Mustangs, Knights ready for rematches of Week 3
ARMSTRONG, GRAETTINGER – While many area 8-Man football fans may have thought District 2 would win three of Wednesday’s four substate matchups with District 1, few believed all four District 2 teams would advance to Monday’s first round.
For those unfamiliar with Wednesday’s substate scores, Armstrong-Ringsted beat AR-WE-VA 66-6; Graettinger/Terril won 62-25 over Woodbine; North Sentral Kossuth won 54-34 over Remsen-Union and West Bend-Mallard won 44-36 over Remsen St. Mary’s.
Although West Bend-Mallard has a history of playoff football, the 6-3 Wolverines were the underdog against 9-0 St. Mary’s.
A-R coach Robert Zotz was a believer though.
“I picked West Bend to beat St. Mary’s because they’re healthy now,” said Zotz.
The Mustangs host the Wolverines for the two teams’ second meeting of the season on Monday. A-R won the first encounter 53-14 in Week 3 of the 2009 season.
What’s the difference in this upcoming meeting?
“They had some injuries that first game,” said Zotz. “They’re much improved as a unit and they’ve won their last three games. What we did to them the first time doesn’t mean a thing.”
The A-R coach said the 8-man game can be misleading because once one team gets rolling, everything can snowball from there.
“If the other team let’s up for just a moment-that it keeps building and spirals out of control,” Zotz said.
A perfect example is A-R’s substate game with AR-WE-VA.
“They were moving the ball against us at the start, but our defense made some big stops,” said Zotz. “We’re getting better too. We’re playing a lot better than we were in Week 3.”
The first game gives the Mustangs an idea of what the Wolverines will try to do.
“But they could change their plans and the guys have to make the adjustments,” Zotz said.
A-R quarterback Spencer Clausen made the right adjustments against AR-WE-VA.
“He had his worst night against Graettinger (the week before) and his best versus AR-WE-VA,” said Zotz of Clausen, who ran for three touchdowns and threw for three in Wednesday’s victory.
The weather is a key factor.
“When the ball’s wet and slimy, it’s tough to throw,” said Zotz. “The weather conditions can slow us down.”
The current weather forecast for Monday doesn’t include rain in the forecast, so it may not be a factor.
North Sentral Kossuth
Graettinger/Terril will get a second chance at North Sentral Kossuth on Monday in Swea City.
The Knights lost the first meeting 38-22 in Week 3.
“We knew coming in that this was going to be a great test for our team,” said G/T coach Karlton Hector following that loss. “NSK is a big physical team. Throughout the game we moved the ball at times very well, and played great defense, but when you are playing against a quality opponent like NSK, you have to play the whole game well. We had a lot of costly penalties that gave them free yards and that hurt us on defense.”
The Knights will see if they can play that complete game on Monday.
Hector said he thinks his team is more “sound on their responsibilities.
“We’ve gone through the long season and know what we can and can’t do,” he said. “We’ve played NSK and Armstrong-Ringsted close and we know we can play better. We’re just happy for another opportunity.”
Looking at NSK, Hector said they’re still a solid club.
“They don’t make many mistakes and they’re balanced running and throwing.”
With all the District 2 teams winning, the travel time is cut down enormously.
Hector said the shorter trip to Swea City will still give the Knights a chance to focus and think about the game.
Offensively, Hector said the Knights have developed different blocking schemes as the season has gone on as well as working in the passing game.
“The kids have done a decent job of adjusting,” he said.
Defensively, he said the Knights have gotten better too.
“We’re not over-pursuing and doing the little things to improve,” he said. “As long as we stay aggressive, we’ll do pretty well.”