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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

N-F ready for tough test

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Now is not the time for his team to let down, according to Newell-Fonda football coach Brian Wilken.

And the potential would be there for that after the Mustangs' 20-0 win in Early last Friday night over Schaller-Crestland. That was a battle of state-ranked teams, as Newell-Fonda was ranked sixth in Class A and Schaller-Crestland ninth.

"We can't afford to let down at this point," Wilken said. "It's just the opposite. We have to play harder and more physical as the season goes on."

Speaking of physical, that's the way Wilken describes the Mustangs' opponent this week. N-F plays host to 2-4 Hinton Friday night in Newell.

Hinton made the state playoffs last year, but lost some of its top players to graduatiion.

"But they have a tradition with their program and are very well-coached," Wilken said. "Hinton teams are known for having very tough kids and they'll come right at you and hit you. We have to match them physically and we have to be ready to play."

Hinton, Wilken said, has won two of it's last three games, including wins over Remsen-Union and River Valley-Correctionville.

"They're a young team, but they've been coming on of late," added Wilken. "They're starting to get the right kids in the right places."

Nevertheless, there's not much doubt the Mustangs will be favored.

The Mustangs enter the game at 6-0 overall and 4-0 in district play. They're outscoring their opponents by an average of 33.8-6.8.

The N-F offense has been balanced in putting up all those points. It's averaging 248 yards rushing per game and 101 per game passing.

Senior quarterback Matt Stauter has hit on 43 of 70 passes for 604 yards and eight touchdowns. The Mustangs leading rusher, tailback Jared Neppl, has rushed for 605 yards on 118 carries, an average of over five yards per carry.

Not many teams - including high-powered Schaller Crestland - have been able to move the ball against Newell-Fonda. The Mustangs are giving up just 94 rushing yards per game and 55 passing.

Still, Hinton does present some problems to other teams, according to Wilken.

For it's first five games, Hinton was missing junior running back/linebacker Kurt Hoefling. He was a starter on both offense and defense last year as a sophomore and one of the better young players in the district.

Hoefling rushed for 198 yards last week in Hinton's win over Remsen-Union and was a boon on defense for his team at linebacker.

"A key for us will be to contain Hoefling on offense," Wilken said. "And they like to do a lot of stunting with their linebackers on defense."

If they blitz a lot, we want to make them pay for it."

Gametime Friday in Newell is 7:30 p.m.

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