Friday, 20 July 2012 17:21

2012 Championship Game Preview

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Riverdale Baptist Crusader Field is the seen for Grassroots Bowl III.  This new "state of the art" facility will host some big time football on Saturday evening. Riverdale Baptist Crusader Field is the seen for Grassroots Bowl III. This new "state of the art" facility will host some big time football on Saturday evening.

Championship July 21st @ Riverdale Baptist
1133 Largo Road Upper Marlboro, MD 20774

Football University Evaluation (All  6th, 7th, and 8th Graders 10am
(7-2) Baltimore Metro Stallions vs (8-1) Howard County Stars

The Championship Game will be phenomenal guys.  We are pitting two of the elite teams in the league that are at the top of their games.  Try to get there early as we will have some pre-game pageantry and excitement for you!

As far as the teams go and trying to pick a winner, I just can't do it!!!!  Both teams are just too good.  I will never underestimate the Stars, their kids, and their coaching staff again.  I am just afraid to pick against them.  Every time I pick against them, it puts the other team at a disadvantage because Coach T. White and his star studded coaching staff take it personally.  Then they tell the kids and parents and they get pissed off.  By the time the parents get through with the kids, they play with a fury that is unfair to the competition.  So, I just can't pick against them.

On the Baltimore side, they are the same way.  The kids don't feel like they get the respect that the other kids get.  The feel marginalized and overlooked at times.  They play with a chip on their shoulder the size of a brick. They get mad when I pick against them too.  They have too much talent and speed already, so to add fury and anger to the mix is a bad mixture for the opponents.  I am going to leave my picks for next season's opening round of games.

In this case, it is too close to call anyway.  Both teams are absolutely loaded.  Neither are very big up front but they are very good.  They both have mind boggling athletes at all the skill positions, and they are well coached.  For those that did not get a chance to read the playoff breakdown, I will provide one last breakdown of the players strengths and weaknesses.  In the event where I know which high schools kids are going to, I will list them.

Stars Outlook:  On the offensive line, they don't have a bunch of big name stars.  They have a group of disciplined and focused football players that consistently open up holes against defensive lines that outweigh them week in and week out.  It doesn't matter to these kids.  Their technique is flawless and they go about the business of getting it done.  Offensive linemen rarely get shine.  It is the ones that don't care about the shine that go the farthest.  With that being said, I try to consistently give these kids shine because they are the ones that make it possible for the glamour boys to do their thing.  Nathaniel Randolph, Craig Williams Jr. (Bullis), Alex Leger, Michael Coolie, Harmadu M, Marquise Chambers, Joe Macklin, and Sean McCutchen all get it done.  The have consitently opened the holes for Abdul Adams (O'Connell) and Adrian Platt to put their hats in the race for GYFL Player of the Year.  Adams and Platt are both finalists, but they can thank the offensive line, FB, TE and the WR's who have sacrificed their games to block for them.  No running back can thrive without an effective offensive line, so kudos to this group.

As I said in the playoff preview, their WR core is second to none in the GYFL.  De'Andre House (Hammond) is as wonderful an athlete that you will see at this age.  He threw a block in the playoff game that made my teeth clinch.  He has the ability to play D-1 football.  He has size, speed, hands, an the whole package.  Trey Simpson is cat quick and elusive.  He can break a game at any moment.  Simpson is a shutdown corner who saved the game last week with a strip and fumble recovery.  Aaron Hansford (St. Johns) is a big physical receiver with speed that can make plays, who had a shoulder injury in the playoff game that limited him. 

I repeat again, Eric Burrell (McDonogh) is arguably the best player in the GYFL, and he showed it on offense and defense in the playoff game.  He jumped a whole foot over two defenders to make a circus catch last week to put the Stars in position for their first score and caught the game winning TD pass.  As a LB, he led the charge is  slowing down Damien Jones last week, which is not easy to do.  Kid is a Great football player and the sky is the limit for his potential.  I will leave it at that.  You figure out the rest.  If he stays hungry and humble, watch out.

At QB, the Stars have two kids who are capable of winning for them.  Armani Ceballlos is the starter and has been solid all year finding Burrell and House, just as he did in the playoff game.  He had a rough passing day overall, but when the chips were down and the Stars needed a big throw, Ceballos made the throw.  Keshaun Ebron (O'Connell) is a sensational athlete who can do it all from the QB position.  He is a dual threat QB who can run and throw.  The Stars use their QB's interchangeably and keep defenses off guard because they are so different.

