By RON PRESTON
After facing two option quarterbacks who threw as much as they ran, the Abilene Cowboy defense is preparing for a Clay Center Tiger team that relies on a running offense.
The Tigers are 2-0 coming into Friday night’s game against the 0-2 Cowboys.
Clay Center has defeated Riley County, 14-12, and Thomas More Prep, 22-7, in the first two weeks racking up 404 - yards rushing and only throwing the ball 7 for11 times for 82 yards.
The Tigers quarterback, senior Kody Gregory at 6-0,190, is Clay Center’s most lethal weapon. He has rushed the ball 32 times for 145 yards in their first two contests.
“They are going to try to run the ball at us,” Cowboy Coach Jeff Geist said in preparation for the Tigers. “They have changed their offense from last year to a more run oriented, closer splits, double wing formation and try to use misdirection with some of this. We have to put a lot of pressure on them to stop the run. We have seen two fine dual threat quarterbacks in the first two games and this kid (Gregory) has led his team almost solely on the ground.”
In reflection to Friday’s loss to Rossville, Geist said, “There was a six minute span that really hurt us and we just missed tackles for a little while, but our kids played hard enough to win the ballgame.
“There were a couple of times that we let them out of fourth downs and they came come up with a big play and we’ve got to give credit to their kids for making those plays.
“We did enough things right that we put ourselves in position to win the game,” Geist said. “I thought we played a lot better than we did in week in week one and hopefully we’ll continue to make strides this week.
“If we can stop the run, we should be in pretty good shape,” Geist added. “Friday’s game was a very physicals game and we have some kids dinged up going into this week. I don’t think Tanner (Hoekman) will be able to play this week and we don’t know yet on Chase (Stalder). We’ll see how it works out.
“We have some kids that are ready to step up. Harley (Hazlett) did a nice job for us at quarterback. He and Chase were about dead-even start wise on the evening. They are a little bit different in style which is kind of nice because they don’t know who to prepare for, and I think Brent Hirsch will do fine at running back.”
“Defensively losing Tanner probably hurts a little more I think we have a plan to help us out there. We’ll just see how it works out Friday,” Geist concluded.
Chapman hosts Marysville
The Chapman Fighting Irish (0-2) will host the Marysville Bulldogs (0-2) in their North Central Kansas League debut Friday night.
Chapman is coming off a 27-6 defeat at the hands of Southeast of Saline while Marysville enters the game after being thumped by NCKL powerhouse Wamego.
Marysville has scored just eight points total over their first two contests.
“They have a new coach this year, their third head coach in three years,” Chapman Coach Trevor Williams said. “It always makes it tough to put another system in and adapt to another coaching style.
“They have athletic kids. They are just trying to find their way with execution and things they want to be a physical down hill running football team and they’re still just working on them.
“When you implement new offensive and defensive sets each year in three years, it does take time to make some adjustments and they played two good teams (Winfield, Wamego) in the first two games.”
Chapman has had to go to the bench for its starting quarterback as both the starter and the number two have been injured.
“Chandler Sweet came into play, he is a sophomore, and he was really our third starting QB going into the season,” Williams said. “He is a young kid that has come in and did some good things for us, he did what we asked him to do.”
Looking back at the first two weeks, coach Williams said, “We improved from one week to the next. We were a better tackling team, we were assignment sound on defense.
“After Friday’s night game, the area we need to work on is our pass coverage defense in the secondary,” Williams said. “That was how all four touchdowns were scored by SES – were pass plays, but we were more of a physical group in the game. We really stressed like flying to the ball and we saw an improvement Friday night.
“Offensively, we were more physical on that side of the ball also so those were positives we took away,” he concluded.
Rossville 33 – Abilene 21
SES 27 – Chapman 6
Wamego 48 – Marysville 0
Wellington 27 – Concordia 6
Hays 37 – McPherson 23
Smoky Valley 27- Kingman 20
Week three games
Clay Center at Abilene
Marysville at Chapman
Concordia at Wamego
Rose Hill at McPherson
Smoky Valley at Halstead