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Valley Sports Report
WAVERLY - Aside from a four-minute stretch, longtime Waverly coach Jason Miller was pleased with his team's defensive performance immediately following a 47-27 loss to a talented Maine-Endwell Friday night. However, watching films affords you a closer look, and Miller's opinion changed after studying the game films.

"After watching film, I'm not really pleased with a lot of things I saw," he said. "There were a lot of fundamental things, especially on defense ... we were a little out of position, weren't taking on blocks properly, we were late getting to certain parts of run support, etc.

"Our effort was pretty good, but there were a lot of things exposed on film that you want to learn from," noted Miller. "That's the good thing about playing a good team, they're able to make you look bad on film.

"When you look bad on film, those are things you immediately try to correct on Monday, and focus on. That's what makes you a better football team.

"The approach we're going to take is to not worry about the loss too much, it's behind us now," added Miller. "We're going to use the film as an asset, and build this week around it."

Offensively, the Wolverines rushed for more than 200 yards, and 8th-grade QB Joey Tomasso threw for 157 yards.

"I like the way our run game is developing," said Miller. "There are some fundamental issues we need to iron out, but it's developing.

"You could see more of an attitude running the ball. I liked the way David (Hallett) ran downhill, and I liked the way our H-backs blocked on to the second level," noted Miller. "And, Austin Kimble came in and gave us a great spark with a long touchdown run.

"For the most part, everything that was straight-ahead power stuff, our guys did a pretty good job with," continued Miller. "I liked our base blocking, that was definitely improved from last week, and I think it's something we can build on, and possibly make more of a commitment to.

"We didn't do a good job running to the edge. With M-E's athleticism, our tackles just weren't able to reach them that well," he added.

Despite throwing his first career interception, Tomasso continues to improve, said Miller.

"He made really good decisions.

"He gets rid of the ball fast," said Miller. "He threw the ball 28 times, and there were no sacks. We're doing a good job protecting him, and doing a good job picking up blitzes.

"Even the guys he's responsible for off the edge that we don't have enough blockers for, he's identifying them and when they are blitzing, he's able to throw right back at it, which is what we're teaching.

"He did a great job of picking that up, and throwing to the open area that's vacated by the blitz. It's pretty advanced stuff for an 8th-grader," said Miller. "I'm pretty pleased with the way he's come along."

As for the interception, "He actually tried to stop the release of the ball because someone ran the wrong route, and the ball just slipped out of his hand right to the linebacker," said Miller. "It really wasn't even suppose to be a throw."

Waverly opened the second half with a scoring drive to cut the lead to 20-13, then sophomore Mike Mancini scored three TDs in four minutes for the Spartans to salt the game away. The Spartans were aided by a pair of three-and-outs by the Wolverine offense.

"Our guys did a good job of catching the ball, aside from that four-minute stretch when we didn't catch anything," said Miller. "Subsequently, that was the time we were three-and-out, and three-and-out and (M-E) scored three touchdowns in those four minutes.

"We were really bad on offense, and we were really bad on defense for a short stretch of time," Miller added.

M-E's scoring binge started on a 7-yard TD pass to Mancini on fourth-and-goal. The fourth-down conversion was consistent with an underlying theme for the Waverly defense Friday night.

"Defensively, we put them in a lot of third-and-long, and fourth-down situations, and we didn't stop them," said Miller. "We didn't get off the field very well on defense."

Maine-Endwell rushed for 409 yards, with Mancini accounting for 163 yards on just six carries. Waverly, however, limited M-E QB Nick DeLucia and fullback Ryan Brozovic.

"It's not that we missed assignments, our assignments on the option game were perfect," said Miller.

"We did a great job stopping their mid-line and triple-option, with very few exceptions in the game. We held their fullback to 67 yards, and he had been their biggest threat in the run game. We did an outstanding job on him.

"We got trapped a little bit. Our defensive linemen need to do a better job of staying on the line-of-scrimmage," noted Miller. "We're not doing a good job of protecting our linebackers.

"I thought we did a great job of containing their option game, it was the counter-game and the jet sweep that killed us.

"We came up field, and we didn't take on the double-team at the point-of-attack very well. (M-E) was able to get push into the linebackers, and with the misdirection before the counter, that hurts you.

"We were heading downhill one way, we didn't do a good job on the front side where the counter was happening and their linemen were on us before we knew it.

"It's just a tough gig," added Miller. "If you're not sound up front against the counter game, you're in trouble."

Special teams didn't escape Miller's thoughts on missed opportunities.

"We had an opportunity right off the bat. We onside kicked to start the game, it fell into our hands, we couldn't secure the ball and it went out-of-bounds. We had a big-time opportunity to start the game, and we let it slip away.

"There were opportunities throughout the game to make plays, whether it was on offense or defense, or special teams, and we just didn't make those plays," said Miller.

"We blocked an extra point, that was potentially important early in the game," noted Miller.

"We only punted one time. Likewise, we didn't make them punt, so we didn't have any problems in the punt return," joked Miller.

GRADE: B. "I like our effort, I thought we played with a lot of enthusiasm," said Miller. "We didn't have any quit in us, even late in the game.

"I think we have a modest approach to things, noted Miller. "I know it's cliche, but this is a process. If we can just improve, from week to week, on things that were bad in the previous game, we're going to be a better football team each Friday night."


IN PHOTO: Waverly coach Jason Miller.

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