The Newell-Fonda High football team will get its toughest district test to date on its home field Friday night against Laurens-Marathon.
It will be a classic matchup between a physical Newell-Fonda team and Laurens-Marathon, which relies on speed at all positions.
"There's no question that Laurens-Marathon is an outstanding football team, and probably the quickest and most dangerous team we'll face," N-F coach Brian Wilken said.
The Mustangs, currently ranked fourth in the Radio Iowa poll, enter the game 2-0 in district play and 4-0 overall. Their two district wins were a 35-7 win over Schaller-Crestland and a 49-0 shutout of Rockwell City-Lytton.
"We have been making small strides with each game," Wilken said Tuesday afternoon. "But we'll have to play our best game of the season Friday if we want to stay undefeated in district play."
The Chargers started the season on a tough note, losing their opener 43-0 to Northwood-Kensett. Since then, they've reeled off three straight wins, including a non-district, 39-0 win over North Central-Manly, a district opening win over Southeast Webster (30-0), and a 44-27 win over Schaller-Crestland last week.
Wilken and his Mustangs are wary of Laurens-Marathon's speed at the skilled positions, in both lines, and with L-M coach Mike Ehn using multiple offensive sets.
"They are playing with a lot of confidence at this point," Wilken said. "Our key will be playing assignment football and not letting them hurt us with the big play."
On offense, Wilken says he wants to establish the run, then mix in the pass when L-M defenders least expect it.
"We want to control things up front offensively and dominate time of possession," Wilken said. "The best defense against Laurens-Marathon will be our offense keeping the ball away from theirs."
The Chargers have a three-year starter in senior quarterback David Brechler.
"He's very quick, has a ton of experience and makes good decisions," Wilken said. "He has a lot of different and dangerous wide receivers he can go to."
The Chargers' rushing attack is led by Keton Joynt, a state meet qualifier in the 100 meter dash last spring.
"Joynt has great speed, but he's also a hard-nosed kid who isn't afraid to hit hard and break tackles," Wilken said.
Game time in Newell Friday is 7:30 p.m.