Alta couldn't have picked a better season-opening game for grid fans, although it remains to be seen if the Cyclones are able to put a mark in the "W" column.
Alta, coming off a 6-3 season and a 5-2 record in Class 1A, District 2, opens Friday against a solid Class 2A team in Battle Creek-Ida Grove. The game will be played in Ida Grove starting at 7:30 p.m.
"Our first two games are both non-district, but both are against 2A teams," Cyclone coach Kevin Hammer said Wednesday morning. "Playing the tough competition will only help us when we start district games."
Hammer says his team will try to establish the run first, something that is easier said than done against BC-IG.
"They have good size in both lines, and some talented athletes on both sides of the ball," he said.
The Cyclones do have some talent returning in the offensive line, including all-stater T.J. Aube, all-district selection Dan Sievers and center Russell Hinkeldey. In the backfield, the Cyclones will be led by senior quarterback Brad Payne, who completed 33 of 68 passes last year for 44 yards.
"We want to be able to run the football first," Hammer said. "But we want to pass the ball as well. We hope to have more balance in our offense this fall than we did last year."
BC-IG is led by returning starting quarterback Eric Hansen and tight end Casey Harriman. A 6-5, 210 pound senior, Harriman was an all-state pick last season.
"Our game plan is to force them out of their running game and make them pass because they have to," Hammer said. "Hansen is a good runner and passer, and we'll have to contain him as well as Harriman. We want to avoid giving up big plays."
Hammer is a bit concerned about inexperience at some positions. He'll start four sophomores and one freshman Friday night.
"Hopefully, those kids will adjust quickly to football at the varsity level," Hammer said. It's going to be a real test for us." He also talked about keys for his team.
"We want to eliminate as many mistakes as we can and we can't afford turnovers," Hammer said. "Whichever team makes the fewest mistakes and turnovers will have the advantage."