Making the Grade: Steel-High vs. Williams Valley

25 November 2017


By Andy Shay:

4th Down Magazine

Steel-High was on point right from the start Friday night in its PIAA Class 1A quarterfinal with previously undefeated Williams Valley.

The Vikings at full strength would have been a more worthy opponent for the Rollers. Having a nearly 3,000-yard rusher who had 42 touchdowns in 13 games, Dylan Rabuck, trying to give it a go on a very bad ankle was clearly a huge setback.

Then losing his back-up, Nick Savage, to an injury midway through the first quarter put the Vikings on tilt. And the Rollers were hitting on all cylinders rolling to a 27-0 lead before the midway point of the second quarter on their way to a 35-point victory.

It was a complete effort by the Rollers. With good reason, Williams Valley was a shell of its regular 2017 self.

Time to hand out some grades!

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Quarterback: No other way to put it, this was a tough night for Levi Engle. He was under serious pressure when he dropped back to pass and ended up being sacked four times. And he was handing off to guys he normally doesn’t give the ball to. And this was the state quarterfinals. Plus he was 1-for-12 with an interception.

Grade: D

Running Back: Dylan Wolfgang and Brady Miller are two guys you don’t expect to get meaningful carries in a game this big. But it was that kind of night for the Vikings. The duo performed well, combing for 185 yards on 28 carries. But they are not game breakers.

Grade: B

Wide Receivers: The Vikings completed only one pass and their quarterback did not give them many opportunities to make plays with balls that were not catchable. They do block well downfield, I did notice that.

Grade: Incomplete

Offensive Line: This group has been very good all year on stretch plays and sweeps. But it was clear they had a little less jump in their step than normal with their difference makers at RB out. Pass blocking was not up to par as the Rollers put serious pressure on the QB all game.

Grade: C

Defensive Line: Outside of a few big plays, I thought the group up front did a respectable job. Still, an average of 6.2 yards per carry is not a number that makes an opponent uncomfortable and the pass rush got home only once.

Grade: C

Linebackers: Devon Rabuck did his job as a stand-up DE/linebacker combo. Plus brother Dylan Rabuck didn’t even play but his replacement Brady Miller did a good job. And Nick Savage went out in the middle of the first quarter. That’s a major blow, but the Vikings backers still showed up.

Grade: B

Secondary: The Rollers started the game completing 6 of 7 passes for nearly 100 yards and a couple scores in the first quarter. It improved a little as the game went on, but the damage was done early. And a couple missed tackles after the catch didn’t help.

Grade: C-

Special Teams: Nothing special in the kick return game, and kickoffs were kept on the ground. Special teams aren’t something the Vikings need to win games. And in this game it was not a phase of the game that mattered.

Grade: C


Quarterback: What a great start for Malachi Young. His first quarter was spectacular and was key to the Rollers getting out to a 27-0 lead. Exclusively going deep after getting that big lead was a little puzzling. His intermediate throws early were so sharp, the deep ball wasn’t necessary. That’s not his fault. His final numbers, 9-for-19 for 113 yards aren’t great, really. But his start was the measuring stick in my eyes.

Grade: B+

Running Back: Dupri Andrews wasn’t a workhorse, but he still averaged 7.1 yards per carry and scored a pair of touchdowns. He also had a long screen pass he took for about 40 yards called back. He had a very solid outing for only 13 carries.

Grade: B+

Wide Receivers: Javion Grant was open on short to intermediate routes all night and worked hard to get open. He finished with a team-high four catches for 51 yards and a score. The grab by Jarvai Flowers on that deep ball early that went for 36 yards was a huge play.

Grade: B

Offensive Line: It was a mixed bag in the running game up front. Three or four times they opened up clear running lanes for Andrews, but it wasn’t consistent. But they were very good at keeping the pocket clean for the QB and the Vikings brought plenty of blitzes and they did a good job picking those up.

Grade: B+

Defensive Line: Tim Kater in his first game back after missing a couple games was a beast. He had three tackles for a loss and a sack. Donovan Ogden came alive in the second half and caused serious problems. Not easy against a good OL for the Vikings and this group held its own.

Grade A-

Linebackers: Malik Tate-DeFreitas had a monster game with four solo tackles, 2.5 TFL’s and a sack. And he delivered some pretty hard hits on the edge. Senior Steven Pryor finished with eight tackles and was swarming to the football. A few too many tackles 7-10 yards downfield, but other than that this group was on point.

Grade: B+

Secondary: In addition to being a very good RB, Andrews is solid safety. He hits like a freight train in run support and also had an interception. Jehnai Shepard-Anderson led all Rollers with nine tackles and was all over the field. Against this offense your secondary has to be at its very best to only surrender six points.

Grade: A

Special Teams: We’ve said it before, but Nicholas Neidlinger is a very good kicker for the Rollers. His extra points, even the one he missed wide right, get up in a hurry and travel a long distance. He’s also a good punter with plenty of hang time. And the kick coverage for the Rollers was above average.

Grade: B+