At this point of the season, a win is almost needed.
Even though every team is assured a playoff spot, as long as they stay healthy, the start of district play opens up a plethora of opportunities for both teams. In the case of Carroll (1-1) taking on Denison-Schleswig (0-2) both teams are trying to right their season, especially after week two.
Last week both the Tigers and Monarchs would much rather forget that they played. The Monarchs fell to Spencer 35-7. Carroll meanwhile was shutout on the road in one of their worse defeats in nearly 50 years.
“More than anything it is our first district game and can start the process of positioning ourselves for our playoff pool,” said Dennis McCartan, the head coach for Carroll. “Our kids do know their kids so that does add to the intensity.”
With Denison and Carroll only being separated by 20 miles the matchup between the Monarchs and Tigers is always an interesting one since the athletes know each other outside the field.
Carroll’s main focus on Friday night will be to stop the Monarchs from passing the ball.
“Through the first two games they are averaging 27 passes per game and averaged 140 yards per game,” McCartan said. “We need to get pressure on (Monarch quarterback Carter)Wessels as he does a great job distributing the ball to a number of receivers so you can’t just key on one person.”
This year the Monarchs have passed for 280 yards and one touchdown. As McCartan said, the Monarchs have moved the ball around well with six different receivers catching a pass.
The main target has been senior Evan Turin who has 75 yards off seven catches, including the teams’ only receiving touchdown.
Jaden Gonzalez has six catches for 52 yards. The Monarchs aren’t just a passing team. Led by senior back Leo Araujo the Monarchs have 154 yards rushing this year. Araujo has 89 of those yards with one of the teams’ three rushing touchdowns.
“We must establish a run game,” McCartan said about what it will take for Carroll to have success on Friday. “It’s plain and simple. We can’t throw if we can’t run so we need to establish some drives and give the offensive line some confidence to build on.”