High School Football Game of the Week Preview Part Two – Mater Dei Versus North
The Wildcats look to continue their undefeated streak while the Huskies hope to continue their strong start to the season with a fourth win and keep themselves in the thick of the city and SIAC title race.
It won't be an easy task as Mater Dei has continued their 2012 season right where their 2011 state title runner-up season left off despite losing 23 players from last year's squad to graduation; with an potent offensive attack led by senior quarterback Jace Hartz and running backs, junior Nolan Goebel and senior Alex Schneider.
In last week's 23-8 win over the Memorial Tigers, Hartz was his usual efficient self, throwing 18 completions on 28 attempts for 167 yards and one touchdown while Goebel carried the ball 20 times for 99 yards and a score.
Coach Mike Goebel and his staff have also fielded another aggressive defense this year despite the aforementioned loss of graduated players. It's a defense that didn't allow Memorial to cross the 50 yard line until 1:05 left in the game. They also caused and recovered three fumbles and intercepted a pass from Tigers QB, Dane Hurley.
The North Huskies, off to one of their better starts in recent memory, were dubbed the "cardiac kids" by head coach, Mike Wilson in a post game interview with the Evansville Courier and Press after edging Harrison last week 41-34. That win followed a 21-20 win over Memorial the week before.
The Huskies are led by senior Blake Howell. The workhorse running back ran for a career high 311 yards and four touchdowns in the win over Harrison. The Wildcats defense will have to keep him in check and force Huskies quarterback, Max Mooney, to pass the ball if they hope to pick up their fifth win of the season.
For the Huskies to win, they'll need to play tight coverage on the Wildcats receiving corp while being careful not to open up the middle of the field and allow the Mater Dei running attack to flourish. Offensively, they'll need to counter the always aggressive and blitz-happy Mater Dei defense with draw plays and short screen passes that, if blocked properly, will allow them to move past incoming defenders and move the ball down the field. String together enough of those plays successfully and it will force the Wildcats to back off the blitz and allow the Huskies time to let plays develop.
The Mater Dei game plan week in and week out is have the offense jump out to an early lead and let the defense loose on the opposing teams quarterback. The Huskies can't let this happen if they want to win. If they do, they'll find it difficult to give deep pass plays the time they need to to play out.
For Mater Dei, the plan simply needs to be, stick to the plan. Strike quickly with a balanced passing and rushing attack, and let the defense tee off on the Huskies with pressure that will force QB Max Mooney in uncomfortable situations of getting rid of the ball sooner than he wants or scrambling to buy himself more time.
Catch every snap during this special Saturday afternoon game on Newstalk 1280AM or live online at Newstalk1280.com with pre-game at 1pm and kickoff at 1:30.