Setting the stage: Cedar Cliff entered the final quarter of play Friday night with a slim 20-17 lead over Warwick. Running back Jaheim Morris ensured Cedar Cliff limited Warwick’s ability to stage a comeback, gaining 81 of his 135 yards in the final 12 minutes of play to chew the clock and help the Colts advance to the District 3 Class 5A semifinals. Coach Colin Gillen’s team will travel to Manheim Central on Friday night.
Cedar Cliff coach Colin Gillen on what the Colts saw in film study of Warwick that he thought Cedar Cliff could capitalize on:
“At this stage of the year, every team is good. If you watched Warwick on film, we were worried about how we would match up on the line of scrimmage against some of their big guys and their size and physicality. Our kids ground in the run game and we just knew we would have opportunities on the outside with our skills kids. We loved the matchups out there. But in order for that to work, we had to establish the run first. We were able to do that and get 1-on-1 matchups after they started adding guys to the box to stop our run.”
On the performance of Jaheim Morris (31 carries, 139 yards, TD) and Bobby Whalen (9-55 rushing, 2 TDs, 8-96 receiving):
“[Morris is] really starting to get a comfort level with the offensive line and patience and finding running lanes. I’m very pleased with his development. Bobby is our Swiss Army Knife. He does everything, using our wildcats, leader of our secondary and he just causes matchup problems. If you move him around enough, it is very difficult to game plan against him. There were times when he was getting bracket coverage, and that freed up Jahiem Reynolds for some catches. He had a big night as well.”
On the key moments in the game:
“I thought the kids responded well at halftime. We had taken a punt back for a touchdown before the half that got called back on an illegal block. If we get that punt in and get the ball back after the half, we really would have been in command of the game. The kids never lost their heads. We went back to work after the half and went right down and scored to assert ourselves. That was a turning point. We block a field goal with 6:30 left in the game, then put them to sleep just grinding the ball, which has been our MO — just line up and get 4 or 5 [yards] every time.”
On the play of the Colts offensive line:
“They are definitely undersized. We’re not big. But they have gelled together. They are well conditioned. As the game wears on and other guys get tired, we become very difficult to defend. We stick with the run game and wear teams down.”
Do the Colts have an advantage in the way this team has been conditioned?
“It has panned out that way. Who knows down the stretch if that will continue to be the case. We knew going into the year that we were going to have to be in great shape because we were undersized. On both sides, we are. We have good team speed, that really helps us as well. Our balance is what makes us tough to defend. If you take one thing away, we’ve been blessed to have an answer.”