Dawgs 2011 commit Chris Conley currently plays at North Paulding High School, which is about 10 minutes away from my brother's house. We are planning on going to see him play several times this year. Last night was their first home game, against Paulding County, so we headed out.
First thing we learned...we need to get there EARLY. We left Josh's around 7:15 or so, and arrived in the vicinity of the school right before kickoff. I say the "vicinity" because traffic was backed around a mile from the entrance. The campus is situated right in the middle of about 100 acres of cow pasture, and the line of cars and walking families streaming up the hill to the high school reminded me of nothing more than the closing scenes of Field of Dreams.
"If you commit to be a Dawg, they will come".
While we were in line to get in, North Paulding struck first with a quick touchdown (not sure who scored that one). They followed that up with an onside kick, which they recovered, and then marched down for a field goal. 10-0.
On the ensuing kickoff, N. Paulding initiated what was going to be their kickoff strategy for most of the night...the pooch kick. The ball bounced off some poor hogmolly playing as an up man and was recovered by...North Paulding. Three plays later, Chris Conley scored his first of many touchdowns this season on a little slant route from around 10 yards out.
North Paulding kicked off again, and Paulding County...fumbled the kickoff AGAIN. North Paulding took over at the 15, scored a touchdown two plays later, and it was 24-0 before Paulding County had even run an OFFENSIVE PLAY. North Paulding continued to dominate in every single facet of the game (even their band was better), and we left when North scored to make it 50-0 in the third and were well into their bench depth.
Conley looked very good, even though his stat line probably won't show it. Unless he scored that first touchdown that I missed, he ended the game with just the one touchdown and probably another 4-5 catches. Despite the rather pedestrian stats, he was clearly better than anybody who tried to defend him, and he was open all night. I was also pleased to see him blocking downfield very effectively once North went to a short pass/run offense after going up so quickly.
It was also good to see Chris be an obvious leader on the team, and to see him just as pumped and excited for his teammates who made plays as he was when he got his own opportunities.
One teammate who he was able to get excited for a LOT was Joey Elizer, his teammate at wideout. Elizer was making huge plays all night, and ended the night with three touchdowns and at least 180-200 yards (I don't have official stats). He's listed at 6'2, 190 lb, and he just looked smooth and FAST all night. A quick look at his Rivals profile shows that his only major offer is from Illinois...my guess is that if he consistently plays like he did last night, he won't have to go play for the Zooker.
I had every intention of having some decent pics and videos to post...unfortunately, I had two things working against me. Number one, I am a HORRIBLE photographer/video recorder...you should only try to watch my video of when we went to see the Blue Angels if you take anti-nausea pills first, as the camera just whips around randomly at empty sky, except for the one time when I mistakenly followed a passenger plane 30,000 feet in the air for about 30 seconds.
Compounding my utter ineptitude as a photographer is the fact that I was breaking in a new camera. Not a good combination.
Anyway, here's what I got...
A pretty blurry of Conley breaking from the line of scrimmage...that's Conley lined up closes to us:
On this video, you can see a little of what I'm talking about regarding Conley's downfield blocking. At about the 10 second mark in the middle of the screen, a Paulding County defender is deposited squarely on his backside. The one doing the depositing is Conley.
Here is a shot of Joey Elizer on a WR screen...I didn't know the guy's name yet, so that's me at the end saying "That was #80 again". Also notable in this clip is the shot at the end of my niece, attending her first ever football game. I was (obviously) unaware that I was shooting her...note my earlier disclaimer about my horrible videography skillz.
Like I said, we are planning on going back several times this season, and I will keep you all updated as we follow this future Dawg...let's hope that I take the opportunity to hone my camera holding ability so that you can watch the video without puking.