Couple of quick notes about the game at St. Mary this Saturday before any analyzing, the game will not be on the St. Mary campus. According to Spire SID Tony Hurla the new facility isn’t completed, but they have started playing soccer games at the new stadium. The game will be held at Leavenworth High School.
As to the game itself, well it could last quite a while.
The Spires love the air game as usual and last week in a 52-25 loss to Tabor, they put the ball up 58 times. Freshman quarterback Drew Cortez was 34 of 61 for 434 yards and one TD. He was picked three times.
Cortez favors Cole Williams (11 catches, 167 yards) and Antonio Cannon and Shaun Edwards, both with eight receptions and each for over 100 yards.
I’m not sure it will reach the 4 hour and four minute span that the Swedes played against St. Mary in 2002 when Mike Strack and a pair of Spire gunners combined for over 140 passes in a 42-41 Bethany win.
The Swedes will try to keep their offense balanced between run and pass since the 20th ranked Blue Jays gouged St. Mary for 421 yards on 49 rushes while the Spires finished with only 14 yards on the ground on 20 carries.
Defensively, St. Mary favors a huge nose and smaller men in the other positions in variations of a 4-2. Again, Bethany should have an advantage size wise at most of the line positions.
It appears that Virgil Bridges is back to health and is listed as the starter on the weekly 2-Deeps. One change however is at right tackle where Eric Soliz is listed as the starter at 6-2, 270.
After red-shirting as a freshman, Soliz was an offensive starter off and on as a freshman and sophomore, but didn’t see much time last season.
With the change of coaching regimes, Soliz deceided to put off graduation until the end of this fall semester and use that last season of eligibility.
Last spring Paul Hubbard and his staff moved him to defense, but at the start of this season, it was back to offense and then it became a matter of learning the new system and blocking schemes.
Alphonso Dixon, who was the right tackle, has moved inside to right guard, backing up Bryan Polio. Justin Skinner has moved from a guard position to back up Soliz at tackle.
The defensive rotations in the secondary will get a workout against St. Mary, trying to keep people fresh. Ditto for the pass rushers up front going after Cortez.
Team-wise, St. Mary is three points per game better than Bethany; 17.3-14.3 and has a much better average on total yardage, 358.5 to 269.8 but a passing team usually puts up good total yardage numbers.
Both teams have trouble stopping the run, so it will be interesting if the Swedes can keep the ball on the ground.