The Early Lead: A second half team is good for now
By BRANDON HURLEY
Halftime adjustments is probably one of the bigger cliches out there right now.
But if we are being honest, the new Greene County coaching regime has been all about those locker room tweaks five games into the season.
Anyone with a set of eyes or ears can tell you the Rams are a second half team. The stat sheet speaks for itself – Greene County struggles to put even double digit points up in the first half, then often outscores their opponents over the final two quarters.
It’s too early to tell, but we may look back on Week 5’s second quarter and the ensuing halftime pep talk as the turning point of the 2017 season and the start of the Mitch Moore era.
It should come as little surprise that the Rams played better in the second half last week. But who predicted an offensive explosion we haven’t seen in decades?
Forty-points across the final two periods, a 27-point third quarter and a string of 47 unanswered sprang the winless-at-the-time Greene County football team to its first victory of the year.
To me, it all comes down to that halftime speech. With the score tied at 21 at the break, something incredible must’ve sparked the Rams. Or, they were just plain embarrassed and the coaches let it be known. Either way, the Rams came out with an unstoppable fire and ripped off 40 straight points.
Outside of the football team, we may never know what was said in that rousing, invigorating halftime speech (yes, we heard a voice or two raised a few decibel levels in Iowa Falls), but it sure provoked the Rams.
“To be honest, we challenged the defensive line a little bit. We weren’t playing our Ram tough defense that we had been playing for four games,” Greene County head coach Mitch Moore said. “Coach Mark Sawhill told them they weren’t playing to the best of their ability. If you can step up like you can, you’re going to carry this team offensively and we are going to get the ball in the end zone if we get some stops.
Boy, they turned it up a notch and the offense did, too,” Moore continued. “The team really fed off that. In high school football, which we’ve eluded to a lot, once you get momentum, it’s an incredible thing. We got it, we kept it and had the ball rolling.”
There were so many different things to this game, the outstanding rush game, the emergence of a new star, running back Colby Kafer, who set a single-game rushing record, a defense that forced six turnovers, a comeback that turned into a rout to the likes I’ve never seen. It was a marvel to witness and was a bit surprising, if we are being honest. The Ram offense once again looked like it would let down the defense yet again. They were stuffed on the goal line on the first drive of the game and came away empty-handed on the ensuing drive, which started in Cadet territory . But suddenly, the penalties went away, and Kafer sprang to life. It’s as if a switch was flipped and you couldn’t stop the Rams from scoring. From the second quarter on, Greene County outscored IF-A 61-7. Just remarkable.
The fact that the Rams were able to shake off yet another double-digit deficit but this time turn it into a triumphant victory speaks volumes. It shows that perhaps there is more than just potential to this program. That it could be trending upward quicker than anticipated.
Yes, Iowa Falls-Alden is not a very good team, and yes, they’ve now lost five straight games, but it takes some talent to come back from two touchdowns and turn it into a spectacular blowout.
“It was a lot of fun. I can’t say enough how proud I am of them and this community,” Moore said. “The students, the cheerleaders, all the people that have been supporting me since I got here. This win is for them.
The coach continued, “All those things as they add up, we are getting better. The process is working, we just have to stick to it.”
On to the picks for this week…
Amy Van der Meer of Jefferson pulled off the first perfect week this fall, correctly picking all 16 games in week five of the Bee’s weekly football contest. Five entrants selected 15 correct games, with Calvin Fields of Maquoketa prevailing for second place, predicting a score of 914, which was closest to the actual score of 993. Jane Waldo of Jefferson finished third with a predicted score of 828.
Last week, I went 13-3. My record is now up to 60-20. Let’s see how we all do this week.
1. Boone at Greene County
2. Iowa Falls-Alden at Ballard
3. Perry at Gilbert
4. Webster City at Dallas Center-Grimes
5. Harlan at Carroll
6. Kuemper Catholic at South Central Calhoun
7. West Harrison at Coon Rapids-Bayard
8. Iowa at Michigan State
9. Texas at ISU
10. Northwestern at Wisconsin
11. Clemson at Virginia Tech
12. Ole Miss at Alabama
13. Maryland at Minnesota
14. Georgia at Tennessee
15. USC at Washington State
16. Nebraska at Illinois