After a thrashing of St. James last week, Perryville football coach Blane Boss knows that Friday night presents a tougher challenge. Perryville will take on Potosi at home, and the Trojans are a physical team that that likes to run the ball, and run it often.
“They want to run the ball at you and control the clock and play good solid defense,” Boss said. “They have done that in the past and from what I’ve seen they haven’t changed up much of what they want to do.”
From the stat book, that doesn’t seem to be the case either.
The Trojans have four players that have 17 or more carries on the season, with Wade Mercille topping that list at 30 carries for 205 yards, and one touchdown. Brayden Isgriggs has the most touchdowns on the season for Potosi with three.
Potosi quarterback Andrew Coleman has just 16 pass attempts on the season for 94 yards.
Boss wouldn’t expect else from the Trojans.
“That’s how their offense is set up,” Boss said. “Four guys can take the ball and run it at any given time. We have to be ready for any of them and be there to make the tackles and do what we need to do.”
There is a slight change in the way that the Trojan line up on offense this season. In the past, Potosi has deployed triple wide receivers and even quad formations, but this year Boss has seen that sparingly with more of a flexbone-look.
“I’m sure they have those formations they’ve used in the past still in the playbook, but that change is something we’ve seen a lot of when we watch Potosi on film.”
Whatever the Trojans deploy on offense, the Pirates might be without some key defensive players on Friday night.
Seniors Eli Bierk and Caleb Gremaud left Friday’s game with knee injuries, while their status for Friday’s game is still in the air, Boss is certain that other players can step up in their absences.
“We might have to rely on some other people this week, that’s all there is to it,” Boss said. “We can’t complain about the loss of a couple starters. We will have to suit up some younger guys and make sure they are prepared for Friday night. Those guys have been working hard like the rest of the team.”
If past meetings between the two teams prove as any indication for what is to come, it will be a close one. Perryville defeated Potosi 10-8 in Week 3 last season, while the Trojans returned the favor with a 17-14 victory in the district tournament. It is also a big game for both conference and district standings as well, a fact that is not lost on Boss.
“This is a big game for both teams,” Boss said. “It will be a step up in competition this week and we are ready for it.”
Kelly at St. Vincent
If there is one name that is on the minds of the St. Vincent defense as it prepares for its week 3 matchup with Kelly, it’s Evan Urhahn. The junior running back for the Hawks rushed for 177 yards and one touchdown in the season opening win over East Prairie and a big part of why Kelly has started 2-0 early on in the season.
“Kelly’s bread and butter is their running game,” St. Vincent coach Tim Schumer said. “They want to chip away at your defense and tire you out by the fourth quarter and the end of the game. Their running back was banged up a little last year, but from everything I’ve heard he’s healthy this year.”
With Urhahn at 100 percent this year, Schumer knows he’s the guy his team has to stop if they wish to win. Last season, Urhahn rushed for three touchdowns in last year’s matchup, a 34-13 Kelly victory.
“With anything on defense it’s about reading your keys and meeting him at the point of attack, and bring a lot of hats to the football to stop him,” Schumer said.
For his team in general, Schumer has preached a sense of urgency in the first half as the Indians have failed to get off to good starts in games this season. That was the problem last week as the Indians fell down 21-0 at halftime against Scott City, before a rally to get within one touchdown in the second half, before ultimately losing 49-35.
“We have to make sure we are having good practices with good energy and just keep preaching it every day,” Schumer said. “We have tried to get off to fast starts in practices and hopefully that carries over in the games. But at some point the players have to buy-in and come out with energy to start games. We can say it until the cows come home, but if the players don’t believe in it, it won’t happen.”
Another aspect the Indians have focused on in practice is the ability to get off the field on third down and prevent the big play. Too many times for Schumer’s liking, the Indians gave up plays in third down and long situations that prolonged drives for Scott City last week, many of which ended in points for the Rams.
“We have to be aware of what the down and distances are,” Schumer said. “Hopefully we can get them behind the sticks and take advantage of those opportunities.”
But it won’t be easy as the Hawks are an up-and-coming program that last year had it’s first winning season, and looks to do it again in 2019.
“Kelly is building a good program and they have a good coach that will have them ready to play Friday night,” Schumer said. “ it should be a good game Friday night.”