Usually, Masuk takes a drive down I-95 down for this annual scrimmage and gets hammered.
Not this time. In fact, with a relatively strong effort against the defending Class LL champs, Masuk proved it is going to be tough to beat in the SWC this season.
Both teams were nowhere near full strength, injured players dotted both lineups and the JV players went off to scrimmage by themselves. But, overall it was a pretty entertaining.
Yes, Greenwich won 21-14. But pound-for-pound, play-for-play, these two teams took turns whupping the other for a while.
Masuk zipped right down the field and scored with a touchdown reception by Niko Gurrera from receiver-turned-quarterback Ray Palmer, who showed he’ll be an playmaker in the shotgun this year. Late in the game, Palmer added a nifty touchdown run. Perhaps more impressive was Masuk’s defense, led by hard-charging all-state linebacker Scott Christy, which went toe-to-toe with the G Men for awhile before finally yielding to some big plays late in the game.
Strange to say, strange to see, but Greenwich actually looked liked a lot like Masuk out there running its own version of the spread offense, snapping the ball with a “shush” cadence and running QB bootlegs and throwing deep five or six times in a series, instead of in a game.
The biggest difference between the two offenses? Size. New QB Tucker Stafford is probably 6-foot-5, his receivers, too are big and strong. And then Stafford started throwing the ball around, he set up his own score with a rainbow down to the 1-yard line. Later, he connected for two well-placed touchdowns passes to offset the one interception he threw. “He’s got a cannon,” Christy said coming off the field.
Now you can understand why Greenwich is making the switch to the spread. They have the weapons. Big fullback Jonathan Meyers really didn’t look like himself running out of it. In fact, the Division I–er, I mean, the Bowl Championship subdivision, recruit lined up in the slot as a receiver a few times.
Later, he admitted the Cards are still learning the moves. “Running a new offense is tough,” he said. “You’re slow because you’re thinking instead of playing.”
Like Masuk, the Cards have been banged up, and were missing a few starters, especially on the lines. Still, the Cards will be just fine. Their defense lost Sean Bannon and Charles Williams (among others), but they’ll be ready to go for Central and remain the favorite to repeat as league champions.
Masuk figures to be one of the top teams vying for the FCIAC title. The winner of their game with Bunnell will likely go to the league title game.
Here’s a taste of both teams, with emphasis on plays involving Jonathan Meyers and the Masuk D (which was the best stuff I could get).
Meyers vs. Christy
Masuk back Bob Ambrose vs. Greenwich back John Kavanaugh
Meyers sideline run
These next two are of the quarterbacks