Old school vs. new school: Alleman, Rochester offenses are quite contrasting


Share
Posted Online: Nov. 21, 2012, 8:00 pm
Comment on this story | Print this story | Email this story
By Daniel Makarewicz, danmak@qconline.com
Out of all the ways to describe how the Alleman football team operates on offense, senior running back Sean Wetherell chooses to say it is designed to grind it out.

Another statement he added seems appropriate, too.

"It's pretty old school," Wetherell said.

Built to control the flow of the game, the Pioneers' option-style offense is impressive for its effectiveness and rarity. What used to be a popular system gave way to the fast-paced spread offense that Rochester, which meets Alleman in Friday's Class 4A state championship game, has used during its run to state prominence.

In other words, the Rockets are new school.

"Our tempo is going to be fast," Rochester coach Derek Leonard said. "We want to score as many points as possible."

Since Leonard's tenure started seven years ago, the goal is to create a track meet.

"We want to apply pressure, and we want (the opponent) to feel uncomfortable," Leonard said. "We want to go fast, score a lot."

A frantic pace has Rochester seeking its third consecutive state title. Alleman is attempting to stop the Rockets' bid at history, hoping it can win a first-ever state championship by controlling the tempo and the clock.

Who can set the tone will be a major factor in this game considering the contrasting speeds and styles both teams want to play.

Alleman hopes to secure 8-minute minute drives like it did to seal a 23-7 win at Evergreen Park in the state semifinals.

On the other end, the Rockets hope for the 2-minute drill on every offensive series.

"Something's got to give," Leonard said. "It's a matter of who gives the most and who gets their way."

So far this season, Rochester has had little trouble getting its way. The Rockets average 45.4 points and 448.4 yards per game with an offense using five wide receivers on the pass and reads on the run. Only once have they failed to score at least 35 points in a game.

Leonard adapted the offense his father, Ken, used to win three state titles at Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin. The offensive philosophies between the two coaches are similar, but Derek added some wrinkles he learned as a player at Illinois College and as a Fairbury Prairie Central coordinator.

As one Rochester observer puts it, the system is "sophisticated."

"Kids love it," Leonard said. "It's like in basketball — going up and down the court."

In reaching the state title game for the third time in seven years, the Pioneers have done so with a system that preaches patience, execution and commitment. During Dave DeJaegher's tenure as the Alleman head coach, the three-back, option-style scheme has kept the program atop the Western Big 6 Conference and state landscape.

A solid gain in the Alleman offense is four yards, a total the team wants to get consistently.

"We are who we are," DeJaegher said. "We've got to go with it."

Still, the Pioneers are no offensive pushover. Alleman scores 33.8 points and tallies 327.8 yards per game. During the season, it eclipsed the 35-point mark eight times.

The only thing missing are the big plays that Rochester prides itself on getting.

"We go up the middle, run hard," Alleman senior quarterback John Tracey said. "We've got to do what we've got to do. It might not be too entertaining."

Nor is it easy to duplicate.

"We can't run that offense in practice," Leonard said. "But they can't do what we do."

Alleman would not want to use the spread anyway.

"Absolutely not," Wetherell said. "With the success we've had, why change anything?"

That's the definition of old school.












ARC








 



Local events heading








  Today is Saturday, April 19, the 109th day of 2014. There are 256 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: Miss McCorkindale has opened millinery rooms over Gimbel's dry goods store, where she offers a choice lot of millinery goods, which she will manufacture to order.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The little South Park Presbyterian chapel celebrated it first Easter decorated with flowers for an afternoon worship service attended by a large congregation.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The Wennerberg Chorus of Augustana College has returned from a 2,000-mile tour in the Eastern states and Illinois.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Col. Charles Lindbergh has stated that he is convinced that Germany's air force is equal to the combined sky fleets of her potential European foes.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Small gas motors may be permitted on boats in the lake to be built in Loud Thunder Forest Preserve. The prospect was discussed yesterday at a meeting of the Rock Island County Forest Preserve Commission.
1989 -- 25 years ago: The annual Dispatch/Rock Island Argus Spelling Bee continues to be a family tradition. Ed Lee, an eighth-grader at John Deere Junior High School, Moline, is the 1989 spelling bee champion from among 49 top spellers in Rock Island, Henry and Mercer counties. He advances to the competition in Washington, D.C. Runnerup was Ed's sister, Susan.






(More History)