ALTA - Two teams who will try to do the same thing to each other meet Friday night in Alta.
Schaller-Crestland and Alta will both not only want to, but need to, run the football in order to win the final game of the season. Both teams are in the top half of the district in rushing offense.
"They're the leading team in our district as far as rushing goes," Alta coach Kevin Hammer said. "They have two good running backs in (Matt) Reimers and (Kelly) Rydberg. They present a lot of problems defensively as far as stopping the run. That's what we're gearing up for this week in practice. You've got to get eight, nine guys in the box and sell out for the run and make them throw the football."
Schaller-Crestland coach Dale Tokheim assessed Alta's offense.
"They're a run-oriented team and they run the double wing," he said. "We're going to try and stop their run. (Halfback Jon) Nielsen is a very good player. We're going to know where he's at on the field."
Tokheim has an idea on how to contain Alta's running game.
"We're going to run a 6-2 with eight guys in the box and our corners are going to come up to give run support, so there will be 8-9 guys in the box," Tokheim said. "We're hoping that our defensive line can plug the holes and not get knocked off the ball. We want to plug the holes and take away the off-tackle play."
Hammer offered some keys.
"We have the No. 1 back in the district for them to defend and we're one of the top three teams in the district in rushing," he said. "The team that has the most success on first downs is going to have a real good opportunity to win the football game. The team that takes away the big plays will have an opportunity to win also. Big plays have hurt both teams. They're a very dangerous team, they have a strong defense, and they hit hard. It's going to be a very good contest for us."
Offensively, the Wildcats want to keep the Cyclones guessing on defense.
"We just want to keep people off-balance by mixing Reimers and Rydberg," Tokheim said. "We try to keep people guessing whether we're going inside or outside. I expect them to have 9-10 guys in the box. If they do that, we should be able to pass a little bit as long as our line gives us time."
Tokheim talked about the important factors to win.
"I think we need to execute our offense and keep the ball out of Alta's and Nielsen's hands," he said. "He can break a long run on any play. We also need to tackle. That's killed us a couple of times on big plays. And also, in high school football, field position will be a big part, too."