A return to a normal practice routine produced results that were anything but for the Deerfield High School football team in its 48-6 victory Friday over Maine East.
After having one less day to prepare for its last two games because of the school calendar, the Warriors had time to work on individual techniques more than they had in practice last week and fruits of the labor blossomed in splendid fashion.
Coach Steve Winiecki had his Warriors using the extra time to concentrate on blocking skills, tackling and the kicking game as well as preparation for the Blue Demons. The Result: Special teams scored three touchdowns; the defense scored one and gave opportunities to the offense which scored the other three.
“It was good to have a full week of practice,” Winiecki said Thursday. “We got back to some stuff with extra time for individual work. On defense we worked on tackling, on offense on blocking technique and on special teams we worked on kicking and returning.”
One of the people who heard the call was Sam Modro who returned a pair of punt returns for touchdowns and scored a third when he picked up a Blue Demon fumble and returned it for a score.
“It absolutely made a difference. It helps to go up against guys in practice who are hungry. It makes it like a game,” Modro said of the full week of drills and his teammates opposing him in practice looking for more time in a game. “We were able to play in the game as expected.”
Modro was quick to give credit to his teammates on his three scores. “My blockers made it easy,” he said. “Higgie (William Higginson) threw one block that opened it up,” he added referring to the second score.
Another player who responded to the extra time was captain and defensive leader Patrick Johnson. The defense forced Maine East to punt after three tries six times and played most of the game in Blue Demon territory.
“It helped with our attitude,” Johnson said of the week of practice. “Having five days to do what we have to do made a huge difference in our mindset. We were able to execute and the coaches expect it.”
One thing Winiecki wants of his players is taking a game one play at a time. The coach knows it will add up for the Warriors. “We’re playing more consistently than in the early weeks,” he said. “They (need) to make a good play and then make another good play.”
Johnson got the message and believes the team did more of it during the game. “We’re not satisfied with one good play,” he said. “We take each play as if it was its own game in itself. The line coach and Coach Winiecki really get after us if we don’t play a play as well as we could on a play.”
The Warriors will take that attitude into their game at Niles North at 7 p.m. Friday where they will try to even their season record at 4-4, improve to 3-1 in the Central Suburban League North Division and extend their two-game winning streak.