Eagles v. West York for semifinal berth

By on November 14, 2014

ER20141112_CeagledefenseThis week, the going gets tougher

Eagles to face two seed West York with

A week ago, little went wrong for Cocalico as the Eagles easily rolled past East Pennsboro, 35-0 in the first round of the District Three AAA playoffs.

Things are expected to get much more difficult for the Eagles this week in the quarterfinals when they venture into York County to face host West York, the second-seeded team in tournament, Friday night at 7 p.m.

West York, winners of nine-straight games, eliminated Donegal in last week’s first round by a score of 35-14.

The Bulldogs (10-1) are certainly no strangers to the post-season, or Cocalico for that matter. The three-time District champs (‘88, ‘91 & ‘08), who have qualified for their 15th appearance, lost a 28-21 decision to the Eagles in the first round of the 2010 playoffs.

This year, West York captured the YAIAA Division II title behind one of the top offensive attacks in District Three. The Bulldogs are averaging more than 450 yards of offense per game and have scored more than 46 points per contest.

Dual threat senior quarterback Ross Campbell leads a ground attack that is churning out more than 350 yards a game. For the season, Campbell has rushed for 1,219 yards and 24 touchdowns while throwing for 1,596 yard and 11 scores.

Sophomore running back Cadence Thomas, who ran for 154 yards in last week’s win over Donegal, has 723 yards and eight scores on 91 carries for the season.

The top receiver for the Bulldogs is Diego Torres, who has 40 catches for 831 yards and eight cores.

The good news for Eagle fans is the fact that Cocalico (8-3) has one of the most stout defenses in the L-L League this season. This past week, the Eagle defense not only pitched a shutout but also allowed the Panther’ potent attack just 50 yards on the ground and 78 through the air.

On the flip side, Cocalico’s ground attack continued to roll behind senior fullback Matt Weinhold, who had his second-straight 200-yard game. Weinhold, who missed four weeks of the season due to a concussion, reeled off 203 yards and three scores.

As a team, Cocalico gained 403 yards on the ground on 53 carries for the game.

Sophomore quarterback Brady Sawyer completed 1-of-2 passes for 24 yards and a score in the win.

Earlier this week, Review Sports Editor Todd Ruth caught up with West York Coach Ron Miller and Cocalico’s Dave Gingrich to chat about Friday’s match-up:

Todd Ruth: Coach Gingrich, you are coming off a game in which you dominated in all phases. That’s not a bad way to start the playoffs. Can you sum up that outstanding performance for me?

Dave Gingrich: That was probably our best game to date. We just executed very well in all facets and played with such emotion. If you do that, you have a chance to be successful.

TR: To be one of the top eight teams in the District, after the graduations and the injuries you guys have had, what does that say about this group?

DG: I am very proud of this group. They have handled everything thrown at them with dignity and class. They never made excuses; they just went back to work to improve. They truly care for one another and play that way. They don’t want to disappoint their brothers.

TR: Coach Miller, what were your thoughts on your opening round win vs. Donegal?

Ron Miller: Anytime you win in the playoffs its a great win so we are really proud of the kids. However, we are not happy with the four turnovers, two on-side kicks and giving up a touchdown on a kick off return. We can not play that way this week or we will be in for a very long night.

TR: Since I haven’t seen you guys play, can you give me an idea of what you like to do both offensively and defensively?

RM: Offensively, we are a multiple formation, no-huddle team. We have had decent success running the football this year and when needed, we are able to throw the ball. Defensively, we are a combination 4-4, 4-3 defense.

TR: Coach Gingrich, you guys beat West York a few years ago up there. Is there anything you can take from that game that will help you this time around?

DG: Not much. They are a better version of the 2010 team. We are a different team as well. We know they will be well coached and physical. They will test every fiber of our team.

TR: Coach Miller, what do you remember from that game?

RM: What I remember is they were very well coached, tough and disciplined.

TR: Speaking of Cocalico, what are your initial impressions of them and what they do?

RM: My impressions are exactly the same as what they were in 2010…well coached, disciplined and tough. They run their offense with great precision and have the ability to make game-time adjustments very well. Defensively, they run to the ball very well and are a great tackling team.

TR: Coach Gingrich, what are your initial thoughts on them and what they like to do?

DG: As I said before, they are first and foremost, a physical team. They also play the game at a fast pace.

TR: Offensively, they do like to go quickly but unlike most fast-tempo teams, they really get their yards with the running game. What about their offense makes you nervous?

DG: Their diversity. One play, they’ll be in a pro set and run some basic plays. The next play, they will be in shotgun running some read-option stuff, and so on. They are fast paced as well, running 95 plays in one game.

TR: What will you need to do offensively to continue your success?

DG: Take care of the ball and be disciplined. We will continue to try and run the ball and find spots to move it through the air.

TR: And what do you feel will be the keys to getting a win Friday night?

DG: We’ll need to withstand the first quarter push, make this a four-quarter game and hopefully our experience of playing in tight games will help.

TR: Coach Miller, what are your biggest concerns in facing Cocalico?

RM: I am concerned that we can stay mentally tough enough to play great assignment football on defense and that we are able to establish great tempo offensively early on.

TR: What do you feel the keys will be to knocking off Cocalico and advancing to the semifinals?

RM: Protecting the football is the first thing. Secondly, we need to do our jobs defensively and trust the scheme. Finally we need to take advantage of scoring opportunities.


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