PIAA Class 4A State Championship Preview: Dallas v Thomas Jefferson @TJHSJaguars @DallasMountsFB
Written by: Billy Splain on Thursday, December 5th, 2019
The Skinny (strengths, weaknesses, the stars):
QB Michaelas scored 659 points, while allowing 181. Their quarterback has thrown for 2,000 yards and their main running back has rushed for well over 2,000 yards. They are more of a run first team as two thirds of the Mountaineers total yardage is via the ground. They have scored 64 touchdowns running the ball. RB Lenny Kelley has rushed for 2,698 yards, scoring 41 times. RB Danny Meuser has contributed another 868 yards on the ground and scored 10 TDs. QB Michael Starbuck has thrown for 25 touchdowns in addition to 2,001 yards passing. Wide receivers Matt Maransky and Luke DelGaudio have snared 17 touchdown passes between them. DelGaudio has 41 catches for 681 yards. Kicker Ryan Fisher has made 78 of his 83 extra point attempts, plus he has made 3 field goals.
The Mountaineer defense is led by Meuser and Kelley in tackles, and lineman Taylor Bolesta who has 21 tackles for losses including 10 sacks. As a team, Dallas has 21 interceptions and 80 tackles for losses.
This might be one of the most complete teams in the field this weekend at Hershey. The Jaquars lead the state in 4A in both scoring (693) and scoring defense (55). They’ve rushed for over 3,400 yards and thrown for 2,600. Leading the way is senior quarterback Shane Stump. He’s accounted for 41 tds, throwing for 32 with his 116 of 201 attempts going for 2,373 yards. Add in 492 on the ground. Senior wide receiver Dan Deabner has hauled in 47 of those throws for over 1,000 yards and 19 scores. He’s not tall at 6′, but he can motor and find the open spot on the field. Ian Hansen stands just 5-7 but he’s a speedy slot guy that is also dependable for Stump with 32 catches for nearly 700 yards and 8 TDs.
If the pass isn’t working for TJ, the run game is, to the tune of 3,400+ yards, averaging 231 per contest. Carrying the load for TJ is Dylan Mallozzi with 1,700 yards on 195 carries for 25 touchdowns. Mallozzi is a workhorse, growing stronger as the game wears on.
Defensively for the Jags it’s tackle by committee. Seven players have over 40 tackles, but it’s Logan Danielson who leads the way with 62 and six sacks. Danielson is strong, fast and knows where the ball is going seemingly before the snap. Defensive back Daniel Deabner has 7 interceptions. Nate Werderber is a run stopping machine, plugging holes from his linebacker slot.
Dallas Offense Plan:
They must be able to run, so they can be unpredictable in mixing in passes. Establishing the run game is a must, but to score on such a great defense, they have to be able to keep the Jaguars guessing. Ball control is another vital area for the Mountaineer offense. In this case, the best defense is a good offense that keeps the rock out of TJ’s hands. To do this, Dallas has to be able to control the line more often than not.
Dallas Defensive Plan:
Bend, but don’t break should be the motto. TJ is going to move the ball, but if Dallas can make them drive 70-80 yards consistently, the odds they can make stops increases. Making the TJ offense be predictable and putting them in uncomfortable situations will enhance the effectiveness of the Mountaineer defense.
Thomas Jefferson Offensive Plan:
Keep the ball away from a strong Dallas offense that is also capable of scoring. TJ just needs to play Jaguar football. No mysteries here.
Thomas Jefferson Defensive Plan:
They’ll have to play solid up front against what might be a mirror offense for them. Dallas is putting up similar statistics when they have the ball. They’ll need to control the line and force Michael Starbuck to throw.
How Did They Get Here:
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