Two teams that have yet to notch their first district win will have a chance Friday night as the Creston/O-M Panthers will travel north to take on the Adel-DeSoto-Minburn Tigers.
The two teams share equal 1-6, 0-5 records with each respective win coming in week two.
Creston/O-M handled Clarinda at home while A-D-M picked up a win due to a forfeit after it was found that its opponent played with an ineligible player.
The Panthers first priority on defense will be containing Tiger quarterback Matthew West. West has nearly 1,000 total yards accounted for on the season with 6 combined touchdowns.
C/O-M Head coach Brian Morrison is well aware that A-D-M’s offensive scheming revolves around the mobile senior QB.
“They run the option with him, they run the zone read with him,” said Morrison.
A-D-M will line up with four or five wide receivers at a time, leaving the Tigers with plenty of options to get down the field as well.
But, West has the ability to run if the field opens up.
“He gets a lot of his yards when people are covered and he just goes,” said Morrison. “So yeah, containing him will be critical.”
Bar none, tackling in open space will be the key for the Panthers.
Last year, Chase Shiltz and company carried the rock for 466 yards on the ground in a 42-7 win over the Tigers.
Though the Panther ground game hasn’t been as explosive this year, Morrison again emphasized Creston/O-M will give itself more options if they can establish the run.
Long third downs have limited the Panthers offensively. Effective first and second downs will be the catalyst to moving the football downfield. Making third-and-short is a priority for the Panthers, according to Morrison.
“I think the telltale sign of this entire season has been getting ourselves in situations where we are trying to convert a third-and-8 against a good defense,” said Morrison. “I think if we take care of first down, second down consistently throughout the football game then we can drive the football and be successful. Until we do that, well never know.”
Kylan Smallwood and Mitchel Swank have well over 1,000 yards combined on the ground this year and will need to continue to take advantage of openings. Swank missed practice Tuesday with an illness, but Morrison fully expects him to be ready to play come Friday.
Creston/O-M has had success going over the top of defenses the last few weeks. A couple of deep strikes against Atlantic, Winterset and Glenwood may keep defenses from putting eight players in the box.
Since the beginning of the season, Morrison has prioritized getting protection up-front. Against A-D-M, that sentiment hasn’t changed.
“We just gotta be consistent up front,” said Morrison. “Just improving as a unit up front and doing the right thing.”
Special teams have shown to be an Achilles heel for the Panthers, especially in close games. But, the last few weeks have given the squad optimism on that front.
Michael Scherer will be back on punt duty after averaging over 40 yards per boot last week against Glenwood.
Creston/O-M faces one more district test following this week. A road test against A-D-M will provide the Panthers with a quality opportunity to avoid worrying about a winless district slate.
QB — Kylan Smallwood6-3195 Jr.
RB — Mitchel Swank5-7165Sr.
FB — Kolby Tomas5-11200Sr.
T — Tucker Flynn6-8320Sr.
G — Blake Sevier6-3270Sr.
C — Kendall Crawford5-9220Jr.
G — Hank Looney6-0215Jr.
T — Trevor Downing6-5285Sr.
WR — Cole Higgins5-11150Sr.
WR — Cody Wagner5-11165Sr.
WR — Evan Jacobson5-8140Sr.
K — Evan Jacobson5-8140Sr.
End — Trevor Downing6-5285Sr.
NT — Blake Sevier6-3270Sr.
E — James McDonald5-11210Jr.
OLB — Rylan Luther6-0165So.
ILB — Kolby Tomas5-11200Sr.
ILB — Eli Hartman5-10165So.
OLB — Dustin Merritt5-7170Jr.
Safety — Garrett Dahl5-7140Sr.
Safety — Eli Loudon6-0165So.
CB — Evan Jacobson5-8140Sr.
CB — Kylan Smallwood6-3195Jr.
Punter — Michael Scherer6-1165Sr.