Midgets on the road
Estherville Lincoln Central’s defense came through big for the Midgets in last Friday’s opener against Sheldon.
Coming up with two safeties and a fumble, the Midgets repelled an Orab team that appeared ready to rally in the second half.
However there’s always room for improvement.
“What do we need to do better? We do need to play better pass defense,” said ELC coach Jerry Shultz. “Part of that is we’re not getting enough pressure on the quarterback. We also didn’t make good reads at times.”
The Midgets’ first road trip is to Sibley today to take on the Generals and the ELC defense will have to be ready for anything.
“They have good skill kids and run multiple formations-trips, shotguns, professional,” Shultz said.
The Generals also have plenty of experience.
Sibley-Ocheyedan went 2-7 a year ago with a 0-7 record in district play after opening the season with wins over Okoboji and Spirit Lake. But the Generals have higher hopes this season.
“They return 20 seniors and have good size and speed,” said Shultz. “They feel this is one of their better teams since 2003-the last time we played them. They’re athletic and run to the ball well.”
However Okoboji beat Sibley-Ocheyedan 22-14 in last week’s season opener.
“What hurt them against Okoboji, is they gave up big plays,” said Shultz.
The Midgets started well offensively against Sheldon.
“We got off the ball well in the first quarter,” said Shultz. “We’ll see if we can establish the run first (against S-O). We want to play a good game to have momentum heading into district play.”
Sibley-Ocheyedan coach Anthony Rangel saw ELC for the first time in last year’s playoff game against Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley.
“I know they’re a good program and have solid numbers,” he said. “They play hard and have good size.”
While the Generals may have lost to Okoboji, all three scores came on big plays-over 40 yards.
The Generals also out-rushed the Pioneers by 50 yards and each team had three turnovers.
Rangel said the team’s goal is to win the turnover battle and out-rush opponents.
“I think we’re more balanced than other teams in our area,” he said.
The Generals have a senior quarterback, Greg Hiemstra, but this is his first year at the position.
“I think it took him until the second half to get comfortable and make the plays that we expect of him,” said Rangel.
The Generals inability to finish two early drives against Okoboji played a part in the opening loss.
“We had the ball inside the 10 and inside the 20 and didn’t finish,” Rangel said.
One drive was stopped by an interception and the second was halted by penalties.
Defensively, the S-O coach said his team played well.
“Okoboji has a lot of speed,” he said.
Looking to ELC and preseason all-state back Jordan Eggers, Rangel said it seems every week there’s one back the defense has to concentrate on.
He pointed to Sheldon and Central Lyon/George-Little Rock who the Generals played in district play last season.
“Over in this district we’re used to seeing good backs,” he said. “Estherville is a bigger school and has more confidence. This will be a big challenge for us.”