Wednesday, November 24, 1999

Edgewood flying on Wing-T and prayer

Strong blocking by offensive line carries Cougars

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Edgewood offensive line: Anthony Dawes, Jesse Scott, Jimmy Cassidy, Brian Rudd and Chris Oliver.
(Gary Landers photo)
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        The best description of the Edgewood football team's unheralded offensive line was offered by Brian Rudd, a senior left guard. “We're like a hurricane,” Rudd said.

        “Every opponent knows we're coming, but they can't do anything about it.”

        Edgewood, which operates out of the Wing-T offense, can trace the success of its 1,000-yard rushers — David White, Danny Beiser and Ryan White — to the blocking of a small line (190-pound average) that executes with perfection.

        Undefeated in 13 games, the Cougars play Sylvania Southview (12-1) at 7:30p.m. Friday in a Division II state semifinal game at Troy Memorial Stadium.

        The winner advances to the state championship game Dec.3 at Canton's Fawcett Stadium against the winner of the Walsh Jesuit-Uniontown Lake game.

        One of only a handful of coaches embracing the Wing-T, Steve Channell is convinced that if executed properly, it's one of the toughest offenses to defend.

        “The Wing-T relies on speed, and the play starts with the first step, which has to be at the correct angle,” Channell said.

        The Wing-T offense has a running back lined up off the tight end, with two running backs splitting the backfield behind the quarterback. “We'll use about four formations that have about six or seven basic plays,” Channell said. “Each series has different blocking schemes, which makes it tough on the defensive line, because they never know who's going to block them.”

        After Channell took over at Edgewood 10 years ago, he immediately installed the Wing-T offense at every level of the program, taking it down to the the youth leagues. “It's a matter of how you want to organize a program,” Channell said. “We take average kids, work with them three or four years, and by the time they're juniors, they're pretty good.”

        It took Channell five seasons before the Wing-T clicked. During the past four-plus seasons, Edgewood has amassed a 45-5 record.

        “Every day we practice the same thing,” junior guard Jesse Scott said. “It's the repetition that makes us better. We can't tilt or turn, and we must look straight ahead, or the opponent knows what we're going to do.”

        Besides Rudd (160 pounds) and Scott (198), the other linemen are Anthony Dawes (200), Jimmy Cassidy (185), Jason Glancy (205) and Chris Oliver (180).

        “Our offense and defense are built around speed,” Channell said. “We don't want big linemen unless they can run. The kids learn at a young age that if they want to play on Friday night, they must be able to run and move their feet.”

        First-year quarterback Brandon Osborne also has been a key player.

        “We call two plays in the huddle,” Channell said. “Based on the opponent's defense, Brandon calls the play at the line. He's done an excellent job.”

        • Records: Edgewood 13-0, Sylvania Southview 12-1

        • What: Division II state semifinals

        • When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

        • Where: Troy Memorial Stadium, Troy

        • Tickets: $5 at school or Trenton Ameristop

        • At stake: Winner advances to state championship game.


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