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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Storm Lake, SC seeking first victory

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Alta, Aurelia, Newell-Fonda and Laurens-Marathon all tasted district victories last week.

Storm Lake, Sioux Central and Schaller-Crestland were not so fortunate.

Week 4 is about keeping pace in district title races at an early stage of the season - or just plain picking up a victory - depending on each school's plight.

* Storm Lake (0-3) at Le Mars (0-3)

Consistency is still the buzzword around Tornado football circles.

"This week we're working on trying to become more consistent," said Storm Lake coach Bill McCabe. "We're working on what we have to do rather than Le Mars."

On that note, practices have been going well, said McCabe. The team played injury-free against Denison-Schleswig last Friday and will have Chom Thammavongsa back at his usual running back position - at least in spread formations - to complement the ace formation attack of Ben Seaman, whom McCabe considers more of a downhill runner.

The Tornadoes, still seeking their first win, will tackle a Le Mars squad that's probably better than its 0-3 record indicates. The Bulldogs, a state semifinalist a year ago, lost to Crestwood, 15-12, in Week 1, then suffered a pair of 35-point setbacks to 2A No. 1-ranked Central Lyon-GLR and 3A No. 5 Bishop Heelan.

Le Mars has only four returning starters but "it's not like they don't have experience coming back," McCabe said. "A lot of them played last year."

The Bulldogs, similar to SL, have a tendency to play well at times, then suddenly give up a big play.

McCabe expects them to run the Double Wing offense.

"We know what they'll do, we just have to stop them," McCabe said. "They have good athletes. They've passed more this year than in the past, but they've been behind. They're not overly big, but they're quick off the ball. Their running backs run well under different formations, but they still make you defend the whole field."

Defensively, Storm Lake will need to limit big plays.

"Eighty percent of (Denison-Shleswig's offense last week) came on five plays," he said. "Offensively, we have to get our right assignments and do the little things that help us be consistent. It's more mental mistakes than physical.

"Plus, we need to become more aggressive."

* Alta (1-2) at Odebolt-Arthur (2-1)

For the second straight week, Alta is more or less looking in a mirror when it eyes its opponent.

Last week, the Cyclones were playing a Clay Central-Everly squad that had played the same two state-ranked opponents and suffered similar losses as them.

Now they're playing an Odebolt-Arthur team that runs a similar offense in the Double Wing.

"I've been to some Double Wing clinics with (Trojans coach Larry Allen)," said Cyclones coach Kevin Hammer. "It's kind of like going against your own practice squad. It'll be like looking in a mirror. It should be easy preparation for both teams."

This is a battle of unbeaten (1-0) Class A District 3 teams.

The Trojans lost to West Bend-Mallard 20-7, then beat Graettinger-Terril 40-0 before last week's district-opening 24-6 win over Rockwell City-Lytton.

"They have good running backs. Fullback Colby Hemer is a good strong runner, they run a lot of traps with him. His Brother Jeremy is the quarterback and they've been running him quite a bit. He's also a very good thrower," Hammer said. "They're fairly balanced but they're not afraid of putting the ball in the air, and they're pretty effective doing it."

Hammer calls 0-A a fundamentally sound team that doesn't make a lot of mistakes. They'll likely play a 4-4 defense, with a five-man front mixed in occasionally.

"We'll prepare for both," he said. "This will be a good district test: our first district game on the road, at a place where football is traditionally rich."

The Cyclones got a morale boost after last week's win over CC-E.

"It gets your kids excited. The confidence level is up," said Hammer. "We had a real good practice (Monday)."

One key to last week's victory was Alta's offensive line, which blocked better in passing situations, allowing quarterback Aaron Hansen to have his best game in the pocket yet with two touchdown passes.

"It's something we have to look at again," said Hammer. "They're gonna load up the box, put nine guys in there, so we have to be able to spread it out. But we're not going to try to fool anybody. We're going to run the football first and foremost, and then open it up from there."

* Newell-Fonda (2-1) vs. Rockwell City-Lytton (0-3)

On paper, this is an easy homecoming win for the royal blue and silver.

Mustangs coach Brian Wilken isn't buying it - just look what happened in Ames last weekend.

"Not only do we have a ton of injuries," said Wilken, "we also have homecoming distractions, too. We haven't been consistent. We haven't been disciplined defensively. You give up plays when you're undisciplined.

"We haven't done a good job of protecting the football, and that's scary."

Wilken said Newell-Fonda will be without "a couple starters on the offensive line" but declined to mention names.

"We don't make a big deal about that around here," he said. "It's next man in around here. We're never going to use the injury factor as an excuse."

RC-L wants to run the ball first and foremost. The Wildcats lost 46-14 to SCMT, a team N-F nipped in the closing minutes of Week 2. Both teams lost to Belmond Klemme, RC-L by 26 points and N-F by 20.

"This is a different team than we've faced," Wilken said. "They've been able to run the football on everyone they've played. Our three previous opponents have spread us out, but that's not the case. They're going to line up and come right at us.

