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Archive for Thursday, November 3, 2005

Tittrington: McLouth relishes success

November 3, 2005

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The beauty of McLouth High's best football season in more than two decades is the many side effects that have resulted from the Bulldogs' newfound habit of winning ballgames.

Boisterous, cowbell-clanging fans decked out in purple and gold now pack the west bleachers that, as recently as two years ago, were so quiet they could have been mistaken for the public library.

The clerk working behind the counter at Casey's General Store - or anywhere else in town, for that matter - is bored stiff between 7 and 9 on game nights.

Physical fitness for the varsity cheerleaders is at an all-time high, courtesy of their decision to steal a page from many college squads and crank out push-ups following each McLouth score.

And offensive linemen now get their names in the newspaper.

You want to talk about senior tailback Kevin Stewart and his 1,700-plus yards and 28 touchdowns? A very worthy topic, to be sure.

Still, I want to talk about Danny Crouse, Jake Eibes, Jason McGhee, Ryan Perry and Jonah Wise - the five guys most responsible for helping Stewart get his numbers while likewise helping McLouth (10-0) win a state playoff game for the first time since the final days of the Carter administration.

I asked everyone I talked with following Tuesday night's 30-7 victory over Sabetha in a Class 3A bi-district matchup for the best words to describe this bunch.

Coach Harry Hester offered up "smart" and "physical." Stewart opted for "tough" and "determined," while McGhee, a senior who lines up at right guard, talked about leadership and unity.

Let me throw another adjective out there: fearless.

When the Bulldogs line up on offense, it looks like something out of Steve Spurrier's playbook. Four wideouts spread the field, and there's not a fullback, an H-back or a tight end to be found. If you didn't know better, you'd expect quarterback Jimmy Steffey to start slinging the ball all over the place for McLouth to have any success moving the football.

Instead, it's up to the five guys up front - and five guys only - to blow holes open, as Hester asked them to do on 84 percent of his play calls Tuesday. One missed block, and there's nobody hanging out in the backfield to clean up the mess.

"It starts with an attitude. We're going to run the football," said Hester, himself a former lineman who oversees the unit. "I coach 'em and we instill it (that) we're going to go out : and we're going to kick butt."

It's a simple message that has struck a cord with the big boys up front.

"I personally believe that if we can run the ball, we're going to win a lot of football games," McGhee said.

Let's see: 38.7 points per game this fall, a 1,700-yard rusher who crosses the goal line a shade under three times per game, the first perfect regular season since 1977 and a convincing first-round playoff victory - all just two seasons after the second of back-to-back 0-9 finishes.

Yeah, that's probably sufficient evidence to support such a belief.

Comments

go_jayhawks 8 years, 5 months ago

Way to go, Bulldogs! Congrats on an awesome season and good luck on Sat!

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DawgFan 8 years, 5 months ago

Bulldogs, we are very proud of you and what you've done, everyone of you, from the 12 seniors, down to the lone 2 freshman. Without all of you, none of you would be where you are right now. Go kick some Silver Lake butt on Saturday and bring home another championship trophy! GO DAWGS!!

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