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Poland, Gould to face Dover

November 9, 2012
By TIM CLEVELAND - Tribune Chronicle ( , Underthelights

After winning its last three games to barely make the Division III state playoffs as the eighth seed in Region 11, Poland played Marlington last week in a regional quarterfinal game.

The Bulldogs lost to Marlington 10-3 in Week 1 but gained sweet revenge with a 38-0 demolition of the Dukes, setting up a regional semifinal game against Dover (9-2) on Saturday night at 7 at Green High School.

"It was sweet. It was absolutely a redeeming, feel-good thing for our kids," Poland coach Mark Brungard said. "When we got the lead in the first quarter, we really got a new sense of energy and confidence. Our defense totally shut them down. They've been good all year but in Week 1 we didn't score a touchdown. It was a lot of fun."

Article Photos

Tribune Chronicle file photo / Dave Dermer
Poland running back Ross Gould, left, is tackled by Howland’s Jordan Radich during this Oct. 5 game in Poland. The Bulldogs face Dover in a Division III, Region 11 semifinal Saturday at Green High School.

The Poland (8-3) offense is led by running back Ross Gould and quarterback Jake Wolfe. Gould has 980 yards on 131 carries and 11 touchdowns this season while Wolfe has passed for 940 yards with nine touchdowns.

The Tornadoes are coached by 1974 John F. Kennedy graduate Dan Ifft, who has coached the school for the past 18 seasons and is 76-23 in the last nine. He has led Dover to the playoffs the last eight seasons.

"They're extremely well coached," Ifft said of the Bulldogs. "They made an improvement throughout the season. They're big and powerful. They get a lot of patience from their head coach. There's not much you can do that's going to trick them. Their kicking game is solid. That's kind of what you expect at this level in Week 12. They've lost a couple, we've lost a couple, but you learn from those games.

"Their defense is a swarming defense. Their coaches work very hard on technique. They're not just a team that throws everything at you. Their defense front is very stout and tough. They're very good against the run and they can put pressure on the quarterback."

Against Marlington, Gould rushed 19 times for 110 yards and two touchdowns and Wolfe was 6 of 11 for 110 yards and two scores. Defensively, the Bulldogs limited the Dukes to just 137 total yards, with 86 coming on the ground (on 35 carries).

"We had two turnovers - a fumble and a interception," Brungard said of his defense. "We did what we needed to do. We had a couple minor penalties but we played the cleanest, most complete game of the season."

Dover (9-2) advanced to the regional semifinal with a 27-24 overtime victory at home last week over Granville.

"It was a pretty emotional win," Ifft said of last week's victory. "The kids came back from a deficit. The opponent took the lead on us with 36 seconds left. We got a field goal (to send the game into overtime) and it rejuvenated our defense. We got a sack to take them out of field goal range (in overtime). We went to our power game and set up for a field goal. We got a 22-yard field goal at the end of the first overtime to win."

The Tornadoes' offense relies on their senior quarterback, Mason Mamarella. The 6-foot, 170-pounder is 197 of 325 for 2,700 yards with 28 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He has also rushed for a team-leading 944 yards and seven more scores.

"He's done a great job reading defenses," Ifft said of Mamarella. "We've had some pretty good quarterbacks here but he's probably the most complete runner-thrower we've had here. He brings two dimensions to our offense. He's been successful with it. He's an extremely intelligent young man."

The other top offensive weapons Dover has are fullback Demetrius Farmer (10 touchdowns) and wide receivers Cory Contini (62 catches for 838 yards and seven TDs), Trey Wallick (41 catches for 590 yards and seven touchdowns) and Brant Raber (36 catches, 482 yards and three scores, plus 320 yards and two TDs rushing).

"I know they've been coached for a long time by a really good coach in Dan Ifft," Brungard said. "They like to spread out. They have a front three with two tackles and a nose man who are very disruptive. We want to try and keep the ball and control the clock. Not allowing them to have 80 or 90 plays like they are used to. That's where my focus is as the offensive coordinator."

Ifft said for Dover to win Saturday night, it must play its best on both sides of the ball.

"We're going to have to try and control the run," he said. "We have to get some stops and not allow them to possess the ball all night. On their defensive side, we're going to have to block them and give our quarterback some opportunities to make wise decisions with the football."

Brungard said Poland is confident it can defeat Dover and move on to the regional final.

"(Dover is) used to being in this round," he said. "We're having a lot of fun, being in the playoffs for the sixth straight year. The kids believe we can win the regional, we just have to prove it on the field."