On the Road – North Carolina State “Wolf Pack” vs. North Carolina “Tar Heels”
Final score NC State 29 North Carolina 25.
Great game! Both teams played their hearts out. This game went down to the final 15 seconds; it was extremely entertaining. The two schools are within 20 minutes of each other so it is always considered a huge rivalry game .
NC State and North Carolina both came to play, again it’s a huge rivalry so I was expecting nothing less than a battle. Both teams played a disciplined and fundamentally sound game. While observing the game closely I noticed that these teams prepared well for each other, which is the reason why the game was so competitive. NC State played really well on defense, even though they allowed 25 points. NC State’s defense did a great job with mixing their defensive looks, red zone defense (holding UNC to 4 field goals) and recording sacks (7 total), one of which was a safety to seal the game. State also won the special teams battle; returning a punt for a touchdown in the 3rd quarter which ended up being the deciding factor in the game. Youth football teams tend to concentrate more on offense and defense while at practice, usually overlooking special teams. This is a huge mistake. Youth football coaches do not realize the importance of special teams and the difference it can make in a game in all levels of football. NC State’s offense played a smart game, allowing just 1 turnover.
UNC’s defense played great as well. Tackling is where defense starts and the tar heels certainly displayed solid form. Particularly the cornerbacks for the Tar Heels tackled exceptionally well; making solid tackles in space on split end screens and bubbles. They tackled well in the red zone and allowed few yards after the catch, impressive! Remarkable in that one of these corners was a freshman that was playing high school ball last year. He was thrown into the starting lineup due to injuries and played well. North Carolina has had injury problems all year having lost skilled TE Zach Pianalto and RB Johnny White. There were many underclassmen asked to step in and play and they answered the call. It was evident that youth and high school football played a huge part in these freshmen and sophomores successes all year long. They are prime examples of how the basics you learn in youth football will help you throughout your entire football career. Youth football creates the foundation you need to play football at a higher level.
On an impressive note the North Carolina Tar Heels this year had at least 18 different starts on both sides of the ball. The Tar Heels were competitive in almost every game; they are bowl eligible and have a winning record. This is a credit to the Head Coach Butch Davis and his staff. They kept the kids focused during adversity and prepared their young players to be competitive in a really tough ACC football conference. The starting seniors were great leaders, specifically QB T.J Yates and LB Bruce Carter, who have played very well this season. Many teams would have crumpled having to start this many different young players but not Carolina. It says a lot about their recruiting efforts. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a beautiful area. The people were also very friendly and classy. It was an extremely enjoyable trip.
Stay tuned for the next Youth Football Online On the Road report!