Empowering Coaches Step-By-Step

Game 9 Youth Football Results

The 3-4th grade team I’m coaching lost our playoff game 32-26 on Sunday to an 8-0 team. We scored on our opening drive only to lose the ball on a very hard strip the next 2 possessions by their dominant player. He scored all 32 of their points and had 3 of their 5 turnovers, he was at max ballcarrier weight, very strong and as fast as my fastest player. He scored on 3 of their first 8 plays including a broken play where at least 3 of our players had him in their grasp.

We were 8-0 coming into this game and had just 2 turnovers total for the season and were averaging less than 2 penalties per game. We had 10 in this one, all but 1 off-sides calls. We came back from an 18-8 deficit to take a 20-18 lead but after the opponent scored the go ahead score, they got us with an onside kick to one of our MPR players. Now down, by 2 touchdowns we came right back to put the game within a touchdown and then held. With about 3 minutes to go from our own 20, we brought it out to midfield before our off-sides penalties caught up with us. That was the only drive where we were stopped with exception of our turnovers.

The first team defense of the team we played had given up just a single score to that point. Our first team defense had also only given up a single score for the year until this game. While our execution was poor, I was extremely proud of our kids. We battled back from a 2 touchdown lead with no waiver in the kids attitude or confidence in a situation where it looked like we could have been blown out. In fact the manchild intercepted us on the last play of the half and looked to be headed for an 80 yard interception return to put the game into mercy rule, but one of our kids didn’t give up on the play and to everyones surprise ran him down on our 10 yard line to save the touchdown and keep us in the game. I was SO proud of him for that effort.

After a couple of minor scheme and personnel changes we had 4 three and out stops on defense and limited them to 2 long scoring plays, one in which we had him stopped for a nice loss in the backfield. This was a very winnable game, with any one of those turnovers costing us the game. Ball protection was something we devoted a tremendous amount of practice time on all season long. In all but one case, our backs were high and tight with the ball with the second hand coming over to protect, but the manschilds rip was just to much for my 61, 60, 71 and 73 lb running backs against a player 30 lbs heavier for most of them.

More on the game later. As always, I took blame for the loss. The wins are on the players, the losses are on the coaches. We were all great sports, no blame games or pointed fingers. I did let the boys know I wasn’t happy about the execution, but it paled in comparison for how proud I was of them and how they battled back.  I gave lots of hugs, atta boys and smiles to those disappointed kids There were lots of red eyes and tears, and while a bit disappointed inside I was all outwardly very proud and all smiles.

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  1. Coach Brad

    That’s too bad coach. But it sounds like your kids played their hearts out and that’s all we can really ask.

    Is that it for your season? A real shame to go 8-0 and have your season end in a tight game to another powerful team. But I guess that’s the beauty of this game.

  2. Coach D

    Great year coach. 2 undefeated teams, 1 has to go home unfortunetly. But that loss doesn’t mean that those boys aren’t champions, them not giving up was winning and showed what type of boys they are! So congrats on a successful year.

    I started running your system last year and scored alot of points but came up short with a 3-5 record and this year the boys really understood the defense and the system and now this group is in the playoffs for the 1st time this Sunday with a 5-3 record and 2 of the 3 losses came within a touchdown on last plays. So thanks for all your help!

  3. davecisar


    The kids bounced back pretty well in practice on Tuesday. I’m very encouraging and upbeat in defeats, a lot more picky and critical in wins.

    We expect to pick up a couple of extra games as long as the weather cooperates and we can find opponents to play.

  4. Mark

    Coach Dave,

    Sorry to hear about the tough loss. Losing is never easy to take and I totally respect the approach you take with the kids. I know how tough it can be to put on a smiley face when you are hurting inside. They will remember this and it will build character.

    Thanks for taking the time to share your highs and lows with us. For first year coaches using your system like myself, it’s very helpful to hear your challenges and successes. I constantly refer to your material to continually improve our team.

    A few questions about the “man child”. What position(s) did he play on defense? Looking back, do you think that you could have done something to mitigate him more? What advice would you give to your followers who might hit a similar situation?

    Best of luck the rest of the way!

  5. Dave Cisar


    On offense he played weakside LB and we handled him pretty well. We scored 4 touchdowns and had 5 turnoverss, they only really stopped us on 1 drive. Had we protected better we would have won the game. The only adjustment we made was we alternated a couple of different players at Right Tight End and since they were playing 4 down linemen inside our LTE- Power Tackle- we were able to have the RIght Tight End come down and seal him off on Powers and Sweeps Away. We did a couple of other things I’m not willing to share, but the RTE was about 90% of it.
    On defense we ran more Monster, Monster Mirror, Monster Stack and Squeeze. When we went to Monster Mirror Stack we had a lot of success against him, but that was after we had already given up 3 scores.

  6. Coach D

    We lost our playoff game yesterday to an undefeated team or Kid similar to the kid you described in similar fashion. He scored five td’s. We ran tons of monster, monster mirror, monster stack as well and could not stop this freakish athlete until late 3rd qtr. We kept the score close but did not have an answer for this kid who played on th 8th grade squad last year as a 7th grader and had 29 td’s. He was a man anong boys to us but our boys kept fighting and never gave up! I was so proud of them despite the lost! Parents were excited to see them not quit as most the other teams who played them did. They are ranked 15 in the nation under AYF and we played them extremely well again thanks for all your material Dave and good luck next season!


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