JB adding defensive punch

September 01, 1998|By MIKE SIRBAUGH / Staff Correspondent

Head coach Ed Snyder has an unorthodox but sound strategy to correct James Buchanan High School's failure to consistently cross the goal line in 1997.

"We're going to play better defense," Snyder said matter-of-factly. "Last year, we gave up too many points, and when that happened early in the game, it would be demoralizing to the team to be behind by so much so early."

After 20 years of coaching, the last nine as head coach, Snyder knows that his Rockets are already aware of what to expect from a self-confessed "old-style coach."

James Buchanan only has 27 players suited up, a small turnout for a AAA school, but that is all right with Snyder.


He knows that each boy is playing because he wants to, even though many of them will be called upon to play both offense and defense.

A team without any big name stars, the Rockets will be led by its senior captains: offensive lineman Jim Kent and fullback Corey Lake. Snyder's opinion is very high on both.

"They are two of the best captains I've ever had," Snyder said. "You can quote me on that. They are extremely hard working, extremely well-focused and they have tremendous character. They've already demonstrated leadership qualities. I'd trust them with my life."

Kent and Lake are also the inside linebackers who have the responsibility to anchor the 3-4 defense that Snyder prefers, because it allows him to match the players to the positions well.

"I like to have a nose tackle," said Snyder. "I like to have somebody beating on the center every play."

Offensively, the Rockets will set up in a wing-T, again to suit their personnel.

"You can take average talent and run this offense. It's a grind-it-out offense. It fits us to a T."

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