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4AA West Final: Hough at Mallard Creek

We were there the first time when Mallard Creek dominated Hough on their home field. A quick synopsis - Mallard Creek won the battle on the lines of scrimmage, Hough was not able to run and became one dimensional, and Mallard Creek had several big plays on offense for a blowout victory. 

We have seen in this scenario before the team that lost make good adjustments, come back with a better effort, and the 2nd time around is a good game. It is rare that a good team gets blown out twice, however, the team that won before has the confidence advantage and feels like they can and should win a 2nd time around. 

A comprehensive breakdown of this game will follow, however we would love to hear everyone's opinions on how this one will play out. Congratulations to the coaches, players, and fans of both of these programs. Once you make it this far, you have had a hell of a season!

Hough Offense 

QB - Kennique Bonner-Steward has grown as the season has gone on. From watching him Week 1 against Harding to where he is now, it is night and day. He is a dual threat QB that has good arm talent and isn't afraid to extend plays with his legs to hit big pass plays down the field. 

HB - Jarrett Nagy is the heartbeat of this team, especially on offense. If he is able to run well, it makes Hough a very dangerous team to stop. He's not a blazing RB, he isn't going to run a ton of people over, but he is going to run hard, have great vision, and keep the chains moving. 

WR - Nolan Groulx is a star player who can run the entire route tree, make plays in space with the ball, and can high point the football in a jumpball situation. Austin Robinson has big play speed and ability, and Miller Gibbs can make any catch look easy. As a group they are tough to stop. 

OL - These guys are big, talented, and strong led by Jack Carter and Jonnie Varga. Brown has come in at center and brought everything together earlier in the season. This is a prideful group and they have a chance to redeem themselves after a tough performance last time vs the Mavericks.

Mallard Creek Offense 

QB - Jadyn Washington has come on the scene this season and done an excellent job - opening up the Mallard Creek offense a bit with his passing abilities downfield. He is a dual threat guy also, dangerous on keeping the ball on the zone read plays especially, and has the ability to scramble when needed as well. 

HB - Mallard Creek has 4 running backs that could probably start on most teams across the state. The main guy to watch is Nasjzae Bryant, who really runs the ball hard inside and outside, and has the ability to break away and go the distance as well. Do not sleep on the backups though, their main ability is to make big plays, break tackles, and go to the house in a blink of an eye. 

WR - Knowledge Gainey was hurt earlier this season, but Coach Palmieri told me back at Scotland that this was his best WR, and it has definitely played out that way. With Lovelle Williams getting hurt earlier in the season, Gainey has shown to be a big target and a big playmaker. Teddy Creecy also has ability to make plays on the outside opposite of him. 

OL - They aren't as huge as typical Mallard Creek Offensive Lines, but they still have good size and get off the ball pretty well. They run a good variety of schemes up front and still have the typical tenacity you have seen in the past. Pass protection is their key to success in my opinion, last game they did a good job in controlling the Hough front in the run game.

Hough Defense 

DL - Big DT Gio Paez had a sack in the first game, and will need to be a disruptive force once again to limit the MC inside run game. DE Damon Early can also provide a good pass rush from the DE position. But overall, the Hough DL will have to be able to keep the MC OL from getting 2nd level because that's where the big plays can happen in the run game. 

LB - These guys are a bit undersized but they like to hit - Nagy starts at LB as well, but the big name to watch is OLB Kevon Hilliard who can really run, has good size, and can make a difference if he is playing well. First and foremost they have to stop the run, if Hough does that well they have the secondary that can help in the passing game. 

DB - Sutton, Fields, and Fording are among some of the best DBs in the area. The other starting CB will have to be on point as MC will look to attack him especially in the passing game. You would have to think maybe Hough matches their best CB on Gainey and maybe roll a safety to him, especially in passing situations. Gainey had a big game last time, you have to make someone else beat you if you're Hough.

Mallard Creek Defense 

DT - Charles Johnson and Jordan Davis form a really strong interior defensive line tandem for Mallard Creek. Getting them blocked will be the big key to success for the Hough OL - last game Davis had a fumble return for a TD that gave MC momentum for the blowout victory. Angel Rivera also can be a disruptive force coming from the DE position, so Hough will have to have a plan to neutralize these guys in both the run game and pass game for sure. 

LB - An injury to the very talented LB Kalen Allen definitely hurts this group. However Cameren Lowery is a very talented player and this provides an opportunity for other kids to step up, and we know the Mavericks have a ton of talent. They will have to be smart in coverage as Hough will stress you with the intermediate route combinations a good bit and tackle well on the inside run game with Nagy. 

DB - This group bounced back well from a tough game against North, and they have another challenge here. When Bonner-Steward scrambles they have to stay disciplined in their assignments; last game Robinson got a big play TD in this situation. Adonis Henderson and friends have the talent to get the job done, but it won't be easy.

Special Teams 

Hough - Cam Lewis can nail field goals from 50 and in and usually puts his kickoffs in the end zone every time. He also is a pretty good punter with good hangtime on the ball. Hough is good in the kicking game because of him. They have some returners that can go the distance. 

Mallard Creek - Their kicker is good from I would estimate 35 and in, anything beyond that may be a little shaky but he is accurate with his kicks. The punter is impressive, very good distance and hangtime when he gets a hold of a good one. MC also is dangerous in the return game.



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