Tower football team working to finish drives, improve defense

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Warren Weekly | Published October 9, 2013

 After starting 2012 0-5, the Warren Woods Tower football team had won seven of its last nine games at press time. Pictured is Titans junior quarterback Darius Jordan during an Oct. 2 practice.

After starting 2012 0-5, the Warren Woods Tower football team had won seven of its last nine games at press time. Pictured is Titans junior quarterback Darius Jordan during an Oct. 2 practice.

Photo by Deb Jacques

WARREN — The Warren Woods Tower football team started the 2012 campaign 0-5.

Titans coach Mike Mahar, in his first year with the team at the time, installed a veer offense, which utilizes the triple option, and scaled the offensive playoff back to four or five plays.

Mahar also implemented a 4-3 defense, which calls for defensive players to stay disciplined over the course of a game. Since then, Tower has won seven of its last nine games, dating back to Sept. 28, 2012.

At press time, the Titans sat at 3-2, 2-1 Macomb Area Conference Silver Division. Tower also remained alive in the race for a spot in the 2013 Michigan High School Athletic Association state playoffs with four games remaining in the regular season.

According to the MHSAA, for football, postseason inclusion is determined by wins and a computer point value, calculated for each team based upon its record and strength of schedule, with the top 256 teams (including all teams with six victories if playing a nine-game schedule) qualifying. These 256 teams are then ordered by enrollment and divided into eight divisions of 32 teams each.

Junior quarterback Darius Jordan, in his first full season as a starter after being called up to the varsity for the final two games of the 2012 season, is already thinking about the playoffs.

“I’m looking to get our seniors to the playoffs,” said Jordan, who Mahar called the leader of the team. “We all know we haven’t been to the playoffs since 2007. I told them I’d work my hardest to get them (to the playoffs), and that’s a goal we all want to accomplish.”

Mahar said the team is still going through a learning process. He said Tower starts nine juniors on defense, and that group is still working to improve going into the last part of the regular season.

Mahar said Tower has been in that learning process since he made the offensive and defensive changes last season.

“And we had to change the culture as far as going to class, coming to practice on time and showing up to practice,” Mahar said. “That took some time. And I was a new coach, so they had to learn to trust me, and I had to learn to trust (the players). Once we built up that trust, things got a lot better.

“They really love me, and I love all of them to death. We’re really working hard together. We won four straight at the end of last season, and coming into this year, we got off to a good start.”

Tower started 2013 2-0 and outscored its first two opponents 92-20 before falling 29-22 to a Madison Heights High team that, at press time, sat at 5-0. The Titans upended East Detroit 36-33 before running into a strong St. Clair High team, which knocked off Tower 48-14.

The combined record of the team’s the Titans have lost to so far this season is 10-0.

“For us, we’re still learning how to play football — and get better every single day — and build this program so we can be competitive every year,” Mahar said. “I think they know what they’ve got to fix. As long as we keep getting better every day, I think things will take care of themselves.”

The Titans went no-huddle against St. Clair Sept. 27 and racked up more than 360 yards of offense in the game, but they left some points on the field, Mahar said.

The Tower coach said he added that wrinkle as a way to speed up the game and put pressure on opposing defenses.

“It gave St. Clair fits. We were moving up and down the field, but we just couldn’t finish off some drives,” Mahar said. “We just have to keep focusing on getting better. If we do what we’re supposed to do, things will work out well for us.”

Tower next hits the field for a matchup against Warren Fitzgerald (1-4, 1-2 MAC Silver), set for 1 p.m. Oct. 12 at Fitzgerald.