John Glenn looking to recreate last year’s playoff magic


Can Joseph Clifford and Ben Larson use their height and speed advantage to lead John Glenn against the Braves?

By Nick McWilliams, Sports Director

John Glenn has exceeded expectations to this point.

Following a run deep into the playoffs last year, thanks to a veteran offensive line and the decision making of senior quarterback Justin Heacock, the Little Muskies had question marks throughout their offense starting out in 2018.

Clearly, those question marks have been washed away with the autumn rains.

Powered by a stout defense and an offensive line that has shown growth all season long, John Glenn rebounded from a 1-3 start to run the table and pull off some late-season heroics against Tri-Valley. Quarterbacks Evan Williams and Parker Zachrich have shown flashes of brilliance, along with shifty running from running back Brady Emerson and chunk-play ability from Joseph Clifford, has propelled coach Matt Edwards and company back into the postseason.

While plenty of starters returned in the secondary, linebackers and defensive line, the Muskies lost their stud quarterback and most of the offensive line. Against a tough and physical Indian Valley team, the youth will be put to the test on a much grander stage.

Edwards is confident, but knows which side of the ball will have a good expectation of what’s to come.

“If you look at our breakdown, defensively, seven or eight of our guys we are starting for us played major minutes last year in that playoff run,” he said. “It’s the offensive side of the ball that’s pretty inexperienced, and it’s been the same message that it’s been all year. We gotta keep getting better every week offensively.”

John Glenn will be leaning heavily on its defense, much like it did against Tri-Valley. But the task at hand is an intriguing one compared the Scotties.

For starters, the Braves boast a trio of big-time playmakers on offense in quarterback Cade Williams and the Hostetler twins, Caden and Caleb. Caden handles the running back duties, while Caleb is the leading receiver for Indian Valley.

Based nearly entirely around the run as they have been for years, the Braves offense depends on sound blocking and the shiftiness of Caden Hostetler to rack up big yardage. Against Garaway, the 5-foot-8, 150-pound senior put up an eye-opening 366 yards (a school record) on 23 carries with four touchdowns.

Edwards and company are well aware of what needs to happen on defense for John Glenn to succeed — attrition.

“He’s obviously extremely talented,” he said. “I don’t know that we’re going to try and stop him … we’re just going to try and contain him and make some other guys have to beat us. Our defense is an extremely confident group right now.”

While both Zachrich and Ben Larson have been solid contributors in run defense all season long for the Muskies out of the safety positions, their biggest test will be in dealing with a unique Indian Valley offense, that can lean on either Hostetler or the quarterback to chew up yards, often burning teams off the edge who over pursue and get caught up in the trenches.

Passing is not the most proficient part of Indian Valley’s team as a whole, while the pass defense is mostly unproven with so many run-oriented teams on the Braves schedule. Against the Muskies, that will all change.

Senior center Caden Harris, who started last season along the offensive line, has been in this situation before. He’s seen the bright lights of playoff football and knows what it takes to reach the heights the Muskies did last season.

Indian Valley has surrendered some decent yardage to opponents this season on a few different occasions, and Harris feels his team has the players in the proper positions to put similar totals, if not better.

“We’re been blessed with athletes all year,” he said Thursday. “With Joseph and Ben and all those guys on the outside. We’re just going to have to use our skills and what we have to beat them, because they are a physical team.”

Those “skills” are presumably team speed and length on the outside, which could be a wild card.

Is it time for a little more Muskie-postseason magic?

Stay tuned to find out.