Teams look to rebound

Published 8:16 am Thursday, September 25, 2008

Week four of the high school football season was not kind to the areas teams as four of the seven went down in defeat. Northwood-Kensett and Alden-Conger improved to 3-1 on the year with wins while United South Central won for the first time this season and now stands at 1-3.

New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva dropped from the unbeaten ranks with a heartbreaking loss but is 3-1 for the year. Lake Mills and Albert Lea fell to 1-3 on the year while Glenville-Emmons looks to week five still looking for a win at 0-4.

Northwood-Kensett at Mason City Newman

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The Vikings (3-1) are on a roll after trouncing North Butler 42-6 last week as the running game is once again dominating opposing defenses at the line of scrimmage.

N-K’s ground game has allowed its defense to pitch two shutouts this year as they have given up a measly six points in their three wins. The Vikings travel to Mason City this Friday to face 2-2 Newman.

N-K is 2-1 on the road this season and after this week will have played four of its first five games away from Northwood. Newman was a state semifinalist last year so expect this game to be a tough one, but if the offensive line can continue to open holes for running back Phil Fierova expect the Vikings to move to 4-1 on the year.

Key stats: Season record 3-1. Started three of last four seasons at 5-1 after six games. 15-4 on the road since 2004, a .789 winning percentage. Phil Fierova 247 yards rushing, four TD’s last two weeks.

Alden-Conger at Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Martin Luther

The Knights improved to 3-1 after handing Hills-Beaver Creek/Ellsworth (3-1) its first loss of the year in a 14-6 defensive struggle a week ago. A-C is now in a five-way tie for first place in the Southern Confederacy with G-H-EC/ML, Westbrook-Walnut Grove, Edgerton, and Hills-Beaver Creek/Ellsworth.

Heading into week five this Knights team continues to get better and more balanced with Lucas Kleinschrodt airing it out at quarterback and E.J. Knight leading an impressive rushing attack.

Against G-H-EC/ML this week look for that balance to run the Knights record to 4-1 on the year. A-C has beaten the Mustangs four consecutive and outscored them 138-32 since 2004.

Key stats: Season record 3-1. Best start in last five years, 2007- 1-3, 2006- 2-2, 2005- 2-2, 2004- 2-2. 11-7 on the road since 2004.

New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva vs. Maple River

The Panthers lost a close game at home last week to its rivals from Waterville-Elysian-Morristown 16-12 as the Bucs gave NRHEG its first loss of the season. Look for these two to meet again in the sections, this time in Waterville.

This week the Panthers will try to get back to their winning ways when they face the Eagles of Maple River. Although the Eagles got blown out by W-E-M 42-6 earlier in the year, they have traditionally been a tough opponent where the Panthers are concerned. The two teams have split the last four meetings with NRHEG winning a shootout last year 34-27.

Having said that, this Maple River team seems to be in a rebuilding mode while the Panthers under head coach Dan Stork continue to reload year after year. Knowing that a loss leaves a really bad taste in NRHEG’s mouth, look for the Panthers to take out a little frustration on the Eagles this Friday and improve to 4-1.

Key stats: Season record 3-1. 10-6 on the road since 2004. Greg Ramaker 732 yards rushing for the year, or 183 per game, 13 touchdowns, 12 offensive and one on defense.

United South Central at Waterville-Elysian-Morristown

After starting the season at 0-3 the Rebels rebounded in a big way last week with a 40-13 win over Lake Crystal/Wellcome Memorial. Last week was the highest scoring game for the Rebels since a 35-6 win against Maple River in 2004.

Just as last week, the USC coaching staff had QB Riley Swearingen prepared to step up and earn the Rebels first win thanks in large part to his three touchdown passes.

Unfortunately for USC they have to travel to Waterville for a meeting with the ninth-ranked Buccaneers (4-0) this Friday. Now some might say that the Rebels don’t stand a chance, especially playing in Waterville, but it’s games like this, playing an undefeated team on the road, that USC has proven it knows how to win. Just ask NRHEG.

Key stats: Season record 1-3. 3-14 on the road since 2004.

Albert Lea at Winona

The Tigers are still fired up over their 35-34 overtime loss to Mankato East last week, a game that seen A.L.’s offense put the most points on the board since a 49-12 win over Winona in 2005.

Speaking of the Winhawks, they are up next for a much improved Tigers team. In years past this game was circled on A.L.’s schedule as the only possibility for a win the whole season. In 2004, 05, and 06, the Tigers were a combined 3-24 with all three wins coming courtesy of Winona.

But head coach Clay Anderson has this team believing they can win as the Tigers are 4-6 in their last 10 games dating back to last years 7-0 win over the Winhawks. If the running game continues to improve with Luke Grossman, who rushed for 178 yards and two touchdowns last week, look for A.L. to once again down the Winhawks.

Key stats: Season record 1-3. 1-17 on the road since 2004. 258 rushing yards last week as a team. Cody Hanson 288 yards passing with two touchdowns in last two games.

Lake Mills vs. Belmond-Klemme

Lake Mills lost a hard fought battle last week against Garner-Hayfield 28-21 and dropped to 1-3 on the season, their worst start in more than five years. The Bulldogs are a combined 14-6 in their first four games dating back to 2004.

This week the Bulldogs face a 3-1 Belmond-Klemme team that they last played in 2005, a 48-6 LM win.

This Bulldogs team is probably the most talented of the area’s 1-3 teams so we don’t expect them to be down for long. Look for head coach Bill Byrnes to have his kids ready to play, and win come this Friday. A win would be the first at home this season.

Key stats: Season record 1-3. 10-9 at home since 2004. Jake Brekken 92 carries for 456 yards on the year, or 4.9 yards every time he touches the ball.

Glenville-Emmons vs. Houston

The Wolverines lost in a lopsided affair last week to Lanesboro 58-0 and fell to 0-4 on the year, their fourth consecutive 0-4 start.

Unfortunately for the Wolverines, it doesn’t get any easier as they have to face an undefeated (4-0) Houston team that comes in ranked No. 5 in the state. G-E has lost two of its last three meetings with Houston, the last win coming in 2004, a 38-14 win and the last season the Wolverines won more than two games.

Key stats: Season record 0-4. 16 game winless streak.