Maroa-Forsyth coach Josh Jostes said the Trojans tried to change their personnel to fit the styles Morrison and Sterling Newman played when they lost in state-title games in 2009 and '10.
This time, against Stockton, Maroa made just one minor change to its 3-5 defense, making it a 4-5 instead.
“Our biggest adjustment was to say, ‘We’re going to do what we do.’ This is the defense that got us here. But our skill kids are going to have to be more physical," Jostes said. “Our defensive backs are good cover kids, but sometimes they don’t want to be big hitters. A kid like Drew Aschermann would rather guard guys than run alleys. But it’s going to happen – you’re going to have to hit someone.
“We tell them, 'Either we have to sub you out, or you have to become more physical. If you don’t want to leave the field, hit.' "
Bigger teams are going to have a strength advantage against fast kids, and fast kids will have a speed advantage against big kids. The key is who wins the mismatch
“Our thought process became -- let's stop this team with our guys doing what they’re supposed to do. Now they have a big tackle trying to chase down our linebackers and they’re not going to catch them," Jostes said. “We won’t out-coach ourselves anymore on either side of the ball.”
Jostes tried to deflect a question about a possible repeat at Friday's press conference, but couldn't help at least giving a glimpse into the 2013 season.
After a seven-man senior class this year, that number boosts to a whopping 18 next year. At least 10 of the current Maroa juniors were major contributors on this year's team, and the Trojans also have, as Jostes put it, "a pretty decent sophomore," in quarterback Jack Hockaday.
“That gives us a shot,” Jostes said. “Our kids will take a week off, most will head to basketball and the rest will start back in the weight room the first week of December. Our goal is to be at state every year and that’s not going to change.”
At this point, if Maroa doesn't repeat, it's a disappointment. That's a lot of pressure, but Maroa has T-shirts that say, "Pressure is a privilege."
Maroa loses some good players -- the offensive line will be hit particularly hard. But there isn't a unit that doesn't return good players.
Offensive backfield -- QB Jack Hockaday, RB Jordan Bond, FB Justin Mikeworth
Offensive line -- G Brock Elliott, C Tyler Ortmann.
Receiving -- WR Drew Fredericksen, WR Clayton Zilz, WR Alec Martin. Also, TE Arber Emroski and WR Sam Stogsdill could play a bigger role next year.
Defensive line -- DT Christian Whicker. Ortmann also played some line and can slip in there.
Linebackers -- MLB Mikeworth, ILB Elliott, OLB Emroski, OLB Hockaday
Defensive backs -- CB Fredericksen. Zilz could step in at linebacker or defensive back, Martin and Stogsdill could also step in.
The legend of Jack Hockaday
What Hockaday accomplished as a sophomore quarterback can't be overstated.
Like what was reported in Saturday's paper, Hockaday's 71.4 completion percentage (193-of-270) broke his brother Luke's school-record 67.6 mark from 2005. If he keeps it up two more years, he'll easily break Andy Pittenger's Maroa career mark of 64.1 percent.
Hockaday's final passing yards mark of 2,529 ranks third-best in school history -- just 47 yards behind Stelzriede's career-high of 2,576 in 2010. Luke holds the record with 2,844. Hockaday accounted for 50 total touchdowns this year. Maroa's record-book didn't list a record for total TDs, but 50 is almost certainly it. Luke had 42 total touchdowns in 2006 when he set the school record for most passing TDs in a season with 39.
There was grumbling in the press box and on Twitter about Maroa going for a touchdown on a fourth-down play up by 12 points with 35 seconds left.
Stockton didn't use either of its timeouts, and Maroa took as much time off the clock as it could. The possession started with 2:58 left in the game and Hockaday went up the middle against Stockton's first-team defense with 35 seconds left.
Why wouldn't you score there? It's the state championship game. Even it appeared the other team gave up by not calling timeouts, why leave it to chance?
I don't see any problem with the final touchdown, either. Jacob Barra, a backup defensive lineman, scored from 35 yards out when Stockton starting quarterback Thomas Fox fumbled and Barra recovered. If he's not supposed to score there, then why is he even on the field? If teams want the other team to stop playing, maybe there should be some sort of white flag option, where a team can just choose to end the game. Otherwise, let the kids who are out there play football.