The Sharon High football team will take their 5-0 record up against the similarly undefeated King Philip Warriors this Friday night in Wrentham.
“I think we’re going out there with a good game plan and a lot of momentum,” said senior captain Adam Block. “I think we’re going to give them our best.”
The Eagles are coming off of a 21-14 overtime victory in Canton last Friday night, in which the visitors staged a massive fourth-quarter comeback.
Senior offensive lineman Ryan Elantri says that Sharon must perform better at the start of Friday’s game at Arnold Macktaz Field.
“We can’t play a fourth-quarter-comeback-type game against KP,” said Elantri. “We’ve got to come out like we did in the fourth quarter.”
Senior receiver Bradley Kaufman said, “We’ve got to come out hitting and scoring right at the beginning, instead of waiting until the second half.
“They’re a really good team. If we can come out strong in the first half, and play like we’ve played all season in the second half, I wouldn’t rule us out,” Kaufman added.
“It’s going to be a great atmosphere for King Philip, a lot of people there for Homecoming,” said Head Coach Dave Morse. “They have a good football team. You have to start fast, put scores up in the first quarter, to make sure momentum stays even or even goes our way.”
In 2011, King Philip traveled to Sharon and trounced the Eagles. Morse says that he needs to offer his squad a stronger game plan for this year’s game.
“I got outcoached that day. I didn’t prepare the guys well enough,” said Morse. “That really has a lot to do with the score.
“We’ve got to prepare better. I’ve got to do a better job of calling plays, putting our guys into positions to make things happen, match our guys up correctly,” Morse added.
“We’ve made a lot of progress. At this point, we can’t look back at the past; we’ve just got to keep looking forward,” Elantri said.
Sharon has recently commanded attention from the regional media; The Boston Globe published a spread about the Eagles in Thursday’s paper and predicted them to beat King Philip in Friday’s edition.
Morse says that Sharon has had a strong week of practice. “The offense executed a little bit better than last week, which is good to see, especially coming off of a tight game where we didn’t move the ball well.
“As long as we can move the ball on the ground, 4, 5, 6, 10 yards per carry, we should have a chance to pull out a win,” Morse said.
“Our [offensive] line definitely needs to step it up; blocking needs to improve,” said Block, a lineman. “We’ve got to get a better push on the D-line.”
King Philip won the Kelly-Rex Division last year and was thus one of the two teams to represent the Hockomock League in the playoffs. Morse says that the Warriors will be fierce again this year.
“They’re very aggressive on the offensive and defensive lines. They’ve got a great quarterback coming back,” said Morse. “They have a strong running game with a very skilled receiver, too.
“We’ve just got to cover these guys; they’ve got a spread passing attack. Also, once they go to a run set, we’ve got to be able to tackle and make plays,” Morse added.
“One of their base formations is mainly all-running game, so stopping the run is very crucial,” said Elantri. “At the same time, we’ve got to stop the pass, because they have two receivers they like to throw to.”
Morse says that King Philip defense features multiple formations and skilled players. “They fly around. They move very well – lateral speed is tremendous. All-around, a very complete team,” he said.
Block says that Sharon expects to emerge victorious on Friday, whereas in past years, they would have taken solace in merely not being blown out by a larger school with a more established football program.
“We’re not looking to get close. We’re looking to win,” said Block. “I think we’re a different team this year – different mindset. We’re going to give them our all, and they’re going to have to earn a win.”
“The satisfaction of playing a close game is out the window with this team,” said Morse. “We’ve moved past that as a program. We’re going in expecting to win. Each player is expected to do his job. Regardless of who we’re playing, we expect to win.”
Following the Canton game, Morse told his squad that the last time Sharon opened 5-0, the 1998 season, they did not win another game. The coach says that his responsibility is to make sure that his team does not lose intensity going forward.
“They’ve got to stay focused,” said Morse. “They can’t be happy through the first five games. You want to be happy after the last 11 games. We have to keep going, getting better. If we get complacent, we’re going to fall into quicksand.”
Block said, “We’re not satisfied with five wins. We plan on winning more, and we plan on winning the Davenport Division.”