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Dover Excited About Challenge Of Playing Lake

BY Joe Scalzo

 

Ask Dover coach Dan Ifft what his team got out of last week's 45-0 win over Cleveland JFK and he'll give you a quick answer. "Not much," he said.

Ask Ifft what his Tornadoes will get out of Friday's game against Lake and he'll give you a long answer. "They'll learn things in that game that I can't teach on the practice field," Ifft said. "Games like Friday's make you better. "It's exciting to play teams that good. It makes you stay on your toes. It's not only the kids who are challenged, but the coaches get better, too. If you aspire to be one of the better programs and be a perennial playoff team and have a lot of playoff runs, you have to play teams that will make you better. And if the smoke clears at the end of the season and we're invited to the playoffs, you can tell kids, 'Lake was tougher than that team we're playing' and 'Steubenville was a better team than the team we're playing' and the kids start to believe."

The Blue Streaks hold a 5-3 lead in the series, which started with Dover's triple-overtime win in 1999. (Lake avenged that loss in the second round of the 1999 playoffs.) The Blue Streaks have won each of the last two years, including a 48-28 victory at home last season that saw them rush for 436 yards. "We did not play well last year," Ifft said. "Part of that was them. We were putting in a new defense and we were not very good at it, but we didn't find that out until that game. We weren't gap conscious and they took advantage of it. "We got a lot better after that game. It's always our intention to win the game, but it's nice to get better. If you play teams that don't challenge you, like we did last week, you're not going to get better and you're not going to be very good."

Lake's opener was a little tougher than Dover's — the Blue Streaks led Northwest 14-7 before pulling away for a 41-13 victory — but Blue Streaks coach Dan DeGeorge knows his team is facing a big jump in competition this week. "This is, by far, the best team Dan has had since we started playing them again (in 2015)," DeGeorge said. "It's going to be a definite challenge."

Although Lake returned a few key players from last year's playoff team, including junior running back Cameron Martin (150 yards, three TDs), the Blue Streaks played a lot of first-year starters against the Indians and it showed, DeGeorge said. "I think our second half, effort-wise, was really good," he said. "But grading it out, we were very poor execution-wise. We made a lot of mental mistakes. We played a lot of kids who have never taken a snap in a varsity game before and it was very evident. I think they were a little starstruck with their first Friday night game and I told them that's their one mulligan. "We need to make huge strides between Week 1 and Week 2 or we're not going to win a ton of football games."

Reach Joe at 330-580-8573 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

On Twitter: @jscalzoREP

 

 

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