Quincy Notre Dame football coach Bill Connell and his staff found themselves in unfamiliar territory Friday night when it came to calling offensive plays.
Should they run or pass?
The Raiders unveiled a wrinkle to their traditional power-I formation, coming out in a spread offense starting with the first play from scrimmage. It was successful as QND routed Macomb 49-14, picking up 418 yards of total offense.
And it was a very balanced effort — 202 yards rushing, 216 yards passing. That also created some interesting sideline conversations as offensive coordinator Joe Obert and the rest of the staff called plays.
“We’re working our way down the field and we’re debating run or pass,” Connell said. “Nobody knows. We’ve never been in this position before. A lot of us have coached 18 years together, but we’ve never had that mindset. It was a different mindset.”
It should get easier. This was the first time QND ran the spread against an opposing defense, other than at the University of Missouri team camp back in June. The coaching staff seemed pleased with the overall effectiveness of the offense.
“I’m very proud of the way the players and the coaches adjusted and worked together,” Connell said. “We walk out of here knowing there is some work to be done, but we did some things right.”
Line ’em up, knock ’em down: Macomb coach Kelly Sears struggled to get his safeties to move up into the heart of the defense to take away the quick slants which QND quarterback Kramer Barnes used effectively.
However, he noted the real success of the spread offense came up front as QND’s hulking front line adjusted to new blocking schemes. The line kept Barnes from getting sacked and allowed QND to average 7.3 yards per carry in the first half.
Junior tailback Daniel Weiman had 114 yards on 13 carries, an average of 8.8 yards per touch.
“Weiman is one of the best running backs in the area,” Sears said.
Rotating receivers: Connell did not say which two wide receivers would line up as starters. Instead, he said to be prepared to see six different receivers rotate in and out of the lineup.
He didn’t lie. Six receivers caught passes, along with Weiman, and collectively, the group believes they will only get better.
“It’s one of those things where you have to run it a lot,” wide receiver Brandon Ley said of the spread offense. “It takes repetition.”
Already, the receivers seemed to have found some synergy with Barnes.
“We have all the different routes and you have to be on key with Kramer,” wide receiver Quenton Keating said. “With so many guys in routes and guys coming at him, it’s hard for him to see what’s going on in the field. You have to make life easy for Kramer.
“Kramer communicates well with everyone. We’re working on our routes and they are getting better every day.”
Game balls: The coaching staff handed two game balls following the victory. One went to Barnes, who completed 13 of 20 passes for 216 yards and three touchdowns. The other went to defensive tackle Connor Miller, who had seven tackles and one sack as the Raiders limited the Bombers to minus-5 yards rushing on 13 carries.
QND 49, Macomb 14
6 First downs 24
13-(minus 5) Rushes-yard 34-202
199 Passing yard 216
194 Total yards 418
10-19-1 Comp-Att-Int 13-20-0
9-70 Penalties-yards 4-25
1-0 Fumbles-lost 2-0
Macomb 0 0 7 7—14
QND 14 28 7 0—49
Q—Anthony Bruns 24 pass from Kramer Barnes (Blake Doane kick), 6:05
Q—Daniel Weiman 7 run (Doane kick), :05
Q—Adam Niemann 8 pass from Barnes (Doane kick), 10:14
Q—Ryan Terstriep 1 run (Doane kick), 7:00
Q—Weiman 9 run (Doane kick), 5:08
Q—Weiman 11 run (Doane kick), :34
M—Matthew Gordy 39 pass from Seth Wickert (Quin Johnson kick), 4:51
Q—Quenton Keating 37 pass from Barnes (Doane kick), :59
M—Brian Elliott 36 pass from Wickert (Johnson kick), 4:55
RUSHING—Macomb, Alex Roberts 7-11, Chris Jackson 1-5, Brandon Cousins 2-(minus 7), Wickert 3-(minus 14). QND, Weiman 13-114, Zak Thompson 5-22, Conner McLaughlin 3-16, Barnes 4-15, Ian Hinkamper 2-14, Brandon Ley 1-9, Aaron Reiter 3-6, Terstriep 2-5, Cody Kessler 1-1.
PASSING—Macomb, Wickert 10-19-199-1. QND, Barnes 13-20-216-0.
RECEIVING—Macomb, Gordy 4-56, Zach Grover 2-69, Elliott 1-36, Roberts 1-20, Bradley Mason 1-14, Jackson 1-6. QND, Bruns 4-64, Keating 3-71, Ley 2-42, Luke Stamerjohn 1-12, Doane 1-11, Weiman 1-8, Niemann 1-8.