Timberlane Owls Football '07

Timberlane tackles set for double trouble

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Thursday, October, 04 By Hector Longo
Staff writer

How does Timberlane Regional coach Mike Pariseau keep a straight face?

The 15th-year Owls head coach will send two of his best into a meat-grinder Friday night when his club hosts Exeter and its toe-to-toe straight-T offense.

His two behemoths not only go willingly, but excitedly. "Bring it on. We'll be ready," said senior two-way tackle Mike Furey, who like fellow two-way lineman Brian Nicoll, expects to be met by a blue wave of Exeter double-teams. "Sure, it's a lot of double-teams, but we'll come right back at them."

The Owls, 3-1 in Division 2 play, aren't in a must-win situation tomorrow, but this one with 4-1 Exeter would help separate Timberlane from the rest of the pack.

Timberlane has been an offensive juggernaut, rolling up 39.8 points a game. Defensively, though, the Owls are allowing 16.3 points per outing.

Exeter grinds out 33.2 points a game. And the Blue Hawks punish the opposition on the way to the end zone.

"It's a grueling offense to face, especially for the defensive tackles," said Nicoll. "All these guys do is run up the middle and off-tackle and they're very good at it. " The Owls struggled against Salem, which also runs the Straight-T, suffering a lopsided 48-8 defeat in Week 1. Pariseau is confident, though, his two inside pillars can handle the challenge presented by Exeter.

Nicoll, a junior, and Furey are rare two-way starters for Pariseau, a firm believer in the two-platoon system. "They make us very big," said Pariseau of the 6-2, 260-pound Furey and the 6-3, 270-pound Nicoll. "They've really solidified us inside when we needed it."

Fielding double-teams and not getting plowed under is as much about technique as it is toughness.

"I want to try and get off the ball quicker than them, then battling a half of each man," said Furey, whose sophomore brother Derek is a dynamic halfback with 10 TDs and 572 yards on 61 carries so far. "Facing this offense, there is a lot of reading the ball, feeling where the ball is going." Like Furey, Nicoll, who started last year, will rely on instinct and athleticism, more than weight or brute strength.

"You try to fight through, but if you can just create a stalemate with two guys, it does an awful lot," said Nicoll, 16, who with his height and growing frame is an intriguing college prospect.

Both players are more than just plowhorses, which should work to their favor.

Furey is a catcher/first baseman for the Owls in the spring and moves very well for his size.

And Nicoll proved to be a ton to knock off his feet in winning the state 285-pound wrestling title as a sophomore. Together, they rarely leave the field, but neither would have it any other way.

"Anything the coaches want," said Furey. "I mean I've put in the time and effort to earn it. I guess I'm getting the job done."

Nicoll, because of wrestling, is used to the physical grind. "It's cool to go both ways," he said. "I'm tired as (heck) by the end, though."

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