Bonavia wanted Twyman and Sheahin to run the scout team offense this week at practice, and to emulate prolific Westminster quarterback Deryk Kern, who has been the catalyst for the Owls’ ground-breaking season which included a 51-7 drubbing of Blake in the Maryland 4A North Semifinal last weekend.
By all accounts, the proposition has paid off. Twyman, who graduated in 2007 and earned All-Met honors at quarterback, and Sheahin (who played at Maryland from 2005-2007 and is considered one of Sherwood’s all-time great quarterbacks) still live in the area and have been testing Sherwood’s young secondary all week.
“No offense to the Westminster quarterback, but they’re a little bit better,” Sherwood defensive back Richie Dipietro said. “It’s so unbelievably helpful… It’s really helped our safeties.”
Bonavia expects the Owls (11-0) to throw on “90 percent” of their snaps on Friday night, which creates a unique situation for his defense, considering the limited amount of spread offenses Sherwood (10-2) faced this fall. Bonavia said he will employ a nickel defense, featuring five or six defensive backs, much of the time during the game. The game-plan will be similar to what Sherwood prepared for in advance of its 35-28 win over Northwest last month. The Jaguars spread offense, led by senior quarterback Matty Callahan, produced 28 first half-points, but the nickel package was the difference in a second-half shutout for the Warriors.
“This team is making it very difficult for us. We’ve changed our defense only in one way: We’ve never had to use a nickel defense against teams we’ve played…we’ll be in more five to six defensive backs as opposed to four and five defensive backs,” Bonavia said. “If we play this team for four quarters, the way we played Northwest for two quarters, we can be victorious. We are much improved in our secondary. But we’re really going to have to be vastly improved.”
Sherwood is hoping that Twyman and Sheahin will make up that difference. Dipietro said the move showed the team how serious the coaching staff is taking Kern, and has forced the defense to make plays all week.
“You either make the play or you don’t…(the defensive backs) have realized I can’t be lazy, I have to hustle every play,” said Dipietro. “The only thing that is going to worry me: are we going to stay disciplined?”
3A West final: Urbana at No. 8 Seneca Valley, 7 p.m.
Seneca Valley Coach Fred Kim places the births of his three children tied atop the list of the greatest moments of his life. Right behind them, he’d list winning the 1987 Maryland AA state championship as a player in his senior season at the Germantown school.
Those priorities begin to explain the emotions Kim and offensive coordinator Bob Plante have felt this week preparing the Screamin’ Eagles (10-1) for Friday’s Maryland 2A South final against Urbana (8-3). Kim’s son J.P. is a sophomore call-up to the Hawks’ varsity squad, and Plante’s son Brandon is a junior starting cornerback.