Updated Fri, Nov 4, 2011 11:11 am
Sheridan rolled through the first 11 games of 2010 before falling to Dover in the regional semifinals. This Friday, the Generals will have a shot at redemption as they head to Crater Stadium to meet the Tornadoes in the first round of the Division 3, Region 11 playoffs.
Making the playoffs this year was not as easy of a task as it was a year ago for the Generals. Sheridan was blown out at home by Tri-Valley in Week 9 but responded in grand fashion by blanking the New Lex Panthers in a must-win game, 41-0, last Friday.
"I think our kids did a really nice job," said head coach Paul Culver Jr. in regards to the win. "We did a much better job of running the football."
Ironically, star tailback Mitchell Fouch was held under 50 yards in the game, marking the second straight week he failed to reach the century mark. But backup running back Drew Van Winkle and fullback Nick Alspach picked up the slack. Culver said Van Winkle has been "lights out" the last two weeks, but also acknowledged that it will take a total team effort in order to ground the Tornadoes.
"We're going to need everybody to step up (this week)," he said.
Dover is led by senior quarterback Derik Swinderman, who also started under center on last year's regional runner-up team. Running a pass-happy offense, the Tornadoes have defeated three playoff-bound teams over the course of the regular season. Perhaps their most notable win was a 14-10 overtime triumph over MVL champ Tri-Valley, a game in which Swinderman did not play.
The key focal point to the game will be Sheridan's secondary against Dover's potent passing offense. Which secondary will show up: the one that was picked apart by Tri-Valley quarterback Nathan Strock two weeks ago, or the one that intercepted New Lex quarterback KJ Hook four times in the first half last week? Meanwhile, the Tornadoes will need to stop the Generals' three-headed monster of a backfield that prides itself on gaining big chunks of yards and controlling the game clock. And don't count out Sheridan's passing game, as quarterback Drew Murray and receiver Jacob Horsley hooked up for a pair of scores against New Lex.
If the Generals want to extend their season to the second week of November, they will need to piece together a near-perfect game at Crater Stadium this Friday.