Lewis Central at Carroll
Records: Class 3A No. 4 Lewis Central 3-0, Carroll 2-1
Last week: Lewis Central defeated Creston 34-7; Carroll defeated Denison-Schleswig 42-7
When/where: Friday, 7 p.m., Carroll Athletic Stadium
The word: Friday’s game matches two district foes with identical 1-0 records.
Carroll wants to run the ball, and has only attempted 35 passes through three gamers, completing 40% of those. Carroll’s most reliable offensive player so far has been senior fullback Ryan Johnston. The 6-foot-2, 230-pounder is a bruiser – yes— but has some burst too, averaging 5.8 yards per carry, with three touchdowns and a long run of 48 yards.
“We just have to be sure with our tackling,” Lewis Central head coach Justin Kammrad said. “We need to make sure we go low, gang tackle and try to strip the ball. Watching him on film, he can get out and run, so our guys are excited for the challenge.”
The Titans defense will try to continue to be stingy, allowing just 38 points through three weeks with 28 of those coming against Class 3A No. 8 Sergeant Bluff-Luton.
Lewis Central has a running back of their own for defenses to worry about in senior Logan Katzer, who averages 5.8 per carry and has four touchdowns.
Katzer, along with a physical offensive line gives the Titans a nice balance offensively.
Husker-commit Thomas Fidone has 17 receptions for 382 yards and five touchdowns, while quarterback Jonah Pomrenke has been extremely efficient, completing 40-of-53 passes for 804 yards, seven touchdowns and no interceptions.
Despite playing primarily defensive back a season ago, Kammrad isn’t surprised about how well his senior QB has performed.
“You take a kid who’s a multi-sport athlete and has been in multiple tough situations, he doesn’t fold under pressure, he kind of relishes it,” Kammrad said. “He’s taken care of the football and distributed it to multiple guys, whether that’s our running backs or receivers. He does everything we ask him to do to prepare on a weekly basis.”
Southwest Valley at St. Albert
Records: Southwest Valley 4-0, St. Albert 1-2
Last week: St. Albert defeated Riverside 21-14; Southwest Valley defeated AHSTW 28-14
When/where: Friday, 7 p.m., Al Leber Field
The word: The Falcons feel good after winning their first game of the season last week, but have yet another tough opponent on the slate Friday in Class A No. 10 Southwest Valley.
“They’re a tremendously-coached team,” St. Albert head coach Jake Driver said.
It was also, longtime assistant, first-year St. Albert head coach Jake Driver’s first win in his new role and he was pleased with the intensity his team played with last week.
“Our guys played super hard,” he said. “Out three interior linemen – Cael McLaren, Ben O’Neill and Keaton Barnes – have played really well inside.”
That will again be key as Southwest Valley comes in wanting to run. The Timberwolves have accounted for 964 of their total 1,141 yards on the ground. Junior quarterback Brendan Knapp leads the charge, rushing for 462 yards and six touchdowns on 72 carries. He’s also completed 17-of-35 passes for two touchdowns and three interceptions.
“They’re going to be physical and will want to impose their will on us,” Driver said. “It’s a difficult task, but I like our guys in the secondary and their ability to cover, which will help. We’ve got some linebackers that can do some things for us in coverage and also blitz. A big part of will come down to those guys staying on task.”
Abraham Lincoln at Sioux City West
Records: Abraham Lincoln 2-1, Sioux City West 0-3
Last Week: A.L. lost to Urbandale 36-0; S.C. West lost to Sioux City East 65-14
When/Where: 7 p.m. Thursday at Olsen Stadium in Sioux City
The Word: For the first time this season, the Lynx must bounce back from a loss, and they’ll have to do it on a short week.
A.L. will hit the road for a third straight week, and if they want an outcome more favorable than last week’s, they’ll need to be more sound defensively, specifically when it comes to tackling.
“Nothing really changes,” A.L. coach John Wolfe said. “We’ve got to play our base defenses and read our keys. We just need to play sound football. The difference between last week and this week is defensively we need to tackle better. We had a number of missed tackles last week, and we need to shore that up.”
The Lynx’s defense will be helped if their offense can get back to the success it experienced through the first two weeks of the season as it sustained drives and chewed up clock. They’ll be facing a West defense that has struggled through three weeks, yielding an average of 44 points per game.
“The biggest thing that we talked about after the (Urbandale) game was consistency because we felt like at times we were playing and were in the game with them,” Wolfe said. “And there were times where we didn’t meet our standard, and it showed in a hurry. It’s all about consistency, and that starts with consistent practice. That’s the message.
“For Sioux City West, we’re just talking about getting better. We want to execute, regardless of who we’re playing. We want to execute offensively and defensively.”
Ankeny at Thomas Jefferson
Records: Ankeny 2-1, Thomas Jefferson 0-2
Last Week: Ankeny defeated Fort Dodge 52-18; Thomas Jefferson lost to Sioux City North 55-7
When/Where: 7 p.m. Friday at Wickersham Stadium
The Word: Having allowed at least 55 points in each of its first two games, adjustments were needed for the Thomas Jefferson defense as it prepares for Ankeny.
“We made some modifications to our defense, trying to put us in a position to try to minimize damage,” T.J. coach Brant Anderson said. “I’ve said many times before that we play a high-risk, high-reward defense. We haven’t been getting the rewards, so we need to do some things that are less risky.
“If you’re going to play man coverage, you better be able to get some rush on the passer. We have to look at some different things on the back end to be able to change up to give our guys a fighting chance back there.”
The offense will need to be sound as well against a talented Ankeny team that’s ranked fifth in the latest Class 4-A poll.
“We’re trying to gain consistency,” Anderson said. “We’ll have a couple good plays and then a bad play. It’ll be a pick-six or a fumble.
“Watching the film, we’re one or two guys away. It’s not the same guy any two plays in a row. We just need to become more consistent and execute on a consistent basis. We’ve not shown to have anyone with big-play ability to this point, so you have to execute much better. When you have guys that can score on one- or two-play drives, you don’t have to execute very well; you just need to give him some space to pop a big play. When you don’t have that, you’ve got to be a much better executing team, getting six, eight or 10 plays to score.”
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