Week one of the high school football season is in the books and our area teams went 4-1 on Thursday and Friday nights. Granted, the one loss came as two area schools played one another, but a solid opening weekend for the five schools.
Storm Lake’s defense was unbelievable against Cherokee in the Battle Axe contest. The run and pass defense locked down the Braves throughout the night, and it might have been one of the best defensive displays since I began at the Pilot Tribune. The Tornado run defense held their rivals to a net -8 yards rushing.
I think more Storm Lake players were in the backfield than the Braves for a majority of the evening. The pass defense locked down the Cherokee aerial assault with most of the yards coming on middle screen plays. Just a great display of lockdown defense through four quarters, never letting up the entire night. The Tornado defense should feel happy with their performance in all facets of the game.
The offense ran the ball extremely well and most of the losses came off of broken plays or a couple of sacks. Quarterback Kevin Duque looked confident under center. A few passes were mistimed but that will come with more reps as everyone gets comfortable.
Based on week one, the pieces look to be there for Storm Lake to make another run at the playoffs. If the offense line comes together a bit more, this is going to be one tough team to beat for the next eight weeks.
Speaking of tough run games, Sioux Central’s rushing attack was unstoppable on Thursday night. It was an impressive display of a fast paced power run attack from the Rebels, and I never felt like Manson had a chance to get in to the Ag Bowl game. From the start, Sioux Central put their stamp on the game, and if not for a couple of turnovers, the margin of victory could have been wider.
Three lost fumbles were really the only black mark on Sioux Central’s night. The defense played really well, allowing only 95 yards on the ground and 55 more through the air.
Rebel junior Ben Hargens looked like a Mack truck against the Cougars, bowling them over for extra yards. Jake Hanson and Jacob Gasperi both brought the outside run element to keep the defense from keying on the middle runs.
Just a really fine game to watch if you love a strong rushing attack and good defense. Reminds one of the old days before the spread offense becoming prevalent.
One team that switched from the spread to a wing-T game, the Ridge View Raptors, also ran the ball extremely well with multiple ball carriers toting the rock. Special teams were also huge for the Raptors, gaining over 150 yards in that phase of the game. People preach special teams and Ridge View showcased why they do.
They also used a few big plays to get past Alta-Aurelia. I wasn’t able to see the game myself, but caught some of it on the radio, and it sounded like big plays made the difference with plays over 20-60 yards helping Ridge View take that game.
It’s only week one so there is time for Alta-Aurelia to rebound from this one. They’re a younger team this season with just a handful of seniors to help lead the way. They were able to grow as the season went along last year, and they might be able to get better as the season rolls along.
Newell-Fonda rebounded from a 2016 season opening loss against Coon Rapids-Bayard with a big win against them to open this year. The defense played well outside of a few big passing gains, but managed to get five turnovers in the process.
Creating chances off of turnovers is the mark of good teams. Storm Lake turned the Cherokee turnovers into points, Ridge View turned the Alta-Aurelia turnover into points and Newell-Fonda did the same on Friday night.
Plus their run game really seemed to get going with three players having over 50 yards and a touchdown. It’s hard to argue against a great ground game leading a team, and Newell-Fonda did just that. With three players running the ball, it’ll be hard for opposing defense to key on who is going to be the man.
With three winning teams scoring 49 points in their wins, how often does that happen? I thought it was a bit nifty to see that happen on Friday night.
Week two should be quite interesting as we’re on to the second non-district game of the season before district play begins. Storm Lake hosts Pocahontas Area, Alta-Aurelia travels to Sioux Central, Newell-Fonda hosts Glidden-Ralston on their new field and Ridge View goes to OA-BCIG. Looks like we’ll have to wait for week three before we get our 5-0 Friday night.