearcat offense has been clicking since the first kickoff of the season. Orrick has rushed for almost 8-yards a play, with Aaron Blyth leading the way with his 597 yards and 10 touchdowns. The ground game has been so dominant, the quarterback Joe Kaufman has thrown just 12 times – completing 7.
Meanwhile the defense has allowed an average of less than 100 yards to the opposition through four games while coming up with 13 fumble recoveries and 5 interceptions – 4 by Jimmy Bilton.
But what has Richard most pleased has been his team’s ability to block 4 punts this season. Blyth has 2, while Logan Eubank and Kalija Rogers have 1 each.
“I’m not sure there’s a bigger momentum changer in a game then a blocked punt,” Richard said. “I think it takes the wind out of you if you’re the team that gets it blocked, and if you’re the team blocking it, it just give you a big breath of life, gets you excited and gets you rolling.”
The Bearcats have also turned 2 blocked punts into easy touchdowns for the offense.

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