Creekview prepares for powerhouse Tucker
by Chris Byess
cbyess@cherokeetribune.com
November 16, 2012 12:52 AM | 2438 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Creekview at Riverwood 11 --  Creekview's Casey Martin (12) follows lead blocker Austin King (17) as the Grizzlies take on the Raiders at Riverwood High School.  SPECIAL/CECIL COPELAND.
Creekview at Riverwood 11 -- Creekview's Casey Martin (12) follows lead blocker Austin King (17) as the Grizzlies take on the Raiders at Riverwood High School. SPECIAL/CECIL COPELAND.
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Since playing its first varsity football game in 2006, Creekview has only had one losing season, achieved nine wins on three occasions and been to the state playoffs twice.

But despite that success, the Grizzlies have never hosted a playoff game — until now.

As retiring coach Al Morrell leads his players onto the field for possibly the final time, Creekview will try to give the only head coach it has ever known his first postseason victory by beating Tucker tonight.

The task will be a tall one, though.

Though Tucker (8-2) enters the playoffs as the No. 3 seed from Region 6AAAAA, it’s the fifth-ranked team in the state. Both of the Tigers’ losses came by a single touchdown to the two teams ahead of them in the region — M.L. King and Stephenson.

Tucker also has a far deeper pedigree, with a Class AAAA state championship and a 15-0 record to its credit in 2011.

Morrell is well aware that Creekview (9-1) will be lining up tonight against one of the state’s top teams — one that has 10 seasons of 10 wins or more since 2000.

“When I look at them, I see, by far, the best football team we have faced all season,” Morrell said.

While Morrell was quick to praise Tucker’s physical nature, as well as its coaching staff, he said that it was the Tigers’ speed that made them so dangerous.

“When you look at their defense, you see that their closing speed is different than anything we have seen all year,” Morrell said. “I would suspect that they are going to play a lot of man coverage so they can bring the pressure. If they guess wrong, they’ll depend on having enough speed to re-direct and chase us down.”

With 1-on-1 matchups most likely to be occurring in the secondary, Morrell feels the importance of Creekview quarterback Hayden Hall and his top playmakers — receiver Hunter Udall and running back Chandler Wold — cannot be understated.

Offensively, the Tigers will line up in a Wing-T formation, the same formation the Grizzlies have operated out of for the previous six years.

That’s a similarity Morrell hopes to use to his team’s benefit.

“If there is any advantage that we have, it is that our defense is use to seeing Wing-T key reads,” Morrell said. “Defending the Wing-T is not difficult for us.”

Despite the Grizzlies’ confidence against the Wing-T, Morrell believes that, if Tucker is able to continuously penetrate Creekview’s secondary, the game will quickly get out of hand.

“We are not going to win a foot race (tonight),” Morrell said. “Defensively, it’s key for us to contain their running backs and avoid giving up big plays. Our defense is going to have to have a great night for us to win this game.”

With this possibly being his last game as a football coach, Morrell insisted that, no matter the result, he would leave the field satisfied.

“There is nothing that could happen at this point to put a bad taste in my mouth,” said Morrell, a career 48-24 in his seven years at Creekview. “These kids have played their hearts out the entire year, and they’ve had a great season. They’re winners in my book.”
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