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Football Scout – Scouting: Smithson Valley controlled consistency

Monday, September 25, 2006
When you talk about great programs in high school football in the state of Texas you would have to mention teams like Southlake Carroll, Katy, Lufkin, Judson and Smithson Valley. This Thursday Madison gets to host their neighbors from the north at Comalander stadium in the Mavs Home opener. Under Coach Hill the Rangers have always done things one way and that is controlling the clock while being consistent in all areas of the game. The 2006 version out of Comel County is not much different than last year; they will bring an attacking style defense and a clock controlling offence to the contest. This week’s match up will be the city’s game of the week as it will pit the express news number 1 team vs. the number 2 team.

Rangers Offence: If you had to compare Smithson Valley to another team that Madison has seen this year it would have to be O’Connor. The Valley will bring an Offence that does not have much stand out star power but will execute plays and run the clock. Unlike Seguin, Wagner and Lee the Rangers will not have a lot of speed but will have some size up front. The Rushing attack is lead by Trent Rios, he does not sport blazing speed but has shown that he can break tackles and does not go down easily. Wrapping him up will be the key to stopping him. Rios will get a majority of the carries and averages 4.46 yards per carry. When Rios does not get the ball the Rangers like to run a toss reverse to WR Cody Ranken. The Rangers like to run the toss reverse when the Defense starts to over pursue Rios and it usually picks up some big yards and puts a lot of pressure on the corner backs to make a play. The Final cog of the SV offence and probably the most important is Coach Hill’s son Bryan Hill who will line up under center. Hill is not a running threat and does not have a big league arm but gets the job done with a Qb rating of just over 100 and completing 61% of his passes. The Rangers like throwing the high percentage pass to their wide outs but they do have a deep ball threat in Melvin Echard who brings a 16.63 yard per catch average to this week’s game. Echard is tall and Coach Hill will try and exploit any size advantage he can with his speedster. Don’t look for Smithson Valley to run a lot of trick plays and they also don’t try and hit the home run on every play, they would rather eat up clock and limit the touches by Madison’s athletes on offence. Traditionally SV does not make many mistakes but this years team has throw 2 INTs and has put the ball on the ground on several occasions. Taking advantage of any missteps will be key to winning for the Mavs.

Rangers Defense: Looking at the Rangers Defensive unit on paper or even during warm ups will make most people scratch their heads. Like the stellar units in the past the Rangers defense is not big at all. Size is not the advantage they bring to the table but speed and aggression are their mainstay. The 2006 version of the SV defense might be the most undersized unit they have had in recent memory. But that does not stop them from swarming to the ball and making sound open field tackles. The front 7 looks like they are all linebackers as they are all basically the same size. The defense philosophy is to disrupt the opponents play before it can materialize. The Line gets into the back field quick and the linebackers try and fill the gaps. They will blitz the linebackers as well but usually only on 3rd and long situations. The corners and safeties have nice size and decent speed. They are not stellar but can make plays if the quarter-back makes a mistake. The defense can be summed up as opportunistic. They want to make their opponent have to limit their playbook by forcing long 3rd down situations or by playing the field position game.

Rangers Special Teams: Completing the package for the Rangers is their special teams. SV always has used the field to their advantage and this year is no different. Their punt team is real good as kicking inside the 20 and coverage is second to none. Kicking off this year will be SV star place kicker Travis Constanzo and while he does not have the leg to get balls in the end zone, Coach Hill is not afraid to use the pooch kick and leave the short field to his defense. Smithson Valley has an above average kick and punt return team. They will not run many back for TDs but won’t make mistakes either. The Key to the SV special teams is their field goal unit. Constanzo has emerged as one of the areas best and least week hit FGs in the second half of 32 and 35 yards. He has made 5 FG this year and is a perfect 13 of 13 on PATs. Smithson Valley also has the ability to block kicks as they did last week against Roosevelt.

Rangers Coaching and Extras: Head Coach Larry Hill is one of the best not only in the area but in the state. He has built a tradition of winners out in Comel County. Hill will not gamble on either side of the ball and expects his players to make plays. He does not leave time on the clock for his opponent to use and is a master at frustrating the opposing coaching staff. But the one thing he does better than anyone else is making second half adjustments. Last week down by 13-12 at half the rangers came back to pitch the second half shut out and score 10 unanswered points. In the Mac game it was more of the same with MacArthur making big plays in the first half to hang with Smithson Valley only to have SV run away with the game and shut out Mac in the second half. While the woodlands game was low scoring again SV would pitch the second half shut out.


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