Although both teams have scored points in bunches this year, Friday’s game could feature points being a precious commodity on Friday night.
When South Central Calhoun (9-0) squares off against Mount Ayr (7-2) both teams will try to feature their offenses.
For Mount Ayr, that means a heavy dose of quarterback Payton Weehler, who is just six yards shy of passing for 1,200 yards this season. The junior quarterback has 13 touchdowns on the season and is the Raiders’ second-leading rusher.
As SCC head coach, Bryan Case also points out, he is patient.
“Their quarterback is really good,” Case said. “He buys himself time and has a strong, accurate arm. Their line and backs also do a nice job of cutting off pursuit and their wide receivers do a great job of making plays.”
In order to shut down the passing attack of the Raiders, Case stresses that the Titans defense will have to work in unison, but in two different directions.
“We need to work a two-way street,” Case said. “The defensive line and line backers need to get some pressure and our defensive back’s have to be in great position all night long. Hopefully we can either get some picks, sacks or better yet… both.”
The Raiders have been a team that can fold under the pressure. Weehler has thrown six interceptions on the season.
It also appears that Weehler has a favorite target, Dawson Frost who leads the team with 37 catches for 587 yards and six scores. The next leading receiver has 16 catches for 154 yards and three scores.
The Raiders worked through their schedule winning six of their seven games by more than three possessions. The lone outlier was a 3-0 win in week two over I-35. Their two losses they were in both games until the fourth quarter. Mount Ayr fell to Panorama 14-6, and they gave up three touchdowns to Van Meter in the final 12 minutes of a week 8 contest.
Helping the Raiders win a lot of those games has been their defense.
“Mount Ayr is not a very big team, but they are extremely quick and fast,” Case said. “That could cause our big guys some problems. If we can get a body on their speed rush, then maybe we can have some success. If not… we’ll be in for a long night.”
The leading tackler for the Raiders is Reas Knapp who has 50 on the year, including seven solo tackles for a loss and three solo sacks. Isaac Grose is another tough tackler for the Raiders with 28 tackles this season, but 13 of which have been solo tackles for a loss.
That means that the offensive line for South Central Calhoun is going to have to buy quarterback Cole Corey and Josh Henkenius time to throw. They will also have to keep with their blocks in order to get the deep running game of the Titans time to run through the holes that they create.
The goal for the Titans to be successful on Friday will be to continue to feature Lanson Schleisman and Blake McAlister, and others, running the ball.
They will also need McAlister and Zane Neubaum to catch like they have been all season.
Friday’s game will start at 7 p.m.