"With their fullback, tailback and wingback, they have three weapons that at some point have found the end zone at numerous times. We're not going to be able to load up and try to stop one when they've got three.

"Their quarterback has been able to run the ball at times, too."

Wilken doesn't anticipate making a lot of defensive adjustments.

"We are who we are," he said. "The things we're doing, we just have to do better. We have to be more assignment-oriented, more disciplined, doing it harder, better and faster than the other team.

"I think in district football you can throw records right out the window. They mean nothing to me. Every week's a new week."

* Aurelia (2-1) vs. Spalding Catholic (1-2)

Granville Spalding is no longer just a baseball school.

That is the message Aurelia coach Myron Radke is trying to convey to his team this week.

"They're trying to build a program, and it looks like it's gotten built," Radke said. "Baseball players are good athletes. (In football) they used to get beat up all the time, and now they've grown up. They're juniors and seniors instead of sophomores and freshmen.

"It's their turn, and they're going to be really hungry."

Spalding hasn't played an 8-man District 3 game yet while Aurelia is 1-0 after knocking off Remsen-Union last Friday.

"They'll be a lot more physical than they used to be," said Radke. "They're fundamentally sound, strong and well-conditioned. They're going to try to run it right at us, and about the time we get to falling asleep, they'll sneak some out in the flat.

"They'll run a chair and go deep."

Spalding has a good-sized fullback, a quick tailback and a smart quarterback, Radke says. "He can read things and take a look at things. They'll be balanced, I'm afraid. They can run about anyone they want and have success with it."

Radke says Aurelia will try to establish its running game primarily.

"Once we looked at the tape, we weren't that happy with out blocking last week," he said. "We're going to work on being more consistent in our blocking, covering up, no blitzes, changing our assignments versus blitzes.

"Defensively we're just going to try to keep the ball and the running back in front of us. We'll probably play a lot of zone."

* Schaller-Crestland (1-2) at Laurens-Marathon (2-1)

At the top of Schaller-Crestland's to-do list is stopping Chargers tailback Keton Joynt.

Or at least, as the old SportsCenter quip goes, containing him.

"Keton Joynt is a workhorse. He has speed and can run you over," said S-C coach Mike Tiedeman. "That's a deadly combo. If he bounces to the outside, he's tough to catch.

"As a punt returner, he's taken a couple back for touchdowns. He's the playmaker and they're gonna get him the ball. With his balance of power and speed, that's a coach's dream."

This game will feature a pair of spread offenses that can give defenses fits.

L-M's overall speed and the athleticism of their specialty position players concerns Tiedeman. The Chargers have a first-year quarterback in Ryan Lovin.

"They have athletic receivers. They're a balanced team," Tiedeman said. "They like to spread teams out a lot, like we do, but they use more misdirection than we do. We have to do our assignments. We need to stop the run first and be ready for the pass. When the bullets are flying, sometimes things are forgot; we have to try to put it in muscle memory and keep stressing to do your assignment. They're going to spread us out.

"It's not a conventional thing like with Newell-Fonda we knew they were going to run."

The Wildcats will look to get running back Justin Ronk a lot of touches, and the game's outcome will center around the performance of the Wildcats' offensive line, says Tiedeman.

S-C gained some confidence from last week's loss to Newell-Fonda in which they led until the Mustangs scored with just 47 seconds left, but they're not taking a moral victory.

"We let up a little, and now we have to go out and finish games," Tiedeman said. "We watched film and we did some good things ,but we also showed some things we need to improve upon. You can learn a lot more from a mistake than from doing something well. We didn't play a perfect game, and we have room for improvement.

"If we plateaued, it would be tougher to take."

* Sioux Central (0-3) vs. Akron-Westfield (1-2)

Rebels coach Jeff Tiefenthaler would like nothing more than to get in the win column this Friday.

It is Sioux Central's homecoming, after all. It's also their first home game - the Rebels' schedule calls for three straight road dates to open up the year.

The Rebels are playing an Akron-Westfield team that beat Elk Point-Jefferson (S.D.) 20-7 in Week 1, then lost to Dakota Valley (S.D.) 13-12 and to Battle Creek-Ida Grove 18-7.

"Akron has a good senior quarterback who can run and throw. They run out of many different spread formations and he will run from any of them," said Tiefenthaler. "They also have some good receivers so it will make it tough for us Friday night."

SC will need to pressure A-W's signal caller and keep him bottled up inside if they're going to have any success at all.

"It is our homecoming and our first home game of the season and so hopefully that will inspire us to play a good football game," the coach said. "Our trouble has come form the running game. We simply have not yet been able to establish a running game and teams have been taking advantage of that and not respecting it at all, so they've been putting a lot of pressure on (Rebels QB Colin Hogrefe) when he throws."

Hogrefe is 30 of 57 passing for 260 yards. Fourteen of those passes went to all-state wideout Trevor Tiefenthaler for 151 yards. Tiefenthaler has seen his fair share of double coverage already this season.

"We may look to show a few different things offensively this Friday to try and develop a running game," coach Tiefenthaler said. "Defensively we'll need to cover their wide receivers and contain their quarterback."

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