Longhorns On The Road To Bradshaw Mountain

Payson seeks to extend season record to 5-0 against 4A Bears

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If the offense Bradshaw Mountain employs this evening, Sept. 26, against the Longhorns is recognizable, there’s a valid reason for the familiarity.

It’s because in Longhorn coach Josh Anderson’s first year at the helm of the program, 2006, he used the Wing-T before dumping it the following season in favor of the power-option.

Bradshaw Mountain coach Chuck Apap, who might not be on the sidelines this evening because he is recovering from a heart attack, continues to employ the Wing-T. However, it only remotely resembles the true Delaware Wing-T offense that has been around for ages. At least three former PHS coaches ran the Delaware version prior to Anderson’s arrival.

Whatever scheme Apap runs of the storied offense, he built a reputation as a master of it during his head coaching stint at Walled Lake Central High School in Michigan.

Since his time there, he’s traveled the country preaching the virtues of his offense at a variety of clinics, including the highly popular Frank Glazier Riddell Megaclinics.

This season, however, Apap’s charges have struggled with both the Wing-T and on defense.

The Bears are 0-4 with losses to Buckeye, 21-18, Greenway, 49-33, Notre Dame Prep, 27-0, and Prescott, 35-21.

The Bear offense is led by quarterback Cole Sampson (No. 2) and running back Mychael Eikenberry (No. 34).

Sampson leads the Bears in rushing, with 387 yards on 51 carries, and in passing, with eight completions in 20 attempts for 214 yards.

“They would rather run him (Sampson) than have him throw the ball,” Anderson said.

In the Wing-T, quarterbacks get most of their running yards on boots, waggles, options and keeps.

Eikenberry supplements Sampson’s efforts well with 248 yards on 52 carries for an average of 4.77.

“He is a tough runner,” PHS defensive coordinator Kenny Hayes said.

Defensively, Bradshaw runs a 3-5-3 stack that has the potential of making offenses seem painfully anemic or as red-hot as the New York Giants on Super Bowl Sunday.

“With a defense like that, sometimes we’ll guess right and really look good and sometimes we’ll run right into their blitz,” Anderson said. “The pass looks really good, but it’s tough to block eight guys with six or seven guys on offense.

“They come from all over the place and are really bouncing around.”

Longtime Horn fans might remember former defensive coordinator Tee Feeney used the gimmicky defense to some success in the late 1980s.

The challenge for PHS senior signal caller Ridge Halenar will be to take short, three-step drops, make his reads and get rid of the ball quickly.

The backs “are going to have to continue to hit holes hard and break some tackles,” Anderson said.

The biggest test will be for the offensive line to be cognizant of where the point of attack is, recognize all blitzes, stunts and games, and quickly move laterally to block them.

The Longhorns (4-0) enter the game undefeated, ranked second in the state and knowing that a win over the 4A Bears could provide the power points it takes to catapult the team to the top of the 3A point rankings.

Of course, that could lead to the Horns taking a No. 1 seed into the state tournament when it begins Nov. 7.

The Horns also take to Bradshaw several individuals who are among the top performers in the 3A East region.

Halenar has moved to third place in passing statistics with 415 yards.

In rushing, David Carlen is ranked fifth, with 284 yards.

Defensively, Carlen has 49 tackles to lead the East. Tyler Savage has 42 takedowns and is third.

Noseguard Ryan Schatz’s six sacks is easily the best in the East.

In interceptions, Max Johnson is tied for second with two, but had one reversed on a penalty.

Coach pleas for support

With game night rapidly approaching, Anderson continues to stress the importance of having plenty of fan support at Bradshaw.

“I know they think this is going to be their first win, and they even made us homecoming to help get them pumped up,” he said. “Our fans getting over there is crucial; this should be a tough battle,” Anderson said.

Kickoff is 7 p.m.

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