Paul Falewicz

Week 11 in the NE-10: 1st Round Playoff Edition

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Welcome to playoff football. It is win or go home this time of the season and all of the teams are vying for a chance to play for a national championship. Only one team can be crowned champion.


California Playoff History

7th playoff appearance

9-6 overall record

1-0 against the NE-10


Assumption Playoff History

3rd playoff appearance

1-2 overall record

0-1 against the PSAC


Head to Head

First Meeting


Week 11 Capsules

# 6 California (9-2, 5-2 PSAC West) @ # 3 Assumption (9-1, 8-1 NE-10)

When: November 18th, 1 PM

All-Time Series: First Meeting

Common Opponents: None

Link to Team Stats:

California

Assumption

Game Day Central

Video Link


My thoughts: Are you ready for some playoff football?

California Scouting Report:

California started 4-0 before a tough two game stretch with an overtime loss to Slippery Rock and then another one to IUP kept them from the PSAC Championship game. But they rebounded nicely with a five game winning streak to close out the season and make it back to the playoffs.

The Vulcans have an explosive offense. Quarterback Michael Keir is the catalyst as he has started for two years and thrown over 60 touchdown passes. Luke Smorey and Tom Greene will be his main two targets through the air but Chad Livingston and Craig Thompson should not be ignored. Jimmy Wheeler and Jalen Bell will split the running back duties as they have filled in for Nick Grissom. The offense line is big and talented with all but one player over 300 pounds. Eric Hudanick, Brenden Babstibner, Taylor Nikithser, Austin Jacobs and Ben Pevarnik will hold the fort against the pass rush.

The defense has improved as the season has progressed as they have kept their opponent out of the end zone. The linebacking core of Luke Hrapchak, DeVonte Suber, Corey Bupp and Cameron Tarver make a lot of tackles as well as pressuring the quarterback. Tarver leads the team in sacks. The front line of Justin Baker, Malik Akins and Acantey Patton spend a lot of time in the opposing backfield. Lamont McPhatter II, Brendan Edwards, Bryant Harper and Nigel Garnett will look to slow down the Assumption passing attack.

Will Brazil will handle the kicking duties and is very capable of making kicks all over the field. Keir is the punter and averaging 35 yards per punt. California has not returned a kick for a score but the combo of Bell, Wheeler and Smorey have the ability to break one off at any point.

Assumption Scouting Report:

Assumption crushed all of the NE-10 competition until the final weekend of the season. They showed a little of vulnerablility against Bentley but still have a solid team capable of making a run in the playoffs.

The Greyhounds have one of the top offenses in the country. Marc Monks was injured against Stonehill and has not seen the field since. Brendan Tobey is a capable backup who was the starter two years ago when Assumption started this remarkable run. The running backs feature several guys who can carry the rock. Dylan Oxsen, Khaleed Exum-Strong and Doug Santos can grind out the yards from the backfield. Ashton Grant, Deonte Harris, Sam Blake and Brandon Swain-Price will find a way to stretch the field and make a big play from their receiver position. The offensive line of James McNerney, Tyler Armillay, Jason Rice, Patrick Corcoran and Michael McDonald will need to be solid in the trenches.

The defense has been anchored by the secondary. Andrew Benson led the league in interceptions. Chris Carabello, Joe Kim, Shawn Springs, Jr., DJ Hernandez and Carlins Platel will need to slow down the passing attack of California. Kaleb Silva, Bryce Jacob, Levi Fancher, and Charles Williams III will patrol the middle of the field. The front line of Joe Bruno, Jedidiah Scott, Jason Flanagan, Jalen Johnson, Goran Krasic, and Ray Sarkodieh will need to pressure the quarterback.

Cole Tracy is one of the top kickers in the country and nearly automatic from anywhere on the field. Seamus Wallace will handle the punting and Harris is a threat to return any punt or kick back for a touchdown.


California Keys to the Game:

1. Stretch the field and make big plays.
2. Don't lose the game in special teams.
3. Make tackles in the opening field.


Assumption Keys to the Game:

1. Move the ball and control the clock.
2. Make a play or two or three with their special teams.
3. Slow down the receivers of California.

So who wins and why?

Both teams are very familiar with the playoffs. They have previous experience and will not be awed by the bright lights of the postseason. This game might be affected by the weather as it is predicted that to be rainy for Saturday. So that favors the team with the better running backs and that is Assumption.

If the forecast clears, both teams like to throw the ball and that could mean a lot of points. Defensives seems to take a break in the playoffs as the games are traditionally high scoring with the scoreboard operator getting a blister trying to keep up with the plays.

Despite Assumption's stumble last week, they are on a mission this year to make some noise in the region. They have positioned themselves well for a deep run in the playoffs and will use their home crowd to help them defeat California.

Prediction: Assumption 45 California 37

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Comments

  1. hounds2010's Avatar
    Definitely not expecting Monks?