There was a time when I actually watched every single play of the high school football game I covered.
Now I see parts of plays with all the tweeting and updating social media (while doing quick math for semi-accurate stats) going on throughout the game.
If I had to guess I’d say I actually see about 10 to 15 plays a game from start to finish.
It’s the nature of the beast.
So when I get that chance to watch a play from snap to whistle during Friday’s Division I semifinal between defending champion and sixth-seeded Mountain Pointe and No. 2 Chandler here’s where my eyes are going to be focused.
1. Pride center Colin Lambdin vs. Chandler defensive lineman J.W. Windsor – These two got after it in the first meeting. It was clear by the end of the game they didn’t like each other much but I think there was a mutual respect. In between this game of leverage went both ways. Lambdin and company had a great first half. During the second half the Chandler defensive line showed a lot more resistance.
2. Mountain Pointe defensive back Paul Lucas vs. Chandler wide receivers Justin Jan and N’Keal Harry – The Wolves tandem made some big plays to get the Wolves back into the game against the 5-foot-8 Vidal Daniels and 5-9 Dalton Thorpe. Lucas made his debut last week at corner and performed well although to be honest I didn’t pay much attention to his matchups. I couldn’t take my focus off the Pride pass rush in the quarterfinals when the surge up front made Pinnacle’s Brian Lewerke very uncomfortable.
3. Chandler’s Bryce Perkins vs. the Pride’s front seven – Perkins had four touchdown passes for 194 yards and 11 rushes for 83 yards in the first game. The best thing Mountain Pointe can do is have ball control and keep the ball out of Perkins’ hands. When he does look out. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him run more this time around. Mountain Pointe’s front seven was dominant against Pinnacle. Lewerke didn’t stand a chance. Chandler has a running game that Pinnacle didn’t. It will keep Pride linebackers a little more honest instead of teeing off on blitzes.
4. The Pride line vs. Chandler defense – Much like last week when Lewerke said something on Friday Night Fever that was perceived as disrespectful by the Pride defense to get them motivated, the Mountain Pointe offense has heard all week how it scored only managed three points in the second half against Chandler. It didn’t matter that the offense ran for 410 yards in the first half and produced 42 points; just the Wolves shutdown the Pride offense. That has been festering all week long.
So there is where my eyes will be focused. Some of these matchups will also be keys to game. Now only if I could watch fully instead of catching a glimpse in between tweets.