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Revere football coach building foundation based on defense

10/24/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

BATH — First-year Revere High School football head coach Mike Murphey said this season has been spent laying down a foundation for the school’s football program.

“The program over the last few years has been 1-19, and I think for our kids here it’s a learning process,” he stated. “Because of the league that we compete in, every little thing that we do is so critical, and I think they are really learning to focus on the finer points of the game. Some of those things we can fix on Friday nights, and some of those things have to be fixed in the weight room.”

Despite the team’s 1-7 record to start the year, Murphey said he has already seen improvement this season.

“I think one of the biggest things that we have seen is just an improvement with tackling,” he stated. “The game still comes down to blocking and tackling no matter what you do, and there absolutely has been an improvement.”

In an attempt to strengthen the program, Murphey said, the team has been focusing on improvement on the defensive side of the ball.

“All kinds of teams that are awful can move the ball and that kind of stuff. But good teams play defense, regardless of what they can do offensively skill-wise,” he said. “And that’s where we’ve really improved. I feel like starting from our first couple of games and scrimmages and then going up until now that we’re playing as well as we possibly can. For the first year of a new scheme, where I’m asking guys to do things that they’re not necessarily used to doing, I’m really proud of what they have accomplished.”

Murphey said the team changed its offensive set this season to more of a spread look.

“[Junior quarterbacks] Zeck Lehman and Chase Costanzo started out neck and neck to see who would give us the best opportunity to win,” the coach said. “The way it’s unfolded the last couple of games, Zeck is starting at safety and Chase starts at quarterback. I like the way Chase throws the ball and makes decisions. He has the ability to be athletic in the pocket.”

And Lehman is part of a secondary that Murphey said has been “playing very well.”

“Two of them are senior cornerbacks in Dalton Bassak and Everett McGregor, and we also have junior safeties Jared Wright and Zeck Lehman,” he said. “Those four guys have really done a great job containing a lot of what happens. I think they’re learning and they are getting better every single week.”

Other key defensive players include junior linebacker Max Tisdale and senior defensive end Nathan August.

“Those two have done a great job of playing a physical game,” the coach said.

The most “dominant” player on Revere’s roster, Murphey said, has been junior wide receiver Zack Lalkowski.

“In just about every game, he has been the best player on the field for us,” the coach stated. “He requires an awful lot of attention from [the defense]. He’s 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, and he can run and jump and do all those things that you’d want somebody to do.”

Murphey said he wants to see his team continue to improve for the rest of this season and then carry that commitment into the offseason.

“We will try to get better at the things we can get better at,” he said. “We can control things such as where we are lining up on the field and making sure we are doing those kinds of things right. We constantly evaluate our players on that and talk about a personal level of accountability they have to the team. There is a really good quote along the lines of everybody wanting to win, but only the very successful people wanting to prepare. Our kids have to prepare in the weight room and on the track. Those are the two biggest things that I see lacking here and we will improve that.”

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