Welcome to this week's episode of the 2020 Cleveland Browns High School Game of the Week "Inside the Hudl".
The High School Game of the Week is presented by Ohio CAT and in association with Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) and Raising Cane's.
Our week 5 winner is the South Range Raiders who defeated the Struthers Wildcats 40-6 in Friday night's Northeast 8 conference matchup.
This week we met with Coach Dan Yeagley, Head Coach for the Raiders.
Congratulations again. Now let's go "Inside the Hudl" where we'll discuss top plays from last night's game.
- Cleveland Browns: Coach, your special teams unit utilized the squib kick early in the game – what was your thought process or strategy in deciding to utilize the squib kicks?
Coach Yeagley: Struthers has a ton of athletes that are dangerous and can burn us at any time. We wanted to get the ball on the ground so we could cover it a little bit better. Coach Bayuk over at Struthers does a great job, he gets his athletes in positions to make plays. We tried to kick it away from some of their key players so our players could get down and make the tackle.
- Browns: Your team would score a touchdown on opening possession – handoff up to the middle to Luke Blasko. Tell us about this play.
Coach: We got down to the 3-yard line. We had to make sure that we had a little counter action. We brought Luke Blasko in motion and we led with Dylan Dominguez on the two-man side. He came up and isolated a linebacker. Luke was able to hit that seam fast and was able to get it into the end zone. He didn't make it by very much, but he did get in, and that's all that counted.
- Browns: Your returner mishandled a punt as you were about to take over on the next possession. Two plays later Luke Crumbacher would come up with an 80-yard pick six.
Coach: It was second and long and they were moving the ball. They got the ball back after a muffed punt. They were in a spread formation, so we got into our base defense. Luke Crumbacher dropped back into his third coverage and snuck right underneath a pass. It was a phenomenal break on his part. The most exciting part about that play was that he had a convoy of Raiders going down the sideline with him. We talk things like that – you never know what's going to happen sometimes when you get an interception, but all of a sudden the Raiders gathered around him and we had a whole convoy of people. Luke made a nice tightrope run right down that sideline. I wasn't sure if he was going to be able to stay in or not. Nice 80-yard return for a touchdown. Nice change of possession in a hurry; and to get those defensive points on the board is always a blessing.
- Browns: Your next score was a 39-yard touchdown pass from Michael Patrone to Connor Jones. Can you take us through this play?
Coach: We came out in a double tight end set. We haven't showed that a whole lot this year. We brought Cory Penick in motion and we did a little fake. We had been running the ball pretty good until that point, so we did a little waggle action where we brought the jet across and fake the off-tackle play. Michael Patrone rolled back, had the guards protecting for him, and had Connor Jones taking off towards the end zone on a fly route. Great pass – I thought he overthrew it, to be honest with you, from the sideline and all of a sudden it fell right in there. Great pass and a great catch. That put us up by three touchdowns which was crucial at this point, especially against that great Struthers team.
- Browns: Coach, you went for it on fourth and goal from the 26-yard line and scored. What were you thinking on this play?
Coach: We were a little bit out of the range of our kicker. Harley Novak does a great job, she's a great kicker but a little bit out of her range. We were down on the 10-yard line – got sacked, had a holding penalty and we got moved back farther. Took a couple shots, a couple of incomplete passes. If we are down in that end zone, we're going to gamble, we're going to go for it, especially if we are up by a couple of touchdowns. Luke Blasko went in motion into trips formation and did a roll out pass. Rolled him out and had good protection, thank goodness our offensive line did a good job, we wheeled Luke down the sideline. I'm not even sure if he realized he had to get in because those guys converged on him pretty quick. He was able to get in right there. That was a great pass and a great catch. Like I said, protection helped. Michael was able to step up into the pocket and make that pass, and he got in. That was a good play, nice gain on fourth and long. My offensive coordinator did a great job calling that play and getting those guys in there. Great execution by the team.
- Browns: The Wildcats were driving down the field, then a quick two-play sequence would prevent the Wildcats from getting on the board in the first half: Sack by Logan Cormell plus a fumble recovery by Jacob Brooks would force a turnover by your defense.
Coach: We brought a little pressure, we thought they were going to be throwing. He did a nice little pump fake there. We had good coverage behind him. We moved our defense toward the boundary and brought that field side linebacker (Logan Cormell). Nice hit. You always like those good hits, and that was a good hit on the quarterback. Ran right through him and wrapped him up pretty good so he couldn't get the ball away. Our defense gave good pressure and to hold their athletes to only six points was huge for us. Our defense stepped up all night and played very well. Logan had great timing on this blitz. Came through scot free and was able to make that big hit on that quarterback.
Jacob Brooks came up with this big fumble recovery. It was on the ground. He was playing nose for us (1 – technique) and he was able to get in there and scoop that up. It was a big turning point. We got the ball back. It's huge for our offense whenever the defense gets that turnover.
- Browns: During the third quarter, Struthers would get on the board (33-6). Your offense would strike back quickly. We want to speak specifically about your kicker, Harley Novak, who would make the extra point. Tell us about Harley.
Coach: Harley came into our program the winter before COVID and said, "I would like to try kicking for you guys." She plays on our girls' soccer team. Great athlete, a great student, and a friend of all our players. Coming from a small school, you get that hometown feeling/hometown atmosphere. She's friends with all the boys. It's a lot of fun having her around. She's done a great job for us. She was perfect all year until last night. She's done a great job – game-winning field goal against Poland Week 1. She's been solid, she's been fantastic! To have her on the team has been very good for our coaches, her teammates and everything else. We are here as a team; it doesn't matter who you are, it doesn't matter about anything else. We are a team; we are a family. She's been a huge part of our family. Very proud.
- Great game, coach! We appreciate you spending time with us today on the fifth episode of "Cleveland Browns Inside the Hudl"
- Thank you, and good luck the rest of the way!