When it rains, it pours. At least in Tornado football country it seems that way. In the midst of a five game losing streak, Storm Lake (1-5) will play host to the #1 team in the state this Friday as they take on Sioux City Bishop Heelan (6-0).
The Crusaders were state runners-up last fall and seem the odds on favorite to claim the title this year. Bishop Heelan is second in class 3A in points scored, third in points allowed, first in total offense, and first in rushing yards behind prep star running back Brandon Wegher.
The senior is regarded by many as the top prospect in Iowa and has already committed to play for the Hawkeyes next fall.
Wegher has averaged over nine yards a carry en route to his 1386 rushing yards and 23TDs. Last week against Spencer, the #2 team in the district, Wegher ran for 192 of Heelans' 312 yards and five touchdowns in a 52-13 shelling.
"He's a great running back with great speed," said Storm Lake head coach Bill McCabe. "He's got great cut-back ability and great vision. He sees the hole and hits it. Every game, he gets his yards and his touchdowns. We're just trying to be in the right positions as often as possible. You just have to try to contain him as much as possible."
While dominant on the ground, the Crusaders are far from one-dimensional as junior quarterback Zach McCabe has thrown for 555 yards and is receiving plenty of D1 attention in both football and basketball.
"Their offensive line is good, and he (Zach McCabe) is good," said Coach McCabe. "Their line is very athletic and fast. They spread you out defensively. Most of thier sets they're in,they have four receivers. So, you know you have to honor that, and that just spreads you out more which allows Wegher to use his skills. He's probably the fastest kid in Iowa. It's a tough task."
If there was a time for Storm Lake to cure it's turnover and red zone woes it would be this week's game which also happens to be parents' night.
Despite being first in the district in passing yards and fourth in total offense, the Tornadoes are sixth in points scored with 71 on the season.
The offense has shown all season that they are more than capable of moving the ball.
Bobby Brown is second in class 3A with his 1044 passing yards. Tony Pertzborn and Courtney Goodchild are eighth and ninth in receiving yard at 379 and 373 yards respectively. Michael Ivey has been a solid third option with 181 yards. Bishop Heelan prides themselves on stopping the run which may open up the passing lanes for Storm Lake.
"It should help us a little," said McCabe. "Thier main objective is always to stop the run. They have a lot of good athletes there, including Wegher at safety and corner. A lot of their talented kids on the O-line are on the D-line as well. In the games we've watched, they can put pressure on your quarterback really quick. They will probably come after us and blitz a lot. They are just an all-around good team. We just have to try to execute to the best of our ability."
The Tornadoes have also found moderate success on the ground as Ben Seaman has churned out 289 yards and two TDs thus far.
Even with the chips stacked against them, Coach McCabe and the Tornadoes are excited for the opportunity to face a team the quality of Bishop Heelan.
"We're taking it as a challenge," said McCabe. "It's not often you get to play the number one team in the state with the best football player in the state of Iowa. All you can do is go out there and do your best."
The Tornadoes and Crusaders are set to kickoff at 7:30 Friday night.