The lead in the Mississippi Athletic Conference is on the line this evening as third ranked Pleasant Valley visits seventh rated Muscatine. Pleasant Valley has roared out to a 5-0 start in part due to a suffocating defense that has given up only 23 points all season. In fact the Spartans first team defense has not given up a touchdown.
Pleasant Valley coach Rusty Van Wetzinga says they have some good athletes on the field that can run to the ball. He says they put in some new coverages over the summer to take advantage of that speed and they have done a nice job with it.
The Spartan defense will try to slow down a Muscatine offense led by quarterback Jon Crowe who 16 touchdown passes and more than 13 hundred yards this season. Van Wetzinga says they still need to be focused on stopping the run as he says the running game makes their passing game much more effective.
While happy with their 5-0 start Van Wentzinga says they cannot afford to read their press clippings. “Muscatine is in the same situation we are, they are unbeaten, so they’ve probably gotten some of that too within their own community as we have,” Wetzinga says. He says the players have to stay focused on doing what they are supposed to do and controling what they can control
Muscatine improved to 5-0 last week with a 35-21 victory at Bettendorf. Muscatine coach Jake Mueller says that was mentally a big win to go to a tough place to play and win the game. He says they will need to be balanced against the Pleasant Valley defense.
“We know we are going to have to run the football a little bit to balance things out…we know it’s going to be a very tough task against the physical front that they have,” Mueller says.
The lead in eight-man district eight is up for grabs in Sidney tonight as the seventh ranked Cowboys host fifth ranked and defending state champion Fremont-Mills. Sidney coach Donnie Sears says not only to the Knights have the confidence of a defending champion they look like one as well.
Both teams have racked up big numbers on the ground. If the Cowboys have an advantage it may be their ability to throw the ball as well.
He says they need to be able to keep the defense off the quarterback and they should be able to find some things down field and capitalize on them.
Fremont-Mills coach Jeremy Christiansen says his team has done a good job of handling its role as defending champion. “Playing with a bullseye on your back does add a little bit of spice to the game so to speak, but obviously there’s quite a few people who are picking us not to be the favorite this week. So, it’s kind of nice not to be that underdog in some situations,” Chrisitansen says.
Christiansen says the Sidney program prides itself on being fundamentally sound and this team is no different, and he is expecting a playoff type atmosphere in Sidney.
A pair of unbeatens collide in eight-man district five as fourth ranked Melcher-Dallas visits tenth ranked HLV of Victor. The winner will have at least a share of the district lead.
Melcher-Dallas coach Ryan Conrad says they return guys from a successful season last year and are ready for this challenge. He says HLV will provide a difficult test with pysical runners and linemen who like to pull.
HLV is 5-0 and coach Kevin Smith’s team moved into the Radio Iowa rankings this week. “Those rankings at the end of the year mean a whole more than they do at the end of week six,” Smith says. He says the Warriors feel like the underdog going in.
No matter how much the style of offense changes one thing remains the same: teams that run the ball and stop the run win. That old fashion approach will be on display at Fort Dodge St. Edmonds’ homecoming game as the second ranked Gaels host ninth ranked IKM-Manning in a key district two matchup in class 1A.
Through five games the teams have combined for more than 2,100 yards of rushing and only 55 pass attempts. St. Edmond coach Dick Tighe who says the Gaels base their success on a power ground game and limiting mistakes, keeping things simple.
Tighe says both teams want to run the ball but use different styles as IKM runs a lot of double wing, while his team runs a lot of I-formation offense.
IKM-Manning co-head coach Tom Casey says the keys to the game are good execution and maintaining control on the line of scrimmage.
Casey says field position is always even more important in a game of this magnitude.
“Special teams will play a factor and that means the kicking game, we know that, and so far the kicking game has been good to us,” Casey says.
Chris Varney KGRN Grinnell contirbuted to this report.