How Armwood Can Slow the Rockets

Noah Johnson, Armwood
Noah Johnson, Armwood

Class 6A State Title Game:
Armwood (14-0) vs Miami Central (13-1), Saturday, 12/13, 1:07pm

Like it or love it, Armwood will be the underdog vs 6A defending state champion Miami Central.  After taking a 52-7 thumping last year in the state title game, handed out by Miami Central, Armwood wants nothing more than a crack at payback and their 3rd state title. Miami Central’s solo lose came to 3 time consecutive 4A state champion Booker T. Washington (Miami) on the 5th of September.  It will be a tough tough task to accomplish, however Armwood can defeat the Giant. This is how:

  • Eliminate the penalties:  Armwood has been plastered with yellow flags this season. Self-inflicted wounds will bite the Hawks in the tail versus the talented Rockets. Armwood can not give Central yards on defense and can not push themselves out of good field position.
  • Win in the trenches: Miami Central is extremely talented, starting with the speed of the secondary and the linebackers. Armwood’s offensive advantage is their front 5. The Hawk offensive line must protect the gaps and win one on one battles. The Rockets are built for speed on he defensive line. Armwood’s offensive line has bulk and moves well enough to block the Rockets upfront. Easier said than done.
  • Take what the defense give them: Central will play lots of man to man coverage and will blitz just enough to keep the offense honest. Armwood should not get cute on offense. Rather run the ball when the box has favorable numbers and pass the ball when the secondary is struggling. Be patient, Central won’t give up big plays and Armwood will need to slowly chip at the wall until one play does bust.
  • Tackle: The Rockets thrive off of hard running by their ball carriers and missed tackles by defense. Central RB CEDRIC MILLER is no joke. Dude is a load and has rushed for 1625 yards this season. He is averaging 8 yards per rush and works between the tackles. If Armwood does not pop him and tackle him, the day could be really long. It’s Armwood LB Jordan Griffin vs. Central RB Cedric Miller all game long. GAME ON!
  • Keep the QB in the pocket: Central QB JERROD THOMAS is a slippery joker. Outside of Hillsborough QB Dwayne Lawson, this young man might be the biggest challenge for the Hawk defense to get on the ground this season. Thomas is most dangerous when he moves around and scrambles outside the pocket and becomes a run threat at the same time. Not a great passer, but gets the job done. His primary target will be stud WR DA’VANTE PHILLIPS. RB ANTHONY JONES has also been a solid outlet. Armwood needs to fence in Thomas and keep him in the pocket. Force him to make his reads and passes from the pocket.
  • Cowart: In any other game this year, I would say Armwood’s defensive line will need to dominate as a unit. Not this time. The pressure is on All American Byron Cowart. His play will free up the WHOLE front 7 and allow everyone else to thrive.  Without the sugarcoat, Cowart needs to have the game of his life and attract 2 and at times 3 blockers. Even though he knows the Rockets are going to attempt to limit him, his attitude and actions need to be “Bruce Smith” like.
  • The kicking game: This is where Armwood has a clear advantage. Armwood K Sterling Hofrichter has 29 punts for 1162 yards and a 40.1 average. 65 PAT attempts, 61 made; 11 FG attempts, 8 made and a long of 47 yards. In a game dominated by each defense, his punts will be needed to get the offense out of trouble, assist the defense on Central’s side on the field and possibly preserve a late game lead. Not far fetched to think that his big leg will be called on to separate a deadlock score multiple times during the game.