Tuesday, November 06, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> Mt. Ida a hard draw for Bison in opener

Leader sportswriter

After last week’s 30-14 win over England in the regular-season finale, the Carlisle Bison won a share of the 2A-6 conference championship, their third conference title in a row.

Hazen (7-3, 6-1), the 2A-6 co-champs, is still the No. 1 seed out of the conference due to its 16-14 upset win over the Bison in week seven. As a result, No. 2 seed Carlisle (8-1, 6-1) will begin the first round of the class 2A state playoffs at home Friday against the No. 4 seed from the 2A-5 conference, Mount Ida (6-4, 4-3).

“It’s a tough first round draw,” said Carlisle coach Scott Waymire about the Lions, “but you know at this time of year they’re all supposed to be pretty tough. Mount Ida’s a team that probably didn’t reach all of its expectations in the regular season. I know coach White (Mount Ida) had a lot of guys back from last year’s team that went to the second round of the playoffs.

“They were trying to win a conference championship and had some injuries that prevented that. But a new season starts and everybody is 0-0, and everybody’s on the same level, trying to win a playoff game.”

The Lions run the option-oriented split back offense, which is run primarily through senior standout running back Josh Hall. Last season, Hall set the school’s single-season rushing record with 2,234 yards.

Hall has had to play multiple roles this season. He even spent some time at quarterback when starter Dustin Elder was out due to injuries. Elder is healthy now, which has allowed Hall to go back to the backfield full time.

“He’s a player,” Waymire said of Hall. “Any time you rush for over 2,200 yards, you’re a player. And visiting with coaches in their conference, they rave about him. He has the capabilities to take a game over. We definitely have to try to bottle him up, because he’s going to get touches. He averages about 25 carries on a Friday night. So he’s going to get his touches. We just have to try and contain him, and not let him break any big ones on us. If we don’t slow him down it’s going to be a long night for us.”

On the defensive side of the ball, the Lions will likely line up in a 5-3 or 4-4 to try and slow down the Bison run game. However, Mount Ida could be in for a long night as the Lions’ defense has given up a total of 253 points this season.

Carlisle was the best in the 2A-6 this year in both points scored and points allowed. The Bison scored 361 points in the regular season, while the defense gave up just 60. Carlisle’s offense has been led primarily by junior running back Deron Ricks.

Ricks should eclipse 1,000 rushing yards for the season this week after rushing for 145 last week against England. Ricks sat out the first quarter for undisclosed reasons, and his first carry of the game was an 8-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. However, the touchdown was waved off on a controversial illegal procedure penalty.

Ricks was penalized for leaping over an England defender during the play, which Waymire says was a misinterpretation of the rule.

“It’s a rule that you hardly ever see enforced,” Waymire said of the penalty, “but the rule states that you can’t hurdle a defender as long as that defender has one or both feet only touching the ground. They created a pile and Deron dived over our kids, and he actually dove over our guard, and got it called back.

“I’ve never seen that called, and (the officials) misinterpreted the rule in my opinion. We got a field goal out of it, but we sure should’ve had a touchdown. That was a heck of a run by Deron. That’s a big thing to have that run taken back, because he gets through a pile and then carries two guys into the end zone.”

Other than the point differentials between the two respective teams, Carlisle and Mount Ida are similar in regards to style of play. Both teams like to run the ball and line up anywhere between six and eight players up front on defense to stop the run.

Waymire knows there are areas on the field where his team will have its advantages and disadvantages, but wants all the help available, including a strong turnout from the home crowd.

“When you get in the playoffs, everybody throws in a couple of things here or there,” Waymire said. “The good thing we have is we get to play them at home. I think that’s always an advantage for the home team to play in the playoffs. So we have that going for us, but whenever it’s kickoff, it’s just a matter of two teams and who wants to keep on playing.”