Week 5 marks the midpoint of this year's football season and unless something crazy happens we already have a good idea where this year's Division 4 Championship game will be played. The Plymouth Bobcats with a very impressive offensive showing held off the game Windham Jaguars 42-25 to put themselves in the drivers seat in the D4 regular season.
Earlier this season the Bobcats took care of their other main competition in the division the Trinity Pioneers. This leaves the Bobcats with one game left on their regular season schedule with a team that has a winning record. Plymouth has taken care of business and have put themselves in great position as the favorites to bring home another championship to their storied football history.
Saturday's match up pitted two teams that have scored a ton of points so far this season. Coming into Saturday's game Windham had been averaging 46 points a game and Plymouth 38.5. Everyone expected that we would see a ton of scoring and no one left disappointed. Plymouth played flawless all day on the offensive side of the ball. The Jaguars had to be a little intimidated playing Plymouth for the first time in their short football history, on a field that the Bobcats never lose on!
Plymouth got the opening kick off and it took only 8 plays in just over 3 minutes to go 62 yards with the Bobcat junior running back #26 John Thomas running it in from 26 yards. The Bobcats take the quick lead 7-0. Windham knew if they had a chance to win this game they would have to match the Bobcats with their own explosive offense. They were up to the challenge going, 56 yards on their first drive with Jaguar quarterback #3 Joe Lorenz throwing a 13 yard touchdown pass to the young sophomore #22 Joe Frake. It had the makings of a good old fashion shoot out with Jaguars matching the Bobcats 7-7.
The best way to describe Plymouth is that they are methodical. They execute every phase of the game and they don't beat themselves with turnovers or costly penalties. If you are going to stop them you have to attack with aggressive defensive play. Windham was catching blocks, not attacking and were allowing the Bobcats to get 5, 6, 7 yards every play. On the Bobcat second drive it was Thomas again with a 46 yard run to the end zone. Thomas, an all-state linebacker who was previously used mostly as a short yardage specialist played a much bigger role on the Bobcat offense, carrying the ball 12 times for 138 yards and 3 touchdowns on the day. The Bobcats missed the extra point to go up 13-7. I said earlier that the Bobcats don't make mistakes, they do make some but not many. They missed 2 extra points on the day something that could burn them in a big game down the road.
In Plymouth's game against Trinity they were able to take control of the game in the second quarter leaving the Pioneers staggered going into halftime. Windham's second possession was stopped on a big third and 3 sack forcing them to punt the ball away. Bobcat's turn to their feature back #20 Senior Captain Brandon Goodale and #22 Jared Kuehl to do what the Bobcats do best ground and pound. The next 2 possessions net 2 touchdowns on 16 straight running plays and before you can catch your breath the score is 27-7. When they get you down they don't let up, they go for the knockout.
Windham tries to open things up to get a score before halftime but a poorly executed wrap around draw hand off put the ball on the ground and that gave Plymouth one more shot before halftime. The Bobcat field general #10 Collin Sullivan who scored earlier on a one yard sneak hit #83 tight end Kyle Reisert for 21 yards and the last score of the first half putting the Bobcats up 35-7.
This was a real gut check for Windham. Do they roll over and let the JV's play the second half or do they come out and try to regain some lost pride after being slapped around in the first half. What happen in the second half didn't surprise me. There is reason they have averaged 46 points a game. They have a talented football team with some kids who can play. After a good kick return the Jaguars start at their 44 and take the ball down the field with #44 Kevin Cooney scoring on a 14 yard run. They have dug a huge hole for themselves but they are not going to give up down 35-13.
Plymouth's Goodale scores on the Bobcat's next possession pushing the score up to 42-14. I haven't seen all of the teams in D4 but of the ones I have seen Goodale is the best back in the division. He carried the ball 25 times for 182 yards and 1 touchdown. Brandon has a good mix of size and speed. He can make a move that will break ankles but he will also put his shoulder down and get you those extra couple yards needed to keep a drive alive.
The Jaguars behind the solid play of Lorenz who finished the day 14 of 19 165 yards and 2 touchdowns. Where able to pull off a morale victory winning the second half with both teams leaving the starters on the field the whole game. The final score 42-25 a game that was over a halftime got interesting in the second half.
Plymouth is in the driver's seat and has been the best team in division 4 over the first half of the season. Either Trinity or Windham will get another shot at the Bobcats at the end. They will have to make the long trip up I-93 to the Land of Lenahan and beat a team that doesn't lose on their home field. That being said I think that either team has the talent to upset the Bobcats, but they will have to play a perfect game. One thing is for certain - they will have to go out and take it from Plymouth because the Bobcats will not beat themselves!