The Marinelli Missives - #3

Stanford fans may be frustrated today with how the USC game slipped away in the second half on Saturday, but they can hold their heads high with the Card's start through three games. Senior offensive tackle recruit Chris Marinelli is currently mired in his frustrations with his high school team's (0-3) offense. He offers his perspective on the responsibility for BC High's offensive failures.

An offense, in many ways, is somewhat like a fortress. If every last brick holds sturdy, the place itself will remain impenetrable and stalwart. Along the same lines, if every player carries through with his job, then the offense will be incapable of doing anything else than scoring touchdowns quickly and furiously. However, this weekend alone was clear evidence that such a task is one that falls miles away from "easy".

Boston College High School played perhaps its weakest opponent of the young season this past Friday. And although we gained the most offensive yards of any game so far this year, committed no turnovers, and accounted for numerous first downs, we still managed to score a measly six points to lose another game, 13-6. Each drive progressed in the same way, with success both by foot and by air. After amassing a few first downs with very little hesitation it appeared as if a brick wall appeared in front of us. One missed block, one poor route, one wrong offensive line call, one wrong step in the backfield, one bad pass, one bad hole selection, etc; before long it was time to punt.

In the first half, we did manage to score once on a 59-yard trap run by Division II recruit senior Ryan Cooney (WR/S 6'2" 185 lbs). This play was preceded by an interception in the endzone by senior cornerback Mariano Beecher (5'9" 175 lbs), which was ran back about 50 yards. The extra point was sliced slightly left and the lead was 6-0. The defense bent but refused to break as we stopped the opposition on the goal line to end the half. As usual, the defense played in typical fashion for the whole game, allowing minimal yards aside from a 40-yard option keep by the quarterback and a 50-yard trap by a running back. It was doubtful that that many yards were gathered by the opponent in the rest of the game.

Time and time again, our defense forced them to punt and left the scoring to our offense. Each drive looked promising from the start, until that barrier hit us. 1st and 10 would become 2nd and 20 after a blitz and a sack. It seemed as if the offense would then lose all confidence, as the next two plays would look nothing short of horrendous. So we punted and again left our defense to save us. The punting was superb all night long by Cooney, who left them in poor field position each and every drive.

Before long it was the fourth quarter and punting no longer appeared as an option. On our final drive of the game, where we trailed 13-6, we had the ball just inside opponent territory with 1st and 10. A cornerback blitz from the edge was not picked up and we lost 10 yards. 2nd and 20 featured a quick pass gain for six yards or so. The next down, 3rd and 14, showed an off-balance throw by our quarterback well short of his intended option, the tight end. On 4th and 14, the quarterback found no open receivers and tried to run until he was pulled down after gaining only five yards.

Playing well for us was senior tight end Joe Sheehan, who had two clutch leaping catches to keep drives alive. Also, the team MVP was perhaps senior weakside defensive tackle James McCann, who had a sack and seven tackles. I finished the game with three tackles, one for a loss, and fairly good play at offensive tackle in my first game moved down from tight end.

Like Boston College High School, Stanford also struggled in the second half of their game to move the ball against a more experienced USC defense, although their reasons were much, much different from ours. Ball movement and control wins ball games, but when a team has no such ability to do this, the odds are truly against them. We get ready for another battle next week in our home opener against top 10 ranked Marshfield, who seems to be our best opponent yet.

This game will be kicked off with the jersey number 65 being retired at BC High. This was the jersey of Steve Trapilo, a BC High graduate, a Boston College star, and then a New Orleans Saints starter for many years. Trapilo was our offensive line coach up until this year when he passed away in the spring due to a heart attack. Donating the weight room and days upon days of volunteer work as coach, Trapilo is greatly missed today by the whole Boston College High School. Maybe this ceremony will give us a reason to win - maybe now we will have enough heart to play like a team.

Chris Marinelli is a 6'7" offensive tackle recruit in the 2005 class who verbally committed to Stanford in July.  He is writing a weekly series this fall to deliver Cardinal fans insight into the triumphs and travails of his senior season at Boston College High School.

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