Triad will battle Ridgemont with hopes of first win


Jordan Simonelli of Triad rolls out of the pocket while looking for an open receiver against Benjamin Logan. Triad is looking for its first win of the season tonight against Ridgemont.

(Journal-Tribune photo by Sam Dillon) 

The Cardinals of Triad feel that last Friday’s 50-20 loss to Benjamin Logan was not a prime example of what they and head coach Zach Winslow have to offer the community.

“The kids felt embarrassed with the way they performed on Friday night,” Winslow said. “Special teams in particular, along with some of the turnovers on offense and some of the big plays the defense surrendered.

“The kids expect more from themselves.”

Winslow said tonight’s matchup against Ridgemont is the time when the Cardinals can show just what they can do.

The first thing Winslow wanted to address this week in practice was the blunders that hampered the Cards on special teams.

“I don’t feel like we neglected special teams in our game-planning last week, but there was definitely some extra time spent this week,” he said. “I think the kids found a new sense of importance in special teams and how it can change the momentum of the entire game.”

With some extra time put in on the practice field, the Cardinals can now focus on the Golden Gophers in a contest that Winslow said will look very different from last year’s 63-2 Triad triumph.

Both teams will showcase new head coaches and Winslow said both like to run a similar style of offense that focuses on keeping the ball on the ground.

“The team (Ridgemont) has some solid athletes, but everything is new to them,” he said. “They are more run-oriented like we are.”

With the rush being in full swing for tonight’s contest, Winslow said it will be a good test for his 4-3 defense.

“Last week, at times we stopped Ben Logan’s run and other times they gashed us for some good yards,” he said. “It is going to be a test for our defense, for those guys up front and the interior seven to try and shut down the run. We’ve got to be disciplined and play gap sound.”

With the run being the focus of the Gophers’ offense, Winslow  said they will also be very good at stopping the ground game.

That will, in turn,  offer his offense a good test as well.

“They practice against the run every day, so they should be better at stopping it,” he said. “Establishing the run game is going to be something of a challenge that I am also looking forward to.”

The Cardinals showed some balance last week, running the ball on several sustained drives in the first half.

However, it was the big throws of quarterback Jordan Simonelli that kept them in the early hunt.

Winslow said all of that is possible because of the run game and hopes to continue that trend tonight.

“I was glad that we could throw the ball and be fairly balanced, but the base of our offense is being able to run,” he said. “We’ve got to be able to run the ball to set up everything else.

“I’m hoping we can establish the run this week.”

The Cardinals will look to those same key athletes to help them find their first win of the season.

What it will ultimately come down to, according to Winslow, is who can run their offense with more effectiveness.

“When we weren’t hurting ourselves by giving them (Benjamin Logan) good field position or turning the ball over ,we did what we wanted,” he said. “We were moving the ball efficiently. We made them work for everything. I think those things gave our kids confidence.”

That confidence will hopefully pay off tonight at Ridgemont’s field in Ridgeway.

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