Midgets ready for next challenge
Algona features solid ground game
Estherville Lincoln Central (6-1) knows Algona (4-3) will be a tougher challenge this Friday, as the Midgets host the Bulldogs for a ‘Pod’ championship.
While the two teams missed their regular season meeting due to a Covid-related situation in Algona, the Bulldogs are a year away from last year’s Class 2A runner-up finish in the state.
ELC coach Ryan Rezac said he’s uncertain which quarterback will start for the Bulldogs this week.
Senior Aaron Weringa started in last week’s 42-2 win over Cherokee. He didn’t attempt a pass, but the Bulldogs rushed for 353 yards on 40 carries. Weringa had eight carries for 76 yards, but Algona was led by Noah Nelson’s six carries for 95 yards and three touchdowns.
Algona’s other quarter, junior Tayler Manske, last played two weeks ago when he completed 1-of-2 passes for 30 yards and had four carries for 38 yards. Weringa also played in that game.
For the season, Mankse is 57-of-01 passing for 815 yards and 11 touchdowns. Weringa has completed 1-of-2 passes for 12 yards. Mankse is the team’s leading rusher with 99 carries for 452 yards and four touchdowns.
As, a team, Algona has 291 rushing attempts for 1,698 yards and 17 touchdowns.
“They have a strong running attack and they do a good job with that,” said coach Rezac of the Bulldogs. “This week, we’re focusing on being polished and keep concentrating on the details.”
ELC’s defense helped create a short field for the offense in the Midgets’ 42-7 win over Okoboji. With that, ELC concentrated more on the ground attack and that worked well for quarterback Ryan Schiltz, who had five carries for 76 yards and three touchdowns.
Rezac said that was partially by design and partly because it worked.
“We didn’t throw as much because we didn’t have too,” he said.
Prior to last week, Schiltz had thrown four touchdown passes apiece in each of the previous three games and threw two in last week’s win. For the season is 77-of-136 passing for 1,152 yards with 22 touchdowns and four interceptions.
At 6-4, Schiltz’s cousin Matt Christensen has been his top target with 32 catches for 567 yards and nine touchdowns. But Schiltz has many other targets. Daryl Jensen had 16 catches for 250 yards and five touchdowns, Kevin Egeland has 10 catches for 173 yards and five touchdowns and Lamont Whiting has 12 catches for 142 yards and three scores.
While the offensive stats for ELC are impressive, the defense has been just as solid. The Midgets have given up more than one touchdown in just two games–the 34-27 double-overtime loss to Spirit lake on Sept. 18 and then 14 points to Garner-Hayfield-Ventura in a 25-14 win on Sept. 25.
Algona’s losses all came in the first three games of the season to a tough Humboldt team, to an Emmetsburg team that has been ranked in the Top 10 in Class 1A and to Spirit Lake.
Zack Anderson leads ELC’s defense with 41 tackles. Garrett Paulson is one behind that with 40 tackles while Zavion McMurran has 32.
Miles Goche leads the Bulldogs with 27 tackles followed by James Wartick has 26 tackles.
The next round for the winner of Friday’s games won’t be determined until Saturday. According to the Iowa High School Athletic Association, third round and quarterfinal pods will be released at 12 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24. Semifinal and final pairings will be released following games on Friday, Nov. 6.