The Lakeshore mosquito AAA football team played a bunch of half-games this season.
That’s not to say that they only showed up halfway through, or only played hard on 50 per cent of snaps.
They, literally, could only put up points in the first half of most games they played because MMFL league rules stipulate that games should not end with a score differential of more than 40 points, and by halftime of most games, the Cougars usually had at least 30 – and on average, they allowed 3.75 points per half, so second halfs often featured running time and liberal substitutions at many positions, for two reasons A) to get boys some game time playing other positions if we needed to put them in there on an emergency basis and B) to curb the number of points we would score in any second half, strategically taking us right up to a 40-pount differential, or close to it, at the end of games.
How did we do it?
By emphasizing, as a unit fundamental, solid football and taking the straightest path to the end zone.
We ran in the middle of the field.
“Most mosquito teams try to run outside primarily, but not us,” said Lakeshore mosquito head coach and offensive coordinator Glen Cooper. “We wanted to run the ball inside because we happened to be blessed with the personnel to be able to do so,” he said.
On top of an offensive line boasting two returning starters from last year’s championship squad, guard Cole Lalonde and centre Ben Devine, and swing tackle Samson Sun, newcomers Nathan MacIntosh and Nathan Zeliger and rookie tackle Camil Gagnon provided the Cougars with the personnel to be able to run their very talented backfield up the middle over and over. The unit scored 383 points in nine regular-season games and 50 more in two playoff shutouts.
Even quarterback sneaks with shifty speedster Matt Cooper at quarterback netted frequent double-digit-yard-gains, and bruising fullback Roman Cordoba, running backs Simon He and Jeremy St-Vil. Niron Sexton filled in all over the lineup, as quarterback, in both running back spots, and at tight end, when Cooper’s accurate throwing arm and the team’s running game combined to break Sexton on deep play-actions, where fake runs brought defenders to the line of scrimmage while Sexton ran past them and Cooper threw over top of them.
On the outside, receivers Vincent Boisselle, Jake Roberts, Edouard Wright and Chase Racine provided invaluable blocking and helped out running the ball once in a while.
“We preached ball security, and they took care of the football,” Cooper said. “With the speed we had at the running back and the quarterback spot, all we had to do was get to the second level where there was more space and we were able to do that on a consistent basis,” he said.
With offseason conditioning programs in the works, Cooper and his offense will start from scratch in the springtime, no doubt drawing on some of the schemes they used to such success in 2019