Rockets open against runner-up WarriorsPublished 8:20am Thursday, August 23, 2012
The yard lines have been painted, the hash marks have been cut into the field and there is the sweet smell of fall in the air as the Underwood Rockets kickoff their 2012 football season against the Wheaton/Herman Norcross Warriors Friday at 7 p.m.
The Rockets open their season at home in a week zero matchup against last year’s state runner-up.
This is an early matchup that was put into motion by a scheduling conflict, sending the previous season schedule out the window.
“I’m really not in favor of it, because it takes a week’s vacation away from the kids and my assistant coaches,” Rockets head coach Chuck Ross said. “But under the circumstances it was the only thing we could do.”
Ross’ Rockets are well prepared, though, as they look to establish the run game and control the clock against the Warriors.
Defensively, Underwood will need to set the tone early and prevent Wheaton from using their deadly play action passing game, setup by a punishing run game that helped them get to the state title game a season ago.
“I know they graduated a lot of their linemen and most of their backfield, but every year they seem to find the right spots for the kids coming up,” Ross added.
The Rockets will be at 100 percent when the game begins as Coach Ross has toned back the hitting this week and focused on technique in preparation for the game.
The Rockets will hit the field at 7 p.m. as they host Wheaton/Herman-Norcross Friday night.
Spartans open against the Thunder
The M State Spartan football team will look to open their season with a win Friday evening as they travel to take on the Fond Du Lac Community College Thunder in Cloquet.
The Spartans finished two-a-days healthy, but will be without sophomores Chase Johansen (DE) of Fergus Falls and Jon Brower (OL) of Waubun due to injury.
Head Coach of the Thunder, Keith Turner, has been known to put out defenses that throw a lot of pressure at the quarterback and M State expects to see much of the same this season.
“We have been looking at several different ways to keep them guessing,” Spartan assistant coach Dylan Stender said. “We have been focusing on excuting our plays under pressure throughout the week.”
The Spartan offense will plan on using multiple looks to keep freshman quarterback Jarrod Mold upright and open running lanes for the fearsome duo of running backs Victor Lumley (Holdingford) and Hayden Zenner (Fergus Falls).
Defensively, Head Coach Steve King has taken over play calling duties and will look for sophomore captains Eric Riley (FS), Zach Taylor (SS), Garrett Stokeling (LB) and Andrew Brooks (DE) to put pressure on the Thunder’s spread offensive attack.
The Spartans will kickoff their season at 7 p.m. at the Cloquet High School football field Friday night.