Rockets ready for rematchPublished 11:05am Thursday, November 1, 2012
Coach Chuck Ross and the Underwood Rockets are not thinking about the beginning of the season.
The early season blemish against their Section 4 9-man opponent Wheaton/Herman-Norcross in a week zero matchup does not tell the story of where the Underwood football team is now — or where they plan to go.
“Playing a great team like Wheaton, the first game of the season probably wasn’t the most ideal situation, but it taught us a lot of things about our team,” Ross said. “I think that we have matured throughout the season and we have finally found our niche.”
The Rockets head into the game coming off a 26-16 win over Verndale Saturday, adding to a nine game winning streak, while the Warriors defeated two seeded Onamia handedly 40-18.
The test for the Rockets will be to see if they can knock off last season’s state runner-up and cash their ticket into the state tournament.
The Warriors used their well documented mix of run and play action to beat Underwood on their home field 26-8 in the opener.
This time the game will be played at a neutral field — the Fargodome.
The dome should help the Rockets in the pursuit of their second state berth in the last three years as their dominant run game should find traction on the speedy turf.
“It’s no secret that the strength of our team is our offensive line and our backs. I’ve kind of taken on the philosophy of Neil Hoffland who coached some great teams down at Chokio-Alberta. His philosophy was, “here we come, try and stop it,” Ross added.
Underwood’s practices this week have seen them polish their plays and tone back on their contact. But the team has amped up their conditioning for the game.
“Playing inside the dome and the warmer climate wears a team out much quicker. So, we actually ondition more as we get ready for an indoor game.”
Ross isn’t worried about his team having any pre-game jitters playing in front of a large crowd as most of the players were apart of the 2010 state run that played in both the Fargodome and the Metrodome.
This year’s Rockets team has several things in common with the state team as they both have great line play on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball and have several proven leaders in running back Chase Collins, quarterback Noah Rocholl and the defensive attack of Steffan Stroh, Tony Onstad and Leroy Hauge.
Underwood should enter the game healthy, minus a few bumps and bruises sustained from last week’s game.
The festivities will kickoff at 10 a.m. Friday with games following until 10:30 p.m.