CN Scouting Report: Alex Odiari

The second season has started in Texas! Eleven weeks and ten games for all teams in Texas have brought us to the playoffs in high school football. There are 480 teams in 10 different classifications striving to become state champions. One of those teams is the Hebron Hawks, who feature heralded senior defender Alex Odiari.

After breezing through the regular season with a 10-0 record, the team statistics were impressive. They scored 490 points in those ten games, and their defense was almost as impressive as they only allowed 153 points. This defense was led by their nose guard, Iowa State recruit Alex Odiari. The 6' 1", 225 pound senior has been a stalwart in the middle of the Hawks' defensive line. He has been lightning quick off the ball all year long, and several other sources have made claims that he may be the best defensive prospect in the area. He projects to move to the linebacker position next year.

However, as someone said earlier, state championships are not handed out in November.

The Hawks met the Dallas Woodrow Wilson Wildcats in the first round of the Class 4A, Division II playoffs this past Thursday night in Garland, Texas. The information on the paper showed that this would be a mismatch. But the game is not played on paper.

The Wildcats recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff and scored on their first drive of the evening of 20 yards. After Hebron scored a touchdown to even the score, Wilson finished the first half scoring the next 16 points and took a 23-7 lead to the locker room.

As the game went along, it became evident why this was happening. Word was spreading that Odiari has had some shoulder problems for the past several weeks, and the Wildcats knew it. They spent a majority of the first half putting a double team on Odiari or running trap plays right through the nose guard area.

On a critical fourth down play in the second quarter, the Wildcat quarterback scrambled for a very important first down. But more importantly, behind the play, Odiari was lying still on the turf. After the trainers tended to him for several minutes, they helped him to his feet and he walked off the field. However, he was not moving his left arm as he walked. Upon his arrival to the bench, the trainers took off his jersey and pads. It looked like he was done for the night.

Contrary to popular belief, his night was far from over. The trainers pulled out a shoulder harness and slipped it over his injured shoulder and began lacing the harness up to help support his shoulder. Then came the unpleasant task of putting the shoulder pads and jersey back on again over the harness. The facial expressions were enough of a sign that showed just how much pain this young man was feeling.

After a long minute of getting the pads over his head, he strapped on the helmet and went back into the game. He went back down into the three-point stance and began playing nose tackle again. He wasn't able to play every snap the rest of the night, but his presence helped lead his teammates through the second half.

Odiari actually made some impressive plays on the pass rush, using his extreme quickness to shoot the gap before the double team could clamp down on him. But it just wasn't meant to be. He was playing with one arm, and the other arm wasn't moving very much on or off the field.

As a team, the Hawks made too many mistakes and allowed the Wildcats to stretch the lead in the second half. There were also some strange plays that helped the Wildcats' cause. Twice in the second half, the Wildcat quarterback handed the ball off to a running back. Twice, the ball was fumbled, and twice, the ball was recovered by the quarterback on the run. He was able to score touchdowns on both plays. The Wildcats went on to post an impressive 44-15 victory over the top-ranked 4-A team in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

One lasting impression was the ability of Odiari to come back with a badly injured shoulder, which one person compared to "hamburger," and make a valiant effort in a losing cause. He never gave up, and he continued to play under constant distress.

The team result was not favorable for the Hebron Hawks, but the field character of a man was demonstrated for all to see. It is still unknown how serious the injury is and what type of corrective procedures are required. But the heart of a warrior was shown in a losing effort, and this will carry over to the next level.

Odiari has already visited Texas Tech. His next scheduled visit will be in Ames on December 3. He also has received interest from SMU, TCU, Wisconsin, Kansas and Kansas State. Hopefully he will be able to recover from this injury soon and prepare himself for the collegiate game…in Ames, Iowa.

Woodrow Wilson junior makes impact

While watching the game this past Thursday night, one player came to light during the action. It wasn't the player that was expected, however. According to Tim MacMahon of the Dallas Morning News, Dallas Woodrow Wilson is the only high school to have two Heisman Trophy winners as alumni (Davey O'Brien and Tim Brown).

But the program hasn't enjoyed much success over the years. In fact, the last playoff game that Wilson has won against a team outside the Dallas school district before this past Thursday night was in 1969. You remember, don't you, Woodstock, Vietnam, Apollo?

But the player mentioned above was a running back/safety named Sergio Kindle. After a sophomore season of 190 rushes for 1497 yards and 19 touchdowns, he came back to have an even better junior season. On 192 rushes, he accumulated 1571 yards and 22 touchdowns.

The 6' 3", 220-pound running back led the Wildcats to a 44-15 upset of the top-ranked DFW area 4-A team. They were able to pull off the upset by capitalizing on several turnovers and using ball control to keep the ball out of the high-powered Hebron offense. Kindle rushed 28 times for 195 yards and scored three touchdowns, including a 72-yard sweep to the right that showed some very impressive speed for a man with his size.

Along with the speed, he was also a brutal runner and blocker. One play that stuck out was in the first quarter when the quarterback rolled to the left to attempt a pass. Kindle stayed back to help block on the play. When there was no available receiver downfield, Kindle turned around and looked for someone to hit. He found a cornerback and literally destroyed him. The crushing block allowed the quarterback to pick up another nine yards on the play.

Sitting next to the defensive coaches for Hebron, there were more "oohs" and "aahs" from their room than there was from the writers' room. They were impressed with the hit!

Kindle also played a linebacker/safety position on the defensive side of the ball. He was able to break up several passes and almost made an interception. He wasn't afraid to stick his hat into the action to make a play.

Since Kindle is only a junior this year, there will be considerable interest in him next year. There have been some quotes around the area that he may be a Texas top ten recruit next year. From what we seen this past week, it wouldn't be a surprise if he was.

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