Borland's old team expected to push Chiefs

Thursday, September 18, 2003
The Chiefs may be looking for junior tight end Clay Michael to make an impact on offense to match a strong Windsor passing attack.

ALMA -- Jarrod Borland remembers the last time Windsor beat I-70 Conference power Santa Fe on the gridiron.

He should, since he was a senior on that 1988 Greyhound team. Since then, it's been nothing but frustration for Borland's old school -- much of which he has personally witnessed. In his five years as a Chiefs' assistant, Windsor has lost by a total margin of 272 to 24 -- including shutouts the past three meetings.

Of course, none of that will matter Friday when at Alma.

"This is a different team for them and a different team for us," Borland noted. "We have to come out and play well if we want to beat anybody."

The 'Hounds (2-0, 2-0 I-70), supplemented by the arrival of some talented newcomers this year, have already notched a pair of impressive wins -- blanking a veteran Wellington-Napoleon club, 18-0, and demolishing Sweet Springs, 45-7. Senior quarterback Ryan Parks has completed 16 of 27 passes for 306 yards and three touchdowns -- including nine passes for 158 yards to 6-foot-3 senior Shane Mochel.

"Pass defense is not one of our strongest suits," Borland admitted. The linebackers and secondary corps "has played pretty well the first two weeks, but not against anyone who passes the ball a lot."

Santa Fe (1-1, 1-0) will also have to keep an eye on senior running back Jake Vencill, who has rushed for 194 yards and six TDs. Given that the Chiefs have allowed opponents 6.6 yards per carry, this is a concern -- especially since they have yet to establish a consistent ground attack of their own, gaining just 4.2 yards per attempt.

"If we can use our size across the line to control tackle to tackle, we're going to be successful," Borland said. "The size, strength and speed of our offensive line is really going to show this week."

It may have had an effect last Friday, when Santa Fe held defending league champion Orrick close for three quarters to set up a late comeback for a 20-18 upset. Could that have been a turning point in the maturation of a young Chiefs squad?

"To come out and play the way we did at the end showed tremendous character and confidence in our ability to get things done," Borland declared. "This could be a big key to the season."

Then again, it will mean little if Santa Fe doesn't follow it up with a strong effort. Given Windsor's long history of frustration against the Chiefs, it's newfound prowess and Borland's emotional ties to the school, he's "a little more nervous" about this game than others.

"There's a little more at stake with me," Borland conceded. "I don't really want to lose to Windsor.

"Still, I think it will be fun."

Slater at Braymer

SLATER -- With two easy wins over Central Rivers Conference teams, Slater head coach Tom Doherty is approaching a third such foe with more trepidation.

After all, even with the Wildcats rolling, Braymer (1-1) -- which has reached the playoffs two of the past three years -- is a whole different breed of cat.

"I hope we're not feeling overconfident," Doherty cautioned. "The more film we watch on these guys, the better they look."

Of greatest concern is the Bobcats' big offensive line, which opens up the power running of senior fullback Zach Ford and junior halfback Chance Guffey.

"They fire off the ball and sustain their blocks," Doherty said. "They're all ball-control offense that's just going to run and run and run on you."

The Purple is quick off the mark on the defensive front, which may help it shoot the gaps and disrupt exchanges, but that won't be easy with the Braymer backs lining up just three yards behind the line of scrimmage.

Slater has been able to use its speed and a balanced attack to generate 330.0 yards per game in total offense, but not against teams with as imposing a line as the Bobcats'.

"They don't come across real hard, but flow real well side to side," Doherty explained. "They let you get back to the line, but not beyond that."

A year ago, Braymer beat the 'Cats on their home turf -- but the 12-0 margin wasn't so imposing that Slater (2-0) should consider it impossible to return the favor. If anything, the Purple may recognize the possibilities.

"That may have been a direction in the way our two teams went," Doherty recalled. "We're definitely looking at this game as trying to keep the streak going and getting a little momentum."

St. Mary's at Sweet Springs

SWEET SPRINGS -- Two teams which are badly in need of a reversal of misfortune will clash at Sweet Springs Friday, although neither much resembles the units which met a year ago.

On its way to its third straight playoff appearance, St. Mary's thrashed the Greyhounds -- which went on the share the I-70 Conference title -- 39-19. However, the Trojans (0-2) are coming off a 45-7 loss to Pembroke Hill and the Blue and Gold hasn't looked good in either of its games -- especially last week's 45-7 setback at Windsor.

"Sometimes it takes a game like that to get the kids to understand what you're trying to tell them and step it up on the practice field," remarked Sweet Springs head coach Jeff Holtzman. "We had to focus on certain fundamentals."

Unlike the run-pass balance Windsor brought, the 'Hounds have to concentrate on stopping the option executed by St. Mary's senior quarterback Ben VanBibber.

"He's fast and a very good athlete," Holtzman said. "We have to turn him inside and get the pursuit to him."

Sweet Springs has shown the ability to move the ball, but only sporadically -- picking up four or five yards on first down, then facing third-and-long situations.

"We've got to be more consistent," Holtzman confessed. "We'd get a good play and make a terrible mistake."

The 'Hounds (1-1) are certainly looking for something. Maybe it's the leadership they could count on during the past few years. Whatever, with a stretch of five league games upcoming, Sweet Springs needs to get it together if it wants to remain in contention.

"We're focused on getting off to a good start, but -- if not -- we've got to hang in there," Holtzman said. "Our kids really need to compete hard for four quarters."

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