Two of the biggest stories I have covered since I last logged in as the author of the Saturday Sentinel have run this week. Like many of you out there, I have a fascination with football's T-formation and, more specifically, the Morris football team's use of the almost extinct formation.
The other story that I had a little fun with this week was writing up the All-Area Girls Golf team story and the piece I did on Olivia Kief, this year's MVP. Olivia is a true pioneer of the sport, which makes her story such a good one.
Like most good stories that get written, often times too much reporting goes into the matter. Which is why we have the Sentinel — to share the additional stuff that we record (when the tape recorder doesn't fail, that is).
Let's start with the T-formation story. To put it in layman's terms, the T is designed for a team who is generally bigger and stronger than the other team so they can run them over. It is a real rush for the superior team and quite frustrating to the opposition when it goes unstopped.
"It's kind of depressing for the other team when they can't stop it," Morris senior Reese Sobol said. "They know its going to be off-tackle one way or a counter and they can't stop it no matter what they do."
Morris senior lineman Preston Miracle told me that it really takes a lot out of a team — both running it and trying to stop it.
"It tires us out, but coach (Keith) Anderson will look at us and ask if we're tired and he also expects a 'no' from us," Miracle said. "You can see what it does to the other team. By the time the third quarter rolls around, they are just beat on the other line."
The 11 that have been in on most T-formation assignments this year include linemen Miracle, Craig Claire, T.J. Layne, Drew Aldridge and Bubba Henry, tight ends Danny Friend and Anthonee Monson, quarterback Zach Cinnamon and backs Sobol, Jeff Perry and Collin Grogan.
"Nik Countryman and Austin Laurie have also been in there and done a good job of running it, too," Morris offensive coordinator Bill Lauer said.
Lauer also talked about having three diversified backs to utilize out of the T.
"We have three backs. Perry is kind of a hybrid between Collin and Reese. Reese is our speed guy and Collin is our power guy," he said. "If you look at stats the over the years, both Reese and Jeff shared carries. They were almost dead on 100 carries and almost 800 yards apiece. Because of Jeff's size, he's a very good fullback, but he could probably be a top running back for most teams."
And if you focus too much on them, Cinnamon just may keep it himself.
"We have three good running backs and an offensive line that loves to run the T. We also have two good blocking tight ends in Danny and Anthonee," Sobol said. "We do a nice job with it. And even when we do a sweep with Cinnamon, he's a great runner too, so it works well."
Something else that has worked out real well for Morris Community High School is Kief. She started playing golf at a very early age and then, since the Redskins athletic program does not have a girls team, she started playing with the boys.
Kief shared her memories of going to a golf course for the first time.
"The first time I remember going to the golf course (Morris Country Club) was after my grandpa gave me a set of golf clubs at the age of 6," she said.
She was then inspired years later by Sarah Supergan over in Seneca. Supergan had to take the same route Kief did because at the time the Fighting Irish didn't have a girls team, either. They have since put a team together, however.
"I was in the eighth grade. I don't remember who it was, but someone told me that I should go out. They said, 'The girl from Seneca goes out and does well and you can too.' I then practiced all summer and from the first day of the season I went out and decided to stick with it."
Morris is the only school in the readership area with a boys golf team but without a girls version as Seneca and Coal City have since joined Minooka with squads. Perhaps having someone like Kief carrying the torch (or golf bag) for the sport, the Redskins will soon follow suit.