MARATHON — Having a bye week was not expected by Marathon High School football coach Mac Childress during the truncated eight-week season. Whether he liked it or not, that’s what he received after the Oct. 30 game was canceled due to contact tracing on the Middle Keys campus, so instead the Dolphins used the unexpected downtime productively to prepare to go on the road for the first time this season.
Given that the Dolphins have now had two weeks to get healthy, Childress said that practice was not only energized and competitive, but they have also been focused on making sure the run fence is set up on defense as well as making sure blocking schemes are understood on offense. The importance of protecting the ball was also an area of focus.
Archbishop Carroll, which the Dolphins were to play Friday night, is somewhat of a newer program that runs a version of the wing-T offensively, pulling both guards, which is something Marathon was determined to mess up in the backfield before it can get going, according to Childress. He explained they are also poised to also stop the double-reverse play, which is a staple play out of that particular offensive set. Reading the offensive guards is really the biggest thing for any team that likes to pull a lot, he added.
Defensively, Childress talked about how Archbishop likes to run a lot of five-man defensive fronts that try to shoot the gaps with the quickness they have along their defensive line.
“They’re solid up front, so we’re definitely going to have to account for them,” Childress said.
One player Childress and the Dolphins are particularly keyed on is the Bulldogs’ outside linebacker, who the coach called “their best defensive player,” and said offensively they plan on doing a lot of pre-snap motion to put him into a chase position on their running plays.
The good news for Marathon is everyone is healthy, according to Childress, as senior Jimmy Gimerenes has returned from a hamstring injury.
Childress is also looking to implement offensive sets that get Gimerenes, Miquel Avena, Enoc Campos, Michael Merryman, Anthony Mcguire and Andrew Lawyer all onto the field at the same time and do some motion and misdirection to keep opposing defenses guessing.
It has been a while since the Dolphins have won, but Childress feels good about where the team is at and how they used the extra week to prepare. He feels the team is poised for a chance at victory.
“We’re really hungry for a win, it’s been a while since we’ve won, if we can do that, it would be great and it would give these kids just a tremendous amount of confidence,” Childress said.