Creeper Van Originals: Toledo Whitmer vs. A.B. Lucas Secondary School

Submitted by Ace on September 5th, 2011 at 1:26 PM

The Creeper Van made its way to Toledo last Friday to check out defensive end commit Chris Wormley as his Toledo Whitmer Panthers took on A.B. Lucas Secondary School. Things I learned about A.B. Lucas: It's located in London, Ontario, Canada, their players are used to CFL rules (i.e. having one of their wideouts run full speed at the line of scrimmage before the snap), and they were terribly undersized and overmatched against a Whitmer squad with a solid amount of Division-I talent on the roster.

Things I learned about Chris Wormley? We'll get to those later, after you see highlights of Chris from the first half of play—plus a post-game interview—before the cupcake-stomping got so out of hand that Whitmer practically had to trot out their JV team in order to not pull a Bret Bielema (Final score: 41-0, with all but six of the points coming in the first half, I believe):

In case you missed it, because I realized the stat line went by rather quickly once I'd already uploaded the video to YouTube, by my count Wormley recorded three tackles, two TFLs, two QB hurries, and one sack in a little less than one half of play. He also had one tackle for loss called back on an offensive holding penalty (it's still in the video, as it was all the more impressive since Wormley was the holdee), and the officials let a fair amount of holding go, which was frankly for the best in this game.

Scouting Report: Take this all with a rather large grain of salt, as Wormley faced off against 180-pound Canadian linemen who seemed like polite young men but also not very good at football. The biggest question about Wormley, at least put forth by most of the recruiting services, is whether or not he has a good motor. For the most part, Wormley was in attack mode on every play, and he showed a really nice initial burst off the snap, which enabled him to choose between bull-rushing Terrance and Phillip and simply speed-rushing around the end.

Either way, it usually worked, though there were a couple plays where Wormley got stood up by a double-team on pass plays and didn't do a whole lot to break through—part of this can be chalked up to fatigue (it was 95 degrees at kickoff and Whitmer plays on fieldturf), part potential boredom, and part the fact that one can't expect a defensive lineman on a three-man line to break into the backfield on every play, tiny O-lineman or not.

Wormley's pass rushing ability was on display, as he made his way into the Lucas backfield seemingly whenever he wanted to. He didn't show a wide array of moves off the line, but he didn't really have to—his sack came when nobody decided to block him, and he was able to generate pressure by either engaging with the tackle and shoving him aside or simply running around the edge. He didn't show elite speed off the corner—I thought Mario Ojemudia was more impressive in this regard, although he's a much smaller DE—but his size and strength were a real asset both against the pass and the run.

Speaking of run defense, I really liked Wormley in his limited chances here. On two separate occasions, Lucas decided—for some unbeknownst reason—to run toss sweeps to Wormley's side of the field. Both times, Wormley knocked his blocker into the backfield, shed the block, and chased down the running back in the backfield—probably his two most impressive plays on the evening. When Lucas ran up the middle, at the very least Wormley held his ground, and despite facing double teams he was usually able to cave in the hole and force the play into one of his teammates. He also tracked down a running play eight yards downfield, sticking with the play and closing the gap quickly once he located the ball.

In the end, what stood out to me the most was Wormley's impressive size. Even when he took off his pads near the end of the first half, he was easily the most noticeable player on Whitmer's sideline, and it looks like he's added a decent amount of good weight since last year. At 6'5", he appears to weigh in the neighborhood of 270 pounds, and he's not carrying any unnecessary pounds. He reminds me of a younger Ryan Van Bergen, and like RVB he should be able to play either strongside DE or three-tech DT at the next level, and I believe he can come in right away and compete for playing time (especially with the lack of depth at both those positions).

Listen to me stammer on live radio: Mason Lowry of WRSC Radio, which broadcasts every Whitmer game live (as well as Sylvania Southview, home of Allen Gant), was kind enough to have me on air at halftime and asked a few questions about Wormley, Whitmer grad Kevin Koger, and also Michigan. Here's the audio:

Did I really say I was torn between 9-3 and 8-4 on air? I guess so, and now I guess I'm sticking with it. Thanks to Mason for having me on, especially since he also took the time before the game to tell me everything I needed to know about Whitmer (much of which I promptly forgot, hence identifying all non-Wormley players by their uniform number).

Photos: Thanks once again to Eric for accompanying me and taking a great set of photos:

Next Week: The van heads back to Toledo to watch Allen Gant's Sylvania Southview squad hit the road against Toledo Start.

Previously: Week 1 — Farmington Hills Harrison (Devin Funchess, Mario Ojemudia) vs. Cass Tech (Royce Jenkins-Stone, Terry Richardson)

If you have any suggestions to help improve future Creeper Van Originals, please leave them in the comments or email me.

