Ross, Rockets ready for return to FargodomePublished 10:33am Thursday, October 31, 2013
For many, Saturday’s shutout victory over Wheaton/Herman-Norcross was a surprise. The Warriors had been potent on the ground and were averaging 44 points per game. But after their last meeting, Underwood head coach Chuck Ross knew that if his players followed their assignments it was going to be a different ballgame.
“Last time we played we had our players in the right position but everyone wanted to do everyone else’s job,” Ross said. “We simply made sure that everyone stayed home and did what they were supposed to do.”
Underwood was able to stalemate the Warriors in the first half and score 21 unanswered points to move on in the Section 6 9-man playoffs. All in a days work for Ross and his coaching staff.
The core of the Rocket coaching staff has been working together for 15 years. Ross has been aided by defensive coordinator Brian Hovland and offensive line and kickoff return coach Curt Olson and with the help of excellent talent, have made the a trip to the Fargodome a regular occurrence. Ross says the best part of working with Hovland and Olson is that they are friends and all three extremely enjoy the sport of football.
In addition to the trio, junior high coaches Ryan Hendrickson and Dean Woodman are very dedicated to the program and the success of Underwood football.
“Ryan is in the booth and Dean is walking the sidelines looking for keys and helping keep players off the field. They are a huge help and have not missed a game,” Ross said.
Friday, the Rockets will take on the top-seeded Verndale Pirates. The Pirates defeated Underwood by 31 points in the team’s regular season meeting.
“We kind of had the same problem with Verndale the first time as we did with Wheaton and I think it was because we are very young. Our players have been getting better with every game and have learned a lot about their defensive positions throughout the season. Offensively, turnovers killed us last time. We were able to move the ball but only ran nine plays in the first half because of fumbles and interceptions,” Ross said.
Ross and his staff know that they will need to get stud runningback Noah Thompson going early on to control the ball and sustain long Drives. Defensively, the Rockets will have to contain quarterback Dillon Card and play physical on both sides of the ball in order to have success.
With the added excite of playing at the Fargodome, Ross, now making his fifth trip in a decade to the section title game, will have his players prepared for the big stage.
“First of all, it’s going to be unbelievably hot. When you are used to the cold weather that we’ve been having, the heat can be a factor,” Ross said of the indoor climate. “We then tell them that this is every kids Dream…to play on the same field as the Bison and to enjoy the experience, you never know when it will come again.”
The Rockets will take the field at 12:30 p.m. in the Fargodome Friday.