In the backfield, the Stars are absolutely loaded.  They lost one of the best players on the team and in the league as far as I am concerned with FB Sonny Csorba (Palotti) went down with a foot injury, but the Stars rolled on.  Abdul Adams is a game breaking type runner with outstanding speed and decision making.  He hits the hole hard and fast every time, makes one cut and he is off to the races.  He has done it against the good teams and the not so good ones.  He is like an ax that just keeps chopping away at the tree until it finally falls.  He had a run last were where he started to the right, spinned to elude a defender, cut back the left side of the field, lowered his shoulder and mauled a cornerback, then turned on the jets.  He has it all.  Great player with a bright future.

Adrian Platt is flat out special!  This kid is extremely durable.  He runs violently, never afraid of contact.  He can shake and bake when need be.  He can run you over if need be.  He has a vicious spin move and if he sees a crack he will NOT get caught.  Great KR man as well.  Both of these kids will be elite at the next level.  His vision is superior.  He is a very patient runner who is always poking and prodding and looking for a crease.  When it he finds it you can forget about it.  Very special player who will excel at the next level.

Defensively, just like with the Heat, the OL double as DL and do a great job with Randolph and Williams being the standouts.  Platt doubles as a LB, along with Burrell who is big time.   From the defensive backfield, the Stars throw a stream of athletes at you who all tackle well.  Lemond Bynoe, Jaquan Bell, John Sterling (Palotti), all contribute heavily to the Stars defense.  House and Simpson hold down the corners and are elite.  Aaron Hansford makes huge plays on the defensive side of the ball.

This is ateam that has no weaknesses. 

Stallions Outlook:  Baltimore is loaded with talent once again. As I said last week, this team looks similar to the 2010 team that won the inaugural GYFL Championship, but they may even be better.   They did not have a QB on that team that could destroy you through the air like they have this year.  They had very good receivers then, but not like the ones they have now.  They had an excellent running back then, but not the depth that they have now.

They don't have quite as dominant a OL and DL as they had in 2010, that was anchored by Raymond "Hungry Jack" Jackson, who gobbled up offensive lineman like breakfast, and Orlando "Little Zues" Brown who was massive at 14 years old.   But, these kids are tough in the trenches and battle tested. They are not very deep there, but they are very good. Javon Childs brings the beef to the OL. Jonathan Tynes brings the stability and experience. Myron Turner, Dujuan Dallas, and Montreze Watt bring the toughness. Murad Hussain does an outstanding job at the TE/DE position. Turner and Watt are relentless and passionate.  They bring the fire to the team.

The WR’s for the Stallions are insane. Morgan Scroggins “Next Level Slim” has already been offered a scholarship by Youngstown State before he set foot on a high school field. He has the speed, the hands, and the quickness to make big plays in an instant. Scroggins has an amazing interception last week against the Bearcats.  You could see his entire skillset on the leap, the catch and the run back.  The ceiling for this kid is so high you need a ladder to paint it.  He is the ultimate shutdown corner breaks on the ball and has instincts like a cat.  He doubles as a game breaking WR who can catch anything with the speed to go to the house.  He can run back punts, he can run back kicks, and he can even play QB if  you need him to.  He will be a star at Calvert Hall.  Unbelievable talent.

Steven Smothers, AKA “Optimus Prime” is one of the most exciting 8th grade receivers that we have seen in 3 years and has been dubbed the Next Stefon Diggs by many, including me. He can do it all. He is fast, explosive, has great elusiveness, and a passion to be the best. he was a one man wrecking crew last week against Baltimore.  He ran a punt back 73 yards for a TD, where you saw the whole package.  It was called back by an unnecessary block in the back, but he had done his damage and showed off the skills well before the block.  He caught a TD pass, where he had to make a beutiful adjustment to the ball, then make a diving catch on a future D-1 DB.  He capped off the day with a scintillating 80yard kickoff return right through the heart of the defense.  He was uncatchable by the time he hit the 50 yard line.  Kid is ridiculous.  Franklin HS is getting a game breaker with this kid.  Watch out HS and college football.  Here comes Optimus Prime.  I call him the head Transformer because when he puts on the uniform, he just transforms into a machine!

