Genoa finding ways to use backs as three-headed monster

J. Patrick Eaken

The winless Brooklyn Hurricanes made the trip from suburban Cleveland to Ottawa County last Saturday, and the Genoa football team did not do them any favors.
Nine different Genoa backs piled up 391 yards rushing as Genoa routed Brooklyn, 55-0, in a Division V playoff game. The Comets improved to 4-3 while the Hurricanes do not have a win in four games.
The Comets finished with 420 total yards to Brooklyn’s 76, and managed 22 first downs to the Hurricane’s five.
“Up front, we did great. It started with our guys up front,” Genoa coach Paul Patterson said. “In our assignments, we got people off the ball and then our backs, between them running the ball and blocking for each other, did a phenomenal job.
“It was a good confidence for our kids, and we had a great week of practice in prepping for it, because we treated it differently. It was a playoff week and we treated it like that, so our intensity in practice was a lot better,” Patterson continued.
Patterson went from the typical wing-T offense to employing a power I formation. It gave other playoff teams scouting the Comets a different look, but it also got more backs involved. What it created was a three-headed monster combining speed and strength out of Genoa’s backfield.
“We did a little ‘I,’ and it was another way because Justin Barlage has kind of carried the load for us all year. He’s the guy who gets most of the carries, for the most part,” Patterson said.
“Going to an ‘I’ gave us the ability to get Ray Gomez some more carries, and then Jaycob Barlage the ball, too. Both of those two guys had pretty good games on Friday night — Ray had over 100 and Jaycob had over 100, with both of those two running as an ‘I’ tailback.
“It worked, getting in those kids, and we have a couple good backs in them. That’s the key for us is running the football.”
The speedy Gomez, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound senior, finished with 116 yards on 14 carries, good for 8.3 yards per attempt, and he scored two touchdowns. Jaycob Barlage, a 5-11, 180-pound junior had 111 carries on just six runs, averaging 18.5 yards. Jaycob had one breakaway for 50 yards and he scored two touchdowns. Gomez has accumulated 456 yards on the year and Jaycob Barlage has 328.
However, like Patterson said, it is Justin Barlage, a 5-11, 195-pound senior, who leads the team with 598 yards on 146 attempts and seven touchdowns. In the win over Brooklyn, he had 69 yards on 11 carries and two TDs, but he also blocked for Gomez and his brother.
It does not mean that Genoa does not pass the ball at all — sophomore quarterback Braylen Bryant threw a 14-yard completion to Justin Barlage and a 15-yarder to sophomore back Robert Messenger.
On the season, Bryant has thrown 16 completions for 247 yards to keep defenses honest. A.J. Rubeis, a 6-1, 165-pound senior wide receiver, has caught three for a team-leading 104 yards and one TD.
Defense stepped up, too, as 5-10, 170-pound senior outside linebacker Gage Gallagher had four solo tackles, two assists, and 1½ sacks for minus-5½ yards in the playoff shutout. Gomez, from his defensive back position, and 5-10, 160-pound senior defensive back Mason Drummond were in on four tackles each. As a team, Genoa had three sacks for minus-12 yards.
From his defensive back position, Jaycob Barlage has two fumble recoveries this season, including one he returned 83 yards for a touchdown, and leads the team with seven tackles for a loss. Gomez leads the team with 43 tackles and three interceptions, Drummond has 34 tackles and two interceptions and Justin Barlage has 33 tackles.
However, it has not always been that easy. The Comets do have Northern Buckeye Conference wins over Elmwood (28-21), Woodmore (6-3), and Fostoria (48-14), but mistakes were made in league losses to Rossford (28-7), Otsego (32-0) and Lake (28-7).
“That has been our biggest problem is inconsistencies,” Patterson said. “I know Brooklyn had a limited roster, but for us, we looked it at as it was a clean game for us. We didn’t have a bunch of missed assignments, and that’s been our problem.
“We have had missed assignments, in one game it was turnovers, in one game it was finishing in the red zone, and in one game it was finishing on fourth down. It has been something a little different in our three losses.”
The Comets are fortunate to have junior Aiden Hemmert kicking, coming over from the NBC champion Genoa soccer team. Hemmert repeatedly put the ball into the end zone on kickoffs in the win over the Hurricanes and was a perfect 6-for-6 in extra points with freshman Ethan Crawford successfully converting on the other two. For the year Hemmert is 18 for 19, with the only miss being a blocked kick.
The following Saturday, Genoa traveled two hours south to take on Richwood North Union (5-2), and if you were there, you likely did not see the ball aired out very much.
“It is two very similar offenses. They love to run the ball. There are some hard-nosed kids and they have got a couple nice athletes and they are going to play the same wing T offense. They have some nice running backs and some tough kids,” Patterson said.


The Press

The Press
1550 Woodville Road
Millbury, OH 43447

(419) 836-2221

Email Us

Facebook Twitter

Ohio News Media Association