WAXHAW, N.C. --- After trailing 10-0 and 17-14 in the first half, South Mecklenburg rallied for a season-opening win over Marvin Ridge, 28-17, on Friday.
Jake Lawler, South Mecklenburg
Lawler is a very athletic defensive end. The 6-foot-2, 219-pounder not only used that athleticism to rush the passer (see video below) but to also navigate through traffic while pursuing ball carriers. The result: three sacks and eight tackles.
As a pass rusher, Lawler’s most successful move is dipping and ripping while running the arc around the edge. He keeps the offensive tackle off balance, though, with a “cross the face” move (i.e. he’ll fake outside, but on his third step cut back across the face of the blocker, who has opened up a massive hole by overcompensating for the edge rush, and go inside).
Lawler’s athleticism also allowed him to efficiently run stunts with his D-tackle (i.e. Lawler would loop behind the D-tackle before attacking the line, while the D-tackle rushes the edge) – another tool that kept the offensive tackle, D’mitri Emmanuel, on skates.
Regardless of the scenario, Lawler used strong, active hands to prevent blockers from latching on and thus neutralizing him.
Emeka Emezie, Marvin Ridge
With a game-high seven catches for 92 yards (plus 19 yards on three rushes), Emezie proved he is Marvin Ridge’s greatest offensive weapon. Unofficially, he didn’t have a single drop – and made an unbelievable one-handed touchdown catch to give Marvin Ridge the lead heading into half time (see the third clip of the below video). No matter the route, he showed the focus to track the ball and the soft hands to make the catch.
Emezie’s body control not only allows him to contort to make difficult catches look easy, but to also shield the covering defender from making a play on the ball.
Emezie didn’t rack up the YACs on Friday. But, the fact that Marvin Ridge asked him to return punts and kickoffs, and gave him three opportunities on rushes (good for a 6.33-yard average) at least shows that the Mavericks’ coaching staff believes he’s dangerous with the ball in his hands.
Dmitri Emmanuel, Marvin Ridge
At 6-foot-2 and 317 pounds, Emmanuel is a massive offensive lineman, who lined up at right tackle (across from Lawler) on Friday night. Although he moves very well for his size, Lawler showed why Emmanuel will likely slide inside on the collegiate level – he just doesn’t have the lateral quickness to consistently handle edge rushers.
Due to his aforementioned size and accompanying wide frame, Emmanuel blocked with tremendous stability (see below video). Defenders may have run around Emmanuel, but none pushed him back – even when he wasn’t in an adequate stance.
In addition to his ability to anchor, Emmanuel used strong, long arms to stymie defenders.
Jacobe Clement, South Mecklenburg
Given his usage (South Meck played a lot of cover-3) and the limited number of times he was tested, it was hard to truly evaluate Clement.
Even at 6-feet and 171 pounds, Clement wasn’t afraid to stick his nose into the action and help in run support. After reading a play, he quickly closed in on the ball carrier and then attempted the tackle by hitting his target low.