Taj Washington is a versatile athlete that can play any position on the field. He can catch it, run, and from what we hear, he can throw it too. Juan Campbell broke the DC game open with a catch and TD run in the final 2 minutes. He doesn't get a lot of action from the WR position, but he has proven what he can do when he touches the ball.  He did it once again in the playoff game.  Kid has an uncanny knack for the football and the endzone.  Had I not already given the nickname "Pick 6" to Trevon Diggs, this kid would have it.  Gotta think of another one for him.  Special player.  Picked one off Saturday and took it back 80 yards to seal the deal for the Stallions.

The RB’s are fabulous. Johnson Lloyd “The Law Firm” is one of the most complete backs in the GYFL. He runs very hard and tough.  May be going to Millford Mill.  He is not a game breaker, but he has good enough speed. He is a terror between the tackles, as he showed on his TD run last week.  The HS coaches are Riverdale Baptist in PG County were asking me about him this week. His running mate Malik Alston is a tank with legs. He pulverizes defenders with his power. He has a low center of gravity and is tough to tackle.

Azariah Bratton-Bey, AKA “AZ”, AKA “The Ninja” is just ridiculous with the ball in his hands. He is not big by any means like Alston and Johnson, but he is quick as a hiccup and runs as hard as any 200lb running back. He refuses to go down on 1st , 2nd, or 3rd contact. The kid plays football like he is playing for his life. He has the game breaking speed.  I have never seen a tougher kid than Bey, as exemplified by his being taken to the hospital last week.  This kid got hit and pushed slightly out of bounds.  Either he didn't realize he was out of bounds, or he didn't care and wanted more contact because a second defender was coming at him and he lunged back into him to get some more.  When he hit the ground his elbow pops out of the socket. 

I see it and almost start crying like a little girl calling for the trainer.  He never cries, never flinches, or even looks like he is hurt.  He tries to hide it and go running back onto the field!  We force him to sit down and it is clear that his elbow is dislocated and grotesque.  All he wants somebody to do is pop it back in so he can go play.  Kid never cried or even grimaced.  He just went to the hospital, called me later that night to see if he could play in the championship game with a cast.......... NO KID!  You have done enough.  I love this kid.  He reminds me of Ray Rice.  He will be one of the best HS football players in the state.  I hear he is going to Milford Mill.  That means we will need to start following Milford Mill because wherever "The Ninja" is going to be playing, that is where I am going to be on Saturdays.  The Stars are fortunate that they don't have to see him, but it evens the playing field but the Great FB Sonny Csorba is out for the Stars, so checkmate.

The QB is a 7thh grade sensation named Kasim Hill. Kasim has missed two games with a concussion but was back for the playoff game where he was not lights out, but very productive.  Maybe I put too much pressure on this kid by hyping him so much, but I stake my reputation on my belief that he will be the number 1 QB in the State before he graduates from Gilman.  I believe that he is that good.  My old QB Chris Baucia is his QB trainer and will be coaching him up for 4 years.  He will get plenty of time to develop because they won't need to throw him to the wolves over there at Gilman.  He is a good athlete that can run when he has to, but he is not a runner. He is a pure drop back passer that can make all of the throws. He is calm, cool, collected and has all the poise that you want in a QB. We expect him to have a standout HS football career, but he still has to get through the 8th grade. He will have a ton of weapons to get the ball to on Saturday with Smothers and Scroggins.  Expect a bid day from him.

Defensively, once again the OL double as DL. Childs and Turner lead the way from the DT positions, but Eric Arvinger absolutely takes over games with his speed rush off the end. Therefore, we gave them the nickname “Takeover.” He was not dominant in the  playoff game, but played well.  Hit me on facebook later to tell me that he would not disappoint me in the Championship game.  I was happy with what he did last week, but he is a perfectionist and a pass rushing aficionado.  Watt has a motor that won’t quit for the Stallions. Travon Hollis was injured in practice and was not able to play last week or this week, but he is a menace and has been all year.  His brother Troy Hollis terrorizes from linebacker and DL positions, along with Alston.  The Hollis Twins will be at Calvert Hall terrorizing opponents in the MIAA for 4 years. 

Lloyd and Hussain are solid and effective as well. In the defensive backfield, Scroggins and Smothers are both shutdown corners who excel in man to man coverage. Campbell is equally as effective. Taj Washington plays big in the secondary and his 6th grade little brother Tavion is a future star who made an amazing pick against DC to get them to the playoffs. The Stallions control the safety position with Shamar "Ball So Hard" Shanks covering sideline to sidelines and unloading on receivers and running backs.  Shanks is a ball hawk who loves contact and will have a great career at Gilman.

Read 13727 times Last modified on Saturday, 02 November 2013 12:59

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