Week 3 football preview: Zebra defense looks to stop Whitko spread
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Whitko (1-1, 0-1 Three Rivers Conference) at Rochester (0-0, 0-0), 7 p.m.
RHS has beaten Whitko the last three years and eight of the last nine.
The way for that trend to continue figures to be by running the ball. Whitko’s defense allowed 413 yards rushing in a 49-14 loss to Peru last week.
Defensively, Whitko has switched from a four-man front last year to a three-man front this year, according to RHS coach Sean Kelly.
RHS features two new running backs in tailback Gavin McKee and fullback Alex Deming. Left tackle Hunter Shriver, center Brady Beck and right tackle Jesse Shriver are among those who will be making their first career starts on the offensive line.
“That’s probably going to be a strength of our team,” Kelly said. “We’re very hopeful we can establish that run. That is where the strength of our team is right now. So we’re going to try to do that. Obviously, we’re going to mix in the throw to keep people honest, but we’re probably a run team first.”
As for Whitko’s offense, junior quarterback Ethan Schuh is in his second year as a starter, but coach Phil Jensen has switched offensive philosophies and gone with more of a spread. Schuh threw 24 times against Peru, but he could also take the shotgun snap and hand it off to fullback Cade Berg on an inside zone play.
“They’re shotgun spread,” Kelly said. “You’ll see them in double twins (two wide receivers on each side of the line). You’ll see them in trips (three wide receivers to one side of the line). They’ll do some bunch formation out wide line up a single receiver on the other side, and sometimes they’ll try to isolate him and try to throw it to him. Sometimes, they’ll try to throw it out to the bunch.
“(Schuh) will run every so often, but I think he’s more of a thrower than a runner.”