Logan-Magnolia at St. Albert
Records: Logan-Magnolia 1-1, St. Albert 0-2
Last Week: Logan-Magnolia defeated Missouri Valley 21-0; St. Albert lost to Treynor 42-14
When: 7 p.m. Friday at Al Leber Field
Rankings: Neither team is ranked
The Word: The rushing numbers against St. Albert through two games provide a big reason for the Falcons’ slow start. St. Albert has allowed an average of 310 yards per game in losses to Treynor and Carroll Kuemper. St. Albert yielded 432 in last week’s loss.
While corrections need to be made and assignments kept, the defensive woes may boil down to a simpler matter: conditioning. Just about every starter on offense also starts on defense. By the third and fourth quarters, energy levels are affected for players playing just about every snap of the game. It showed last week as Treynor scored 28 second-half points.
“If you look at our games closely, when teams are able to put up points and numbers on us, it’s late,” St. Albert coach Pat Ryan said. “We know our numbers are what they are. We just have to be able to get over that mental hump of the mid-third quarter or fourth quarter. That’s mental toughness, being able to get over that fact and not putting ourselves in bad situations late in the game. That’s really what’s hurt us the last two weeks.”
Despite the slow start to the season, the Falcons aren’t deterred. Ryan has been impressed with practice this week with another stingy rushing attack on the way in Logan-Magnolia. The message: the team’s goals are still in reach.
“Our goal is to make the playoffs, and that goal hasn’t changed at all,” Ryan said. “Our focus right now is going to be to win our district, make the playoffs and see what we can do by the end of the season.”
Sam Rallis enjoyed a productive game last week, returning a kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown and adding a 30-yard touchdown reception from Lance Wright.
Lo-Ma will bring in an offense that has attempted only five passes the entire season. An always-effective ground game that featured a 23-carry, 155-yard effort from sophomore Gavin Maguire last week will test the Falcons.
“We always circle Logan on our schedule as a week that’s extremely difficult to prepare for,” Ryan said. “Their offense is impossible to mimic in practice. Our scout team can draw up plays and run plays, but it’s extremely difficult to show the speed and fluidity of their offense in practice. If you’ve seen our track record against Logan, it always takes us a bit of time on defense for the players to adjust and figure out how that works.”
Denison-Schleswig at Thomas Jefferson
Records: Denison-Schleswig 1-1, Thomas Jefferson 2-0
Last Week: Denison-Schleswig defeated Abraham Lincoln 56-28; Thomas Jefferson defeated Sioux City North 43-19
When: 7 p.m. Friday at Wickersham Stadium
Rankings: Neither team is ranked
The Word: For the first time in seven years, Thomas Jefferson is 2-0. And a major reason for that appears to be that the Yellow Jackets are righting many of the wrongs that plagued them defensively last year. The Jackets are allowing only 12.5 points per game and have forced nine turnovers through the first two games.
Austin Schubert has avoided major mistakes on offense as the teams’ quarterback and has forced them on defense with interceptions in each of the first two games. Jermaine Green is averaging 103 yards rushing per game, and different names are stepping up on defense. Hunter Jones and Douglas Carpenter have each led the team in tackles through two games with eight each.
And if the Jackets wanted some more good news, they supplied it at the end of the win over North. Senior backup kicker Aryanna Nastase converted T.J.’s final extra point. She is believed to be the first female athlete in school history to tally a point in a varsity football game.
“She came a long ways,” T.J. coach Brant Anderson said. “She talked to me last spring at the end of school and said she wanted to try it and see what happens. The last half of the summer, she came in pretty regularly and did some kicking practice.”
Next up for T.J. is perhaps its most physical foe of the season. Denison-Schleswig will be making a second straight trip to Wickersham Stadium. The Monarchs exploded last week for 35 second-half points to post a convincing victory after being tied at halftime.
Three Denison players accounted for at least 10 carries last week, with Terrance Weah leading the way (15 carries, 220 yards, two touchdowns).
“They’re always real physical and always well coached. One of my assistant coaches said that games like this are why you play football in the first place because of the physicality of the game. There’s going to be a lot of downhill running, and both teams will run the ball more than they throw it.”