Knights look to beat Rockets for second time
GRAETTINGER – The last time football players from the Graettinger and Terril communities were in the state playoffs, athletes from the two communities were on opposite sides of the scrimmage line.
The year was 2002 and Terril and Ruthven-Ayrshire combined to form Lakeland and Graettinger fielded its own squad.
Tonight, Graettinger/Terril makes its first playoff appearance as the “Knights” as they take the trip to Remsen.
Remsen-Union and Graettinger/Terril met earlier this season in Week 2 with the Knights winning 16-8 over the Rockets.
“Week 2 seems like forever ago,” said Remsen-Union coach Colin Youde.
“We’ve watched some tape on them and they’ve made some personnel changes since then and they’re more seasoned and playing better,” said G/T coach Karlton Hector of the Rockets.
Hector figures the rematch will be a ‘revenge’ game for Remsen-Union.
“For us, we have to treat it like a first meeting,” he said. “We had some missed opportunities in the first game and I’m sure they probably feel the same way.”
Hector lists the keys as the same as in any game.
“We have to not have those little mistakes and letdowns-no turnovers, not hurting ourselves penalty-wise and not giving up the big plays.”
The Rockets are in the playoffs for the first time since 1984.
Youde’s assessment of the Knights starts with fullback Jake Hoffman.
“I know they have a stud fullback. The Hoffman kid is amazing,” said Youde, who also complimented the play of Drew Skattebo and Cody Dyhrkopp.
“Defensively, they like to bring pressure and come after your run game,” he said. “I think we probably throw a little better, but our focus is still to establish the run first and throw when we can.”
Keys for the Rockets are to try to control the Knights’ running game.
“We need to control their run, do a nice job of tackling and force them to pass,” said Youde.
Remsen-Union played two unusual games to end its season. Two Fridays ago, the Rockets lost to Aurelia 30-28.
“We didn’t play real well. If I could explain that game I would,” said Youde. “We came out flat that night and weren’t ready to go.”
However last Friday, Remsen-Union was playing for a district title against AR-WE-VA, which turned into a 61-51 shootout in favor of $-U.
“I didn’t think either defense was playing that bad,” said Youde. “There were just so many luck plays. Forty points were scored in the fourth quarter.”
Remsen-Union led 34-18 heading into the fourth quarter when the game turned into its scoring fest. AR-WE-VA recovered an onside kick and returned it for a touchdown.
In tonight’s rematch with Graettinger/Terril, both teams will discover which improved more this season.
“Graettinger/Terril played in a very tough district,” said Youde.
Coach Youde and G/T coach Hector have a common denominator as both played football at Northwestern College in Orange City.
“It will be a chess match between us and come down to which team plays better.”