No high school football coach wants to get in a shootout – and SoBoCo coach Trent Tracy is one who would rather win another 49-0 game.
And why not?
The SoBoCo Eagles go into Friday’s district semi-final against the Christian Eagles with four straight games of putting 48 or 49 points on the board.
“But we still want our defense to play well and we think we can slow Christian down,” Tracy said Thursday.
The SoBoCo Eagles vs the Christian Eagles will kick off at 7 p.m. in Ashland.
Christian comes into the game with a 2-8 record – but knocked off No. 2 seed Mexico last week. Christian may be far from a winning record, but Tracy and his team will tell you that they are far better than their record.
The Christian Eagles lost several games to Class 4 teams, losing by only nine points 18-27 to powerful Cardinal Ritter, and keeping several games close. The Eagles are a passing team and things began to click for them when they defeated the Mexico Bulldogs 28-25.
Christian is led by quarterback Brady Tolle and he will throw the ball to No. 11 Ryan Norwine and No. 88 Evan Soell – a lot.
“They are a passing team and we have prepared for them to pass the ball as much as 80% of the their offensive plays,” said Tracy. “Our defensive backs are in for a real test Friday night.”
The Eagles defensive backfield of Sam Stichnote, Seth Mueller, Clay Jeffery and Kolton Schupp will need to recognize Christian’s formations and routes and keep the play in front of them in order for the Eagles to not give up a big play.
SoBoCo will not only be tested in the secondary, their defensive front will also need to respond.
“We will try to get a good pass rush on their quarterback, make him move around and be uncomfortable back their,” Tracy added.
While the Eagles have several blitz packages in their playbook, defensive coordinator Andy Jahnsen’s defense can’t afford to simply concentrate on rushing the passer. The SoBoCo defense will also need to watch for Christian screen passes – especially the bubble screen.
“On that play if they let the defensive linemen go and we overrun the play, they could have five offensive linemen on our two linebackers – that’s tough to defend,” Tracy said.
On offense, SoBoCo will look to improve last week’s 3-of-12 passing game in which Wright City defended man-to-man and bottled up Clay Jeffery and Sam Stichnote.
“We need to execute well in the passing game and see what their defense wants to do,” Tracy said.
SoBoCo’s running game has had more than 300 yards a game in recent weeks and Tanner Smith, Jackson Sartain, Cooper Mange and Colby Phillips will look to keep the streak alive this week.
Tracy said at playoff time, three aspects of a football game can make all the difference – special teams, turnovers and penalties.
“Their special teams block a lot of extra points and they have two good kickers that we will need to adjust to,” Tracy said. “These things are always important, but in the playoffs, special teams, turnovers and penalties are really magnified. They can create or kill momentum for a team.”