Perhaps the most telling statistic in Garber’s Class B quarterfinal matchup?
The Rejoice Christian Eagles won 10 of their 11 games in 2012.
They’ve completed 34 passes.
“They run a double wing formation, so they’ve got the three main backs, and they’ve got a fourth one they sub in,” said Garber head coach Mark Harmon. “They don’t have a lot of different formations, and they don’t run a lot of plays. This is one of the teams where they say, ‘This is what we do, and we’re really good at it, so you’re going to have to stop it.’”
“It” is run the ball, and not many teams have slowed the Eagles’ rush, let alone stopped it. Through 10 regular season games and a 46-0 drubbing of Weleetka in the opening round of the postseason, Rejoice Christian has rushed for 3,032 yards against just 492 coming on pass plays. Four Eagles with at least 350 yards rushing will be on the field Friday.
When Garber (9-2) visits the Eagles at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Owasso, the Wolverines’ job won’t be made any easier by a small defensive front, but Harmon’s group is used to being the smaller team.
“We’re not real big,” Harmon said, admitting while he wishes the Wolverines could simply overpower the Eagles, “that’s not us. We’ll have some schemes to stalemate things a bit and make them do things they’re not used to, like third-and-long situations.
“In the playoffs, you’ve got to have kids step up,” he continued. “You’ve got to have that guy that says, ‘Tonight, I’m going to be a player.’ Hopefully it’s all of them. That’d be a heck of a night.”
If not the entire Wolverine defense, Garber will at least need a sound stand from its linebacking crew, something one member of the group says his defense is up for the challenge.
“Everybody has to do their job,” said sophomore linebacker Trenton Harmon. “You have to make your reads and that’s how it works.
“That’s our main thing this week: just don’t allow them to push us back.”
Ditto on offense for the Wolverines. Garber’s typically balanced offensive approached might go to the air earlier than usual against Rejoice Christian’s four-man front, Mark Harmon said. That means more opportunities for dual-threat senior quarterback Jordan Avants, who has combined to rush and pass for 3,300 of the Wolverines’ 3,700 yards on offense.
“I’ve become a little bit more conservative these last few weeks,” he said. “We might need the whole playbook this week, and rightfully so. It’s the playoffs.”
The Eagles’ defense — among the state’s stingiest allowing just 6.5 points per game including eight shutouts — is among the stoutest units Garber will see this season, Mark Harmon said, “and I think they’re looking at us thinking that this is one of the more stout offenses they’ve seen.”
GARBER AT REJOICE CHRISTIAN
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Records: Garber 9-2; Rejoice Christian 10-1
Last Meeting: No recent meetings
Next: vs. Davenport-Laverne winner