Mustangs face quick option attack in RV-C
The Newell-Fonda football team is being thrown into the District 2A fire early.
N-F opens the season Friday night on the road at district contender River Valley-Correctionville. It'll be a stern test right off the bat, according to coach Brian Wilken.
"This is essentially a playoff game, like all district games are," Wilken said. "We have eight district games this season and we want to play well in every one."
N-F is coming off a 6-2 district season last year and finished 6-3 overall. In the 2002 team's three losses, Wilken deemed that his team wasn't physical enough.
"We've got to outblock and out-tackle teams, especially since most teams will be bigger than us," he said. "In our three losses last year, we weren't tough or physical enough."
Still, Wilken's biggest concern with River Valley-Correctionville is stopping talented and speedy option quarterback Brock Jensen, a senior and two-year starter. N-F narrowly prevailed over RV-C last season, but Wilken says Friday night's opponent has lots of offensive weapons.
"Our district is blessed with four or five outstanding quarterbacks, and Jensen is one of those," he said. "He's very quick on the option and they have several other kids who are just as quick.
"Our job defensively will be to contain Jensen on the inside and try to keep the ball out of his hands. He can make some big plays on the sprint-out or bootleg, and if our kids blow assignments defending the option, it's going to result in touchdowns. It's assignment football."
Offensively, Newell-Fonda has some weapons of its own, including experienced senior quarterback Matt Stauter, tailback Jared Neppl, fullback Jake Schnell and slotbacks Shane Hammen and Andrew Podraza.
"Offensively, our key is to block well at the line of scrimmage. Also, execution will be a key for us on offense. In a district game like Friday's, there's no room for error."