Sussex County Delaware
Raiders Get Off
to Rough Start
Woodbridge Blue Raiders
2002 Recap

Friday, Sept. 6, 2002
Bohemia Manor (Md.) 40, Woodbridge 7

Photo: Woodbridge head coach John Parker.

Coming into this season, Woodbridge High School football coach John Parker knew his team lacked experience on defense and speed on offense. He knew that fundamentals would make the difference between a good season and a poor season.

Woodbridge head coach John ParkerWith a week off following the Blue Raiders' 40-7 season-opening nonconference loss to host Bohemia Manor (Md.), the veteran coach plans to work on those fundamentals in preparation for his squad's next game against West Nottingham (Md.) Academy on Sept. 7.

"There were a lot of little things (that went wrong) and that's what disappointed me more than anything," said Parker, whose club hasn't given up more than 35 points in the past three seasons and has developed a reputation for rock-hard defense during that time.

"The open week will allow us to work on some things. It will give us an opportunity to hopefully pay attention to a little more detail. I'm optimistic we can respond."

The Raiders were down 14-0 just 3:30 into the game on a pair of long runs by Bohemia. On the second TD, one of those little things resulted in a 50-yard touchdown as one Woodbridge tackler inadvertently knocked another off the ball carrier to turn what would have been a loss into a score.

"That took a lot of the juice out of us," said Parker of being down so early. "We played fairly well from that point on. The special teams played well and that was a point we were concerned about. We did a lot of good things in the game, but mental mistakes hurt us."

Ryan Murray scored Woodbridge's touchdown on a 15-yard run. The Raiders rushed for 235 of their 250 total yards.

Parker said that because the Raiders don't have the experience or speed they have had in the past, they will have to play "fundamentally sound" football to win games.

He said a couple of plays against Bohemia Manor emphasize the Raiders' reliance on fundamentals. On one, the Raiders had a receiver wide open but missed a block and couldn't get the pass off effectively. Several other times, Parker said, Raider runners would burst into the open only to be dragged down for a 12-yard gain instead of a touchdown or long run.

"We're a very inexperienced team, particularly losing the two players (all-stater Jamil Young and all-conference pick A.J. Neal)," said Parker. "You can't afford to lose athletic people like that at a small school because that second person to step up isn't there.

"We're extremely inexperienced on defense, we're not athletic, and we don't have a lot of team speed, and when you don't, you've got to play fundamentally sound. We were just a half-step slower or one assignment away. A 12-yard gain is pretty good, but when you have to go 60 or 70 yards, or even 50, you just can't afford to make a mistake or an error on a play. It doesn't leave much lead-way. You can't be perfect, but that has to be our goal."

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