October 31, 2014

Small colleges prepare for football playoffs

Fast break, high scoring college football in the state of Oregon is not limited to the Oregon Ducks. Southern Oregon brings an offense that is averaging 54 points per game to Davenport to take on St. Ambrose in the opening round of the NAIA playoffs.

St. Ambrose coach Mike Magistrelli says it is a difficult preparation for his defense as Southern puts up videogame type numbers with their extremely fast offense. He says there isn’t a team in the league that plays like Southern and they have tried to copy that look to go against it in practice.

St. Ambrose will need to rely on its balanced attack and Magistrelli says the fighting Bees cannot afford to turn the ball over. He says you can’t give them a short field or easy opportunity. St. Ambrose is 9-1 and ranked eighth in the NAIA. Southern Oregon is 8-2 and ranked 10th.

William Penn will make its first post season appearance since 1975 when the Statesmen visit defending national champion St. Xavier of Illinois in the opening round of the NAIA playoffs. Penn coach Todd Hafner says St Xavier features a lot of speed on both sides of the ball.

Hafner says they are a little undersized on defense, but they make up for it with speed. Hafner hopes the short week of preparation will be an advantage for the Statesmen triple option offense. He says they pairings were not released until Sunday and that only give you about 3 good days to prepare on defense.

Hafner says his team is excited by the challenge and says if they can execute early in the game then they will give themselves a chance to win.

William Penn is 9-2 and ranked 13th. St. Xavier is ranked fourth and stands 9-1.

Coe College opens the NCAA division three national playoffs at home on Saturday against Elmhurst College. Coe finished the regular season 10-0 and this is the third playoff appearance in four years for coach Jerry Staker’s team. Staker says the Kohawks are glad to be at home, and it was an incentive heading into their last game.

The game will match a stingy Coe run defense against an Elmhurst running attack that averages 252 yards per game. Staker says running the football is their bread and butter and stopping the run is the specialty of his defense, so the game will likely be decided on turnovers.

Unbeaten Morningside opens the NAIA playoffs at home on Saturday against Montana Tech. Morningside has the nations top ranked defense and will go up against a Montana Tech offense that averages 416 yards per game.

Morningside coach Steve Ryan who says Montana Tech it is unlike any offense they have faced this season as they spread the field out and run a very wide open offense.

Ryan says in the playoffs mistakes and turnovers are magnified, and both defenses have done a good job all season of creating turnovers.