CERES – They knew who was getting the ball.
And they knew right where he was going.
But when Sierra’s Mark Paule Jr. approached the line of scrimmage on nearly each of his 30 carries Friday night against the Central Valley Hawks at Ceres High School, the shifty and elusive runner still managed to pick his places and go.
A little bit here. A little bit there.
They all add up. And by the time the night was finished Paule Jr. had burst out for 153 yards and in a 23-13 victory – the school’s first of the season.
“I found later that I was able to open up to things and transition and flow a lot better,” Paule Jr. said. “And we need to make some changes ourselves if having that sort of flow is something that we’re going to way to try to focus on.
“It feels good to win but we know that there were a lot of things out there we need to work on. All of us. And that’s what we’re going to do.”
Sierra started the night on offense, and while Paule did what he does the overall consensus among players and coaches running the “no huddle” and “call it at the line” system was that it could have been a lot tighter. It should have been better.
Things didn’t start out well for the Timberwolves. Every time it appeare ed that they’d make solid progress, a penalty or a dropped pass would kill the drive and led to both teams being scoreless at the end of the first quarter. But then the offensive line began dominating the line of scrimmage – freeing up quarterback Mark Vicente to float in passes to the likes of Daniel Wyatt. Together the tandem accounted for 132 of the overall passing yards, spaced out over seven catches. They also scored a touchdown together.
For Sierra head coach Jeff Harbison, however, it was a wakeup call for everybody and a chance to pick apart concrete ways that the team needs to improve.
“There are definitely some things that we need to fix and we need to figure out right now,” Harbison said. “We saw some flashes right there at the end but we need to figure out how to put together four quality quarters of football.
“I think that our defense did a good job tonight – I’ll take anytime that you can hold a team to only six offensive points. But I’m not even thinking about Lodi next week right now. I just want to go look at the tape tonight at how things broke down in places and find out how we can improve upon that.”