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earlyentry Presents: Football gamer for weekly

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by earlyentry, Nov 1, 2007.

  1. earlyentry

    earlyentry Member

    Still having problems developing ledes. Jmac always says work on writing strong ledes and finishes, but here I am, struggling yet again with a creative lede. Well, enjoy!

    The Montclair High football team played for their postseason lives during the last three weeks. Since each battle served as a potential elimination game, the Mounties had every right to feel nervous.

    Yet when they needed to defeat the same opponent who ended their playoff hopes last year -- a team featuring an All-State and Division-I running back -- the Mounties clinched their second State playoff berth in the last five years with a 21-14 victory over Teaneck this past Saturday at Woodman Field in Montclair.

    MHS (5-2) intercepted Teaneck (3-4) three times, jumped to an early 14-0 advantage and had a fourth-down defensive stance late in the game. With their third straight victory and 50 power points, the Mounties are currently fourth in the North 1, Group 4 standings, according to gridironnewjersey.com.

    If Montclair can upend Hackensack tomorrow night on the road, and Ridgewood and Union win their respective games this weekend, the Mounties can leapfrog Morris Knolls for the No. 3 spot.

    “Everyone in that locker room is so eager for a State championship,” said MHS quarterback Marlon Calbi following the game. Calbi ran for 16 yards on a bootleg to convert a fourth-and-15 late in the fourth quarter.

    Following Calbi’s run Montclair ran out the clock before a celebration ensued near midfield. The Mountie players leapt high into the air with the swagger befitting a playoff team.

    “I’ve had to deal with success and failure … so I know both,” said Calbi, who reached the State final as a sophomore, only to miss the playoffs last season. “And there are five other starters [that have been through the last three seasons] that know that, too.”

    To earn their first trip to States since 2005, MHS prepared to defend Rashad White, the Rutgers-bound speedster. He was the most dangerous player on the field and arguably one of the fastest tailbacks in the state -- but White was more sizzle than steak on Saturday.

    He finished with 145 rushing yards on 18 carries, but was bottled up by a swarming Montclair ‘D’ when it mattered. White stood on the sidelines when the Mounties stuffed a run on fourth-and-short in the red zone. He did score two touchdowns — the first an electric 86-yard jaunt to make it 14-6, and the second from two yards out to cut the Mounties lead to 21-14 in the third quarter.

    “I think the positioning that the coaches put our linebackers in was very critical,” MHS coach Ed Lebida said. “Making sure they didn’t overrun [White] or under-run him. It was almost like mirroring him and getting good angles so that if he did break out, we’d have an angle to catch him.”

    For Montclair, wide receiver and defensive back Jimmy Pitts was a triple threat who matched big plays with White all afternoon. He made an impact on defense (interception, sack), offense and on special teams, placing punts inside the 20-yard line.

    Pitts narrowly missed scoring on a punt return in the first quarter. MHS wasted little time after Pitts’ 40 yard return, as Green scored on the very next play from 14 yards out. Arman Walia’s PAT gave MHS a 7-0 lead. Two plays after the MHS rushing score, Pitts returned an interception 56 yards for a touchdown to give Montclair a 13-0 advantage. Another Walia extra-point made the score 14-0.

    Pitts finished with 101 receiving yards on five receptions, including a 46-yard, over-the-shoulder grab on the Mounties’ third and final scoring drive. On second-and-9, Calbi rolled away from pressure and found Pitts down-field, who made a brilliant grab. Nine plays and a roughing-the-punter penalty later, Green plowed in for his second rushing touchdown.

    “He had a great game,” Lebida said of Pitts. “Probably the most impressive thing he did was the catch, when he went up and got that ball and just basically took it away. That was a great, great catch.”

    Green tallied two scores while Calbi finished 10-of-18 for 125 passing yards and added another 27 on the ground for Montclair, which held Teaneck to just four first downs in the game.

    “The motivation right now is that we recognize that every game that we played since the [Paterson] Eastside loss is a playoff game,” Lebida said. “We just had to continue to get better and better.”

    Karee Jeffrey had two interceptions in the game for Montclair, who won despite going scoreless in the second half. The Highwaymen made it a game on special teams, blocking a Pitts punt for a safety, and forcing a turnover on down after tackling him on another punt attempt late in the third. The Mountie ‘D,’ however, held Teaneck from a game-tying score.

    “We still have Hackensack, that’s still a very important game,” said Celester “J.B.” Barnes, who was moved to tackle from tight end for the game. “We have to beat them to secure a home-field spot in the playoffs in the first round. So we have to come out and do what we did today: Play hard, don’t give up, never put our heads down and just play as a team.

    “I feel like we’re back up. And we’re going up and we’re staying up.”

    Added Calbi: “Everyone always says this is the year, and we’ve been saying it since the sixth grade. So what al-ways drives us is the fact that we can’t let it go -- we only have one shot and we can’t let it go. Every single game we play now we play for our lives.”
  2. TyWebb

    TyWebb Well-Known Member

    Took a quick glance, will add more later.

    Right off the bat, remember that a team or a schools is an "it". It changes to "they" when using the mascot name or players.

    Eliminate the word "currently" from your third graph. In fact, eliminated it from any story. Never needed.

    I think you picked the right theme/topic for your lede, but you take some time to get there. Start with the fact that Montclair was playing against the team that eliminated it last year, and that it won. That, to me, is the interesting part.

    Most teams, at this point in the season, have been playing for their playoff lives for almost a month. It almost goes without saying.

    Thanks for posting.
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