It’s early in the new football season, but there is one statistic that stands out and thus suggests that the 2013 Battle of Redwood City could get ugly.
In two games, the Cherokee offense has rushed for an average of 295 yards per game.
While the Woodside defense is fresh off a loss to SCVAL power Milpitas that saw the Wildcats surrender 377 yards on the ground.
But stop right there. If you’re basing the latest battle for Redwood City supremacy on numbers, you’d be mistaken.
“Against the spread stuff we had seen, we actually did a pretty good job of shutting [Milpitas] down,” said Woodside head coach Josh Bowie. “They only had one offensive touchdown in the entire first half. So we were able to compete.”
Come the second half of that 50-6 loss to Milpitas, the Wildcats were caught off-guard by a new-look offense they hadn’t studied for. Hence, when the dust settled, the numbers looked ugly.
“I felt bad for my kids,” Bowie said, “because you can only prepare for what it is you see. So, we didn’t do a good job of preparing for something that could possibly happen. But as far as just competing, I thought we gave a heck of an account of ourselves. We showed we could compete athletically with that team.”
Woodside will have another opportunity to prove they belong Friday night. And they’ll be no surprises here. In Sequoia, not only do the Wildcats know what the Cherokees are trying to do, but also a lot of the personnel trying to execute the game plan.
“A bunch of the kids know each other,” said Sequoia head coach Rob Poulos. “You get a sense of how the other kids are doing because they’re talking, they’re talking about how their seasons are going.”
Sequoia stands at 2-0 after a couple of blowouts.
“Defensively, we’re doing a good job of learning from our mistakes,” Poulos said. “There are still some things we’d like to clean up. Offensively ... we want to go be going, going, going. And, our guys are still learning how to get to that tempo. We’re getting better at it, but there’s still a faster speed we can go.”
But getting to that speed is only good if you can protect the ball. Against Monta Vista, Sequoia fumbled on multiple occasions. And that is the key to Friday’s game according to Poulos.
“Turnovers,” Poulos said. “Stop putting the ball on the ground. All we’re doing in flirting with disaster and it’s going to bite us in the butt. I’m hoping that we fix it as opposed to wait until it actually costs us and then realize we have to stop.”
Woodside is a victim of the same. Turnovers were the difference in a Week 1 loss to Dublin and against Milpitas, the Wildcats turned the ball over five times. Against a team like Sequoia, who can score in bunches and make the opponent pay, Bowie said that trend needs to stop.
“I guarantee the key to the game will be turnovers and big plays,” Bowie said. “We’ve been talking to our offensive guys about protecting the football and having more positive plays than negative plays. Defense, we want to keep everything in front of us.
“That’s what we’re trying to do — give them all the tools they need in the toolbox so when they hit the field, they don’t have to think and just play football. I think our guys are starting to figure it out a little bit.”