The first week of prep football is in the record books. Our five area teams went 2-3 on Friday night. There were plenty of lessons to be learned from the first week of football. After going through the statistics and other game notes, this is what we learned from the first week.
Storm Lake, if they can keep their offense balanced like this, will be a tough out for anyone on the season. The Tornadoes ripped through Cherokee on Friday night showing a great balance of the run and pass game. The Storm Lake rushing attack wasn't just on one player either. Three Tornadoes had over 40 yards on the ground and a score.
Senior quarterback Michael Demers led a nice aerial assault to balance the ground attack. The defense of the Tornadoes shut down the Cherokee run game, limiting the Braves to 34 yards on 26 carries. Even jumping out to the earlier 26-8 advantage, the Tornadoes were able to limit what they gave up on the ground. Despite giving up over 200 yards through the air, Storm Lake forced Cherokee to complete less than 50% of their passes, and managed to pick one off.
If this opening contest is any indication, the Tornadoes might be in store for a good season.
Alta-Aurelia has a really dynamic rushing attack to lead their offense. Junior running back Kaleb Sleezer was slippery against Ridge View on Friday night, and managed to rip off a giant run in the first quarter along with his huge 84 yard punt return for a score. Sophomore Nick Gaes brings the thunder to the running game, earning those tough yards up the middle.
Senior QB Skylar Solko did enough to ensure Ridge View did not sell out against the run, throwing for two scores. However, the Warrior defense had a hard time containing Ridge View quarterback senior Tyler Wingert.
Wingert was a true duel threat for the Raptors passing for 157 yards and running for 98 more to go along with two passing scores. Wingert would've had more yards on the ground, but a holding call brought back a long touchdown scamper. Both Alta-Aurelia and Ridge View showed a lot of moxie on Friday night in a very well contested game.
If these two squads play up to their potential, there is no reason why they cannot be in the playoff hunt this season.
Newell-Fonda needs to remember that an opening night loss is not the end of the season. Two seasons ago, the Mustangs opened up their season with an 0-3 record before reeling off to a state championship. It's never about how you begin the season, it's how you play through a rough start to end it.
Yes, the Mustangs struggled, but one has to remember they are replacing key cogs from last year's semi-final squad. Coon Rapids-Bayard only lost three players to a 6-4 team last year, and brought back their returning rushers from a year ago.
Giving up 483 yards on the ground will not happen every week. CRB was simply a more experienced team who has spent more time playing in a starting role than Newell-Fonda has and won the war up front.
The Mustangs did some good things on Friday night. The offense still managed to put up points led by senior Reed Kruse on the ground. If you look at the stat sheet, Kruse is the lone senior listed in tackles, rushing, passing or receiving. A young team needs time to develop.
Sioux Central's rushing attack seems to be back again this year. The combination of seniors Brady Rusk and Mac Prior did some damage against Manson-NW Webster despite the loss. The senior duo combined for 279 yards and two scores. Both of them averaged over five yards a tote.
The biggest difference in the ten point loss for the Rebels were two fumbles and two long touchdown runs. The Rebel defense gave up touchdown runs of 58 and 63 yards on Friday night. If you take away the two turnovers and the long runs, Sioux Central only allowed 132 yards on the ground.
The biggest takeaway is that an opening night loss is not the end of the world. All five teams have work to do through the long season. If all of them play up to their potential, it will be a fun season for all five squads.