2014 football preview: Stopping the run game key to success in CCC

Defenses in the Clarence Cannon Conference will have to stop bruising backs like Palmyra's Trevor Wheeler, center, in order to win the league championship.
Posted: Aug. 20, 2014 7:37 am Updated: Sep. 10, 2014 8:15 am

Herald-Whig Sports Writer

Jacob Trump counts on waking up sore on Saturday mornings.

After what he typically endures on the football field on Friday nights, it would be a surprise if he didn't have any aches and pains.

The feature back in the Clark County football team's offense and one of the top running backs in the Clarence Cannon Conference, Trump gets pounded and pummeled weekly.

"You see good linebackers and good (defensive) lines every week," Trump said. "The CCC is a run-oriented conference. Teams are built to defend the run and built to run."

Offenses in the CCC have onew common objective -- run the football.

And defenses have to be able to do one thing well -- stop the run.

"It gets pretty difficult," Palmyra senior linebacker Trevor Wheeler said. "Our coaches want us to trust each other. If we can trust each other to get it done, then it becomes easier."

But stopping the run is a must.

"The teams that are successful are going to run the ball well, but play stingy defense," Monroe City coach David Kirby said. "The good teams keep others under 100 yards rushing. They sell out on defense."

CCC running backs like Trump, Monroe City's Tariq Garner and South Shelby's Trace Windsor are all 1,000-yard backs. They gain the yardage not by running around defenders, but at them or over them.

For Palmyra, they'll rely on a trio of Wheeler, Mason Franklin and Skyler Kline to help defend the conference title. It's the mix of power and speed that makes such offenses dangerous and wears down opponents.

That means the defenses have to bulk up to withstand the contact.

"We do squats about everyday," Palmyra linebacker Phillip Geisendorfer said. "Lots of cardio, too, so we can keep our conditioning through all four quarters."

The size of the running backs alone makes it difficult to stop the run. Trump is 6-foot-2 and 206 pounds. Garner is 5-10 and 175 pounds and Windsor is 5-11 and 175 pounds.

It takes more than one or even two defenders to bring them down.

At Clark County, the more defenders involved, the better.

"That's our main goal on every play," Indians linebacker Thayden Cline said. "Eleven hats to the ball. It's a big emphasis."

After a week of practicing against the Clark County defense and taking hits from opponents on Friday nights, it makes sense Trump is hurting the next morning.

"It's hard not to say Saturday morning you're a little sore waking up," Trump said. "If a running back is getting 20-some touches a night, they're going to be sore. It's a fact of football."


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