Comments

Eric

September 5th, 2011 at 1:46 PM ^

That one was my fault., The field was the only place that had "decent" lighting.  The problem was that the music was ridiculously loud. I probably should have went with the bad lighting. Oh well, There will be other opportunities I'm sure. Maybe Ace can write out the transcript if he has time.

Thanks for pointing that out though.

quiggz

September 5th, 2011 at 2:05 PM ^

In defense of my hometown London :P A.B. Lucas is and has been one of the worst teams in the city for the last decade, even when I played in '03. Have them take on one of the Catholic schools it might be a closer slaughter. *My HS's QB signed a LOI for arkansas after last season*

clarkiefromcanada

September 5th, 2011 at 3:53 PM ^

I am not from London but I am aware that Lucas is not in the top 50 teams in Ontario in 2010 so not exactly representative of the local talent level. I would concur that London Catholic Central would have given them a much better game.

Personally, I'd like to see them take on Sault Ste. Marie Superior (just to have to make that drive, to start with) but also as that is a very well coached Canadian high school program with quality athletes.

ForestCityBlue

September 5th, 2011 at 6:24 PM ^

I am from London (hence Forest City Blue), and Lucas is an "academic" school, that is parents of smart kids move into the neighbourhood.  It services all the expensive to live in parts of the city and most of the kids are children of academics, lawyers, doctors, and the like.  If they wanted to play a decent football team (and this is not to say that they would have won), they should have played last year's city champ, Catholic Central.  At least there might have been a chance for a competitive game.  It would be fun for some Great Lakes area schools to do home and home series, one played with American rules and one played with Canadian rules (wider field, three downs, larger ball and the running recievers as the most notable differences.  Plus it would be nice to see some top talent play here as well.

STA

September 12th, 2011 at 12:36 AM ^

Where do you get your info from? Lucas in 03 won the city championship and went to the city championship for the next 4 years. If you actually knew what you were talking about you would know Lucas has the best overall record in the city for the past 10 years.  Yes the past 2 years have been a struggle but they are still a legitimate contender. Even in 08 when there streak of 5 straight championship games ended they were 7 - 0 when they were upset by MTS in the semi-final.

Whats amiss is your old school had possibly the best ever player to come out of London and yet they did not win a championship with him.

Erik_in_Dayton

September 5th, 2011 at 2:10 PM ^

Wormely always seems like a really impressive kid.  I think you might be on to something when you mention boredom with him.  I've also wondered if a guy who is that physically gifted starts to drift mentally sometimes when he's playing inferior competition.

That van makes me laugh every time. 

beangoblue

September 5th, 2011 at 2:37 PM ^

...get the audio interview and photos in a mobile-friendly format for the future? I'm using the MGoApp (iPhone) and can't see either. The first video comes in fine.
<br>
<br>Thanks and keep up the good work guys!

bryemye

September 5th, 2011 at 3:05 PM ^

I never want to see "pulling a Bielema" on this blog again. My soul feels like it just got hit with a bowling ball and then lit on fire.

Other than that good work.

Mengin06

September 5th, 2011 at 3:14 PM ^

look like a man-child out there on the field. He's a beast. He almost looked a little awkward in the 3-point stance with his height, but that may have just been because of the relative lack of size of the guys around him.

Sgt. Wolverine

September 5th, 2011 at 4:02 PM ^

there are nice photos in the set, but the sheer quantity overwhelms the quality. Might be worth cutting it down to a smaller set of the best of the best photos next time. Maybe a third of the photos you posted? No more than half, for sure. Less duplication would make the photo set better: only a couple pregame photos of him looking intimidating, rather than the numerous such photos. They get repetitive.

I don't know how to convey a pleasant, positive tone when writing things like that on the internet. I always feel like I'm being a jerk when I post suggestions like that. I'm really truly trying to be helpful, and since photography is what I do for a living, that's pretty much the only place I have a chance of being helpful.

Eric

September 5th, 2011 at 6:51 PM ^

Thanks for the input. Honestly, I wanted to go back and cut it down, but due to being at the game on Saturday and family obligations on Sunday and Monday, I never got around to it. Like I said before, I'm an enthusiast and I'm always open to suggestions. You're not being a jerk at all. There will be less photos next time.  Go Blue!!!l

Randy

September 6th, 2011 at 10:32 AM ^

Allen Gant left Friday's game with an ankle injury.  I haven't heard how it's doing, but you might want to check to see if he's playing before heading down to the game.  With the opponent being 0-2, they might decide to rest him if he's hurt.