A major piece of the title puzzle in Class A District 4 could go into place tonight in Ackley. The third-ranked AGWSR Cougars are 3-0 on the year and opened the district schedule last week with a 46-21 win over Grundy Center. Head coach Skip Eckhardt says fundamentals will be the key to a win tonight over eighth-rated Wapsie Valley.
The AGWSR ground game loaded up on yardage against the Spartans last week, but the Wapsie Valley rushing attack will be contending with injuries as the Warriors prepare for tonight. “our biggest problem is trying to figure out how to stop a powerful double wing offense,” Eckhardt says.
Wapsie Valley is 2-1, but needed a big second half and some key special teams plays to put North Tama away in a 40-7 final last week to start district play. “Wehn you are not running the ball real well and not moving it real well, special teams can give you a spark, and it did. That was key to the victory for us,” Eckhardt says.
It is a marquee non-district match up tonight as the second ranked in Class 2A New Hampton Chickasaws will take on the second ranked in Class 1A South Winneshiek Warriors. New Hampton Head Football Coach Scott Frerichs says that although this is a non district game, the preparation is the same.
It is Homecoming Week for New Hampton and Coach Frerichs points out that it is great for community involvement, but hopes his team is not distracted by it. “It’s a time that supposed to be fun for the kids and the community and you’ve got to make sure that that can happen. I think once you get to playing the football game, everything else goes away,” Frerichs says.
South Winneshiek coach Jason Ohrt says it will be a good challenge for his team. He says you don’t get to play a playoff caliber team much during the season. Ohrt says New Hampton has a lot of weapons, running the ball well and also with screens.
Austin Draude, KLMJ, Hampton, Tad Barry, KCZE, New Hampton and Darin Svenson, KDEC, Decorah all contributed to this story.