Leaside Lancers offence played a near flawless game in their season opener all because of a new bag of tricks.
In a 33-6 romp over Humberside Huskies, the Lancers, led by second-year senior quarterback Mike Kanopoulous, scored three touchdowns, returned a 29-yard punt and capped off the scoring with a 20-yard field goal.
Despite not knowing what to expect from his squad or Humberside, Leaside head coach Jim Georgiadis was pleased with how his players were able to perform.
“We just went out there and did the things we worked on in practice,” he said. “This was a very strong junior team last year. We had a lot of guys come up to play senior, so what we have is a very young senior team this year.”
Georgiadis said one of the keys to his squad’s success was their depth.
“The one nice thing about this year is we have a little more depth on our team that can extend our offensive playbook, pass the ball more and be more of a balanced team,” he said. “It was nice to see that we could actually do some of the things that we wanted to do.”
Being able to expand a playbook in high school football is a luxury for most coaches.
That depth allowed Georgiadis to call some extra offensive plays in the game.
“It gives you a lot more options first of all,” he said. “Last year we suffered from not being able to get the ball vertically down the field.
“Teams were stuffing nine guys in the box and forcing us to pass. It didn’t allow us to sustain any drives and take time off of the clock.”
And the results paid off.
“Today we were able to put together some drives together of seven or more players and chew up some clock,” he said. “I think that was the difference because we were able to wear out the Humberside defence.”
The player who put the plays into action was Kanopoulous. Georgiadis said he relied on his quarterback to be a leader on the field.
One of Kanopoulous’ biggest attributes, Georgiadis said, is his versatility.
“He is a very good athlete and can run with the ball,” said Georgiadis. “To have a threat like that, who run with the ball and can pass the ball, really keeps defences in check when he is in check.”
Kanopoulous said he believes in order to be a successful quarterback in Tier 1, a team needs to have an agile playcaller.
“Speed is always key with the rushes and avoiding getting sacked,” he said. “I am always looking for the open field and hopefully we can get into the end zone a couple of times a game.”
While Kanopoulous was involved in all three Lancer touchdowns, one passing and the other two running the ball in himself from 21 yards and seven yards, he thought it was a complete team effort.
“I think the line played great and the wide receivers made some key blocks when it was needed,” he said. “This is exactly how we wanted to start the year and we expect more of the same as the season goes on.”
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