Fossil Ridge @ Keller

Fossil+Ridge+%40+Keller

Matt Harris

Staff Writer

Last week’s regularly scheduled Thursday night game against Denton Ryan was rained out and rescheduled for Saturday at 1 PM. We were hoping that the rain would serve as an equalizer to help slow down the Raider offense to Keller’s pace. Unfortunately the bad game conditions only affected the student section rather than the game itself and Ryan won 28-10. Tonight’s game has also been moved to Saturday at 1 PM and hopefully the bad playing conditions will help the Indians this time around. To make the playoffs, Keller has to win against Fossil tomorrow, making it an elimination game for the Indians. Like every week is at this point, this will be the biggest game of the year thus far for the Indians and probably the most important game that junior QB Dillion Smith might ever play in.

 

The Offense:

Keller finished the first quarter last week with more points (3) than total yards (-3) in what was an abysmal performance by the offense. Ryan would go on to score 28 unanswered after Keller struck first and Keller got a garbage time touchdown with eight seconds left in the game. That type of performance will not work against Fossil Ridge. Keller cannot afford any costly fumbles that will set up the Fossil Ridge Panthers with even decent field position. The Indian offense struggles to get going and when they are rolling and picking first downs, fumbles are total momentum killers. Two fumbles on the Indian side of the field cost Keller big time in the second and third quarters. If Keller expects to win, the offense will have to make very minimal mistakes. For the Ridge offensive attack, they are scoring just 26 points per game. QB Baccarini has been pretty solid this year, completing 67% of his passes for over 1,200 yards. But he is prone to make mistakes. He has thrown 5 INTS this season despite only playing in 5 games due to a concussion earlier in the year. RB Smith has also had a successful year for the Panthers and is averaging five yards per rush.

 

The Defense:

Keller will need to capitalize on Baccarini’s mistakes at quarterback. If the Indians can haul in an interception or two especially if they come on the Panther side of the field and the offense can turn that into points, Keller will be in really good shape. But the Indian defense will also have to contain Ridge RB Smith. Keller has struggled to slow down the running attack all season and will need to change that trend tomorrow. The Ridge offense and defense have both been mediocre all season. Unfortunately a “mediocre” defense might be all it takes for Ridge to pull out a win against a struggling Keller offense. Coaches should look at get Cam Johnson some long balls down the sideline and throw in some slants and screens to Senior WR Dillion Smith to help set up Tutt in the running game. The game will likely come down to the running game. Each defense will need to curve season long trends and get some big stops in the running game.

 

The Prediction:

Keller will be playing with everything they have in them knowing that their season is on the line. With Ridge’s playoff bid still not secured with two weeks left in the season they too will be playing with serious playoff implications looming large. Keller QB Dillion Smith will need to play the game of his life. If he can get the ball to the receiver weapons on the edge to help set up the running game then Keller has a good shot at winning the game. But in bad conditions once again that will not be an easy task. Play calling needs to get broader for the Indian coaches as well. Running Tyler Tutt up the middle has not worked out the past couple of weeks. Some tricky play calling and throwing the ball down field should help the offense get going. Neither team has been impressive in recent weeks and it should make for an interesting game with huge playoff implications. This game could really go to either team. With so much on the line it could come down to who wants it more. With some special teams help, we have Keller winning in a reverse score from last year, 28-24.