St. Edmond Football has seen a significant jump in its win total in year 3 of the Coach Matt Dillon era. Dillon’s vision when he arrived at St. Edmond has played out this year as he expected with the group of players he has now specifically Seniors this would be the year to make headway. They certainly have made that headway with a 5-2 mark in the regular season which is the largest win total since 2015 when St. Edmond was 5-4. A win in the playoffs Friday would eclipse that mark and give the program its best win total since the 12-1 season in 2014. Dillon was formerly at Dowling Catholic leading them to the 1st two State Titles the program ever collected. He’s had stints at the college level and the high school level in football crazy states like Texas, Florida and Georgia. When a coach with that much experience and that type of track record has high expectations, it is usually for good reason.
This season the Gaels led by their Seniors have made good on those expectations to this point. Now though it’s the playoffs which is the season within a season. Everything becomes magnified and it becomes a one game season, simply put “survive and advance” as the late great Jim Valvano would say or “lose and go home”. This group of Gaels players who haven’t been in this situation can lean on a coach who has seen it time and time again. This year’s Gaels team has the distinction of already accomplishing earning a 1st round home game something that hasn’t been done since 2014.
The Gaels have the 2-3 Madrid Tigers at Dodger Stadium Friday Night. It bodes well for St. Edmond as they are 5-0 on the year at Dodger Stadium. Coach Matt Dillon says that his message to his team this week going in has been about capitalizing on this rare and special opportunity.
Madrid is a run 1st offense, St. Edmond has had its issues stopping the run but in their regular season finale win over Bishop Garrigan they were much stiffer in stopping the run. The Tigers will use a spread run game and the “zone read option” will be a staple of what they do. Keeping them in 2nd or 3rd and long situations will be a major key to the game for St. Edmond. The Gaels have momentum after their most complete performance of not only this season but Dillon’s tenure as they breezed past Garrigan 62-14. That was another landmark win as St. Edmond hadn’t beat them in 5 straight tries prior.
Another major key will be turnover margin, St. Edmond is 5-0 when winning the turnover battle. They are 0-2 when they are even or minus in turnover margin. Coach Dillon says his team really feeds off the momentum from turnovers and that creating turnovers will be paramount against Madrid.
Madrid’s defense is aggressive and they will look to make plays in the backfield. As a team they have 30 tackles for loss in 5 games an average of 6 per game and they have 8 total sacks. The Gaels Offensive line played very well against Bishop Garrigan. However, that Garrigan teams had significantly fewer tackles for loss or sacks. So it will be a stiffer challenge for the St. Edmond offensive linemen then last week. The Gaels will have to keep Madrid out of the backfield Friday to be able to allow their play makers to get the ball in space.
Their has been an excitement coming from the St. Edmond Football community this week going into Friday. That excitement is not only based on the elation from what happened in the regular season finale but it is also based on this accomplishment. This is an opportunity that hasn’t come along in 6 years and now it’s here. Can St. Edmond make the most of the opportunity they have in front of them? Find out Friday Night starting with the pregame show at 6:45 PM on “Sunny” 99.7