While a lot of the spotlight may be on running backs Hunter Delaney and Tison Johnson along with quarterback Dylan Cribley, Morristown West coach Alvin Sanders emphasizes where this offense starts in every interview.
“It all starts with our offensive line,” is a quote Sanders has given after every game this season.
“This offensive line comes every day and works extremely hard,” Sanders said. “They have one of the toughest assignments on the field. They get all types of looks from blitzes and all. They never complain. They always ask what they can do to be better, and you can see how well they are doing and that’s a testament for how hard they truly work.”
The five guys to know up front are left tackle Kameron Fain, left guard Tyler Needs, center Jonathan Glover, right guard Jaiden Picardi and right tackle Haydin Stanley. Each one of them has done their part for this rushing game to be so successful.
The power of this line has the Trojans averaging 215.5 rushing yards per game and has pushed the running backs into the end zone a total of seven times in just four games.
The defense of Morristown West has done an excellent job of stopping the opponent’s rushing game but has failed to stop a lethal passing attack.
Especially in the Citizen Tribune Classic.
Morristown East’s quarterback Cole Henson had a record-breaking performance with his 491 passing yards, completing 31 passes and throwing five touchdowns.
“We have to do a better job with us breaking on the football,” Sanders said. “For one, we have to be in position when the ball is in the air. We want them to stay aggressive. We will work on that and continue to get better.
“The second thing is, we have had communication busts. Three of the touchdown passes that East scored on us were because of communication busts.”
And it wasn’t the first time this season that a quarterback has broken a record against West.
Farragut’s quarterback Dawson Moore threw for six touchdown passes to break a single-record for Farragut High School against West the week before the “City Championship.” Moore threw for 318 yards.
Stopping the passing game of opponents is the only part this West defense is missing to create a complete defensive unit.
Tough loss to swallow
Morristown West hired Sanders as head football coach of the program in 2017 after Lamar Brown left for Knox West. In his time as leader of the program, he went three years without dropping a game to Morristown East in the “City Championship.”
However, in his fourth year, Sanders took his first loss against the Hurricanes with a 35-28 defeat.
In his first year, West came up with a 42-20 victory to open the season in 2017.
The next two games in 2018 and 2019 were much closer, but the Trojans still came away with the victories (2018’s 28-23 win and 2019’s 23-19 win).
For Sanders, it hasn’t been easy to cope with after speaking with him after the loss and the next day.
“I dwelled on it a little more,” Sanders said. “I know how upset my players were to lose this game. They were upset with themselves. As a coach, I’m just asking myself what more do I need to do as a head coach. It’s not easy losing in a rivalry game. It’s not easy to lose any game, but just like any other loss, we are going to learn from this to get better.”