Midgets look to slow Monarchs
Last week Estherville Lincoln Central (1-5, 0-4) narrowly missed out on its first district win of the year. Tonight, against Denison-Schleswig (2-4, 1-3), they hope to finally get that first victory under their belts.
In order to accomplish that goal, the Midgets will need to slow down the Monarch’s rushing attack, according to ELC coach Chuck Fandel.
“It seems the past few weeks that Denison has realized that running the football is their forte,” he said. “They have a couple excellent running backs with some speed.”
Denison-Schleswig is led by 5-9 senior Jesse Preul who has carried the ball 126 times for 488 yards and five touchdowns.
Fullback John Blum is second on the team with 88 carries for 404 yards and five touchdowns.
In order to slow down the run, the Midgets will have to display the physical play that has been their calling card for years, something that Monarch coach Dave Wiebers saw first hand last year.
“Last year was the first year we played Estherville in a long time,” he said. “I was very impressed with their physical style of play. They run to the football and they hit hard. So far this season I don’t think their record is conducive to the type of athletes they have on the roster.”
ELC’s offense will have to do without the services of injured junior tailback Marcus Christensen. Jake Lange will move into the tail back position while Dan Jones takes over at fullback.
On the season, ELC quarterback Alex Arends has totaled 975 yards rushing and passing, and Wiebers sees the key in stopping ELC’s offense is shutting down the option.
“They’ve got a quarterback that is a dual-threat,” he said. “We have to be able to stop their option game first before we worry about anything else.”
Both coaches see this game being a close contest where ball control and special teams will play a big factor.
“We’re going to need to take care of the ball,” said Wiebers. “So far on the year we’ve lost some games we thought we could win because of turnovers. When you play solid teams, turnovers are usually the difference.”
“Our special teams really need to step up for us,” said Fandel. “Our punt team especially. We’re going to need to play four good quarters in all three phases to have a shot at a win.”
Key to the game: Finish strong.
Denison is fourth in the district in scoring at 17.8 points per game. They’ve scored the least amount of points in the first quarter of games with 14, but they’ve scored the most fourth quarter points in the district with 42. If ELC jumps out to an early lead, they can’t afford to let up on the gas.