For the second consecutive week, Council Bluffs football fans will see another city matchup. And when Lewis Central visits Thomas Jefferson Friday, spectators will see two winning teams that have taken different paths to success.
In one corner is L.C., Class 3-A’s fifth-ranked team. They’ve had three games, and the Titans have won each with a different phase of the game standing out. They allowed only seven points to a Sergeant Bluff-Luton team that has averaged 44 points per game in its two wins since. In Week 2, special teams and defense held Carlisle in check in a 13-3 victory. And last week, the offense blitzed Abraham Lincoln to the tune of a 63-point victory. L.C. racked up 318 rushing yards and Bryson Bowman, Ethen Fishell, Logan Katzer, Bret Kobes and Brady Miller (3) each scored a touchdown.
In the other corner is Thomas Jefferson, a squad that was riding a big wave of momentum with its 2-0 start after a pair of road wins in Sioux City. But the Yellow Jackets were halted in last week’s home-opening loss to Denison-Schleswig. Through two weeks, forcing turnovers and limiting too many big plays paved T.J.’s way to two wins. But the big plays burned the Jackets last week as Denison scored four touchdowns in the first quarter on only eight snaps.
“We were a little over aggressive, and basically chasing the ball on read plays doesn’t help,” T.J. coach Brant Anderson said. “You have to be disciplined. You have to be mentally calm to stay with the assignment.
“On offense, we needed to be a little more amped up and get after people a little more and be more aggressive.”
Seven meetings have taken place between these teams since 2010, and six have finished as official games. The exception came in 2011 when the game didn’t finish due to lightning. LC. has enjoyed more success in the series, winning five games, including four shutouts.
However, T.J. has proven to be a team that can’t be taken lightly when it executes the game plan. Proof of that came in 2016 when the Yellow Jackets topped L.C. 42-33 on the Titans’ home field when current TCU quarterback Max Duggan was a sophomore at L.C.
L.C. coach Justin Kammrad knows his defense needs to play well as T.J. has talent and balance on offense. Running back Jermaine Green has averaged more than 100 yards a game, and receivers JJ Johanns, Hunter Jones and Qur’an Owens each averages at least 13 yards per reception.
“They do so many different things,” Kammrad said. “You have to be disciplined. You have to be willing do the things the coaches are asking you to do; otherwise there might be a big gain or a touchdown.
“It puts pressure on you defensively. Hopefully Friday night, we’re able to play loose and fast.”
Anderson hopes the same for his squad. Neutralizing the Titans’ plays of more than 10 yards in sequence will go a long ways toward defensive success.
“Teams hit a big play, we get a tackle, they turn around and hit another big play,” Anderson said. “I guess we haven’t moved on to the next play yet.
“If L.C. does hit a big play, we’ve got to bring things together real tight for the next snap so they don’t hit another big play on us and stop that snowball from rolling down the hill.”