Well, it’s not a normal week of football by any means.
The fifth week of the football season, opening district play for many area teams, has been pushed up a day for much of the state.
The rainfall expected on Friday afternoon and evening looked to doom the contests before the reschedule.
One of those is a unique doubleheader at NelsonCorp Field, where both Camanche and Northeast will be opening up their respective districts.
The Citizens First Bank LumberBowl Double Header will start at 4:45 Thursday with Camanche vs. Tipton.
“Our number one concern is fan and player safety,” said LumberKings General Manager Ted Tornow. “We want to provide a great experience for everyone and with the severe weather anticipated, it was important for all of us to move the game up a day.”
The double header, will mark the third year in the last four the NelsonCorp Field has played host to high school football.
Clinton was originally scheduled to take on Davenport Assumption on Thursday at Brady Street Stadium, leaving their game on as planned.
Central DeWitt is still scheduled for a Friday matchup against North Scott.
Clinton vs Assumption
The young Clinton team is in the thick of the season, and it’s hitting them hard.
Sophomore wide receiver Logan Mulholland is out for the season with a knee injury, leaving the offense without a key player. Plus, senior Jasper Luckritz is out another week with a concussion, leaving a big hole on defense.
In their 48-0 loss to Wahlert Catholic last week, they looked tired.
“We’ve got some young kids who are getting their first exposure to varsity football and the pains that go with that,” head coach Jon Wauford said. “You can imagine, it’s increased when you’re the smaller of the two combatants. A lot of our young kids are beat up.”
The offense was unable to get anything going against the Golden Eagles, the defense just running straight through the block to hit either quarterback Jai Jensen or the Clinton rush.
“It’s something we have to address,” Wauford said. “You have to get your offense on the field and keep your offense on the field. We had some protection issues and we’re working on correcting those.”
In a notoriously tough 3A district, the River Kings will open up against Davenport Assumption. The Knights are currently 2-2, while the Kings have not won a game.
“When you get knocked down, the only appropriate response is to get up,” Wauford said. “Get up and do your job, take pride in what you do and do it right. That’s what we’re asking. It has nothing to do with who our opponent is.”
Assumption throws the ball about 12 times a game, only scoring three times this season off passes from quarterback Tyler kulhanek. Kulhanek, however, has over 400 rushing yards as well.
The run was somewhere they struggled last week, and something the defense will have to be ready for again.
“It’s about us playing as a team, learning the concept of personal accountability and those things are some of the great things the game of football teaches us,” Wauford said. “If we want to get things done as a team everybody’s got to pitch in and everybody’s got to do their job or it doesn’t work.”
Camanche vs Tipton
The Indians picked up a huge win over Class 3A Central DeWitt last week on overtime, downing the Sabers 40-37.
That’s not without a fight. The Indians struggled with turnovers throughout the entire game with a number of fumbles and picks thrown.
“Honestly, I’m still trying to wrap my head around it,” head coach Dustin Coit said. “We had seven turnovers and we won the game. We gave DeWitt a short field numerous times because of turnovers. Our defense did a great job, we just gave up points because of turnovers.”
Cade Everson had a breakout game as well, rushing for 142 yards and scoring 4 times, with his own interception.
“We know he runs hard and is a good runner, he did a really nice job running,” Coit said. “Plus, our offensive line played really well.”
Now, they have a bit of adversity to open district play.
They learned in the early afternoon on Wednesday that kickoff was moved to Thursday at NelsonCorp Field. In addition to the terrain of the ballpark, they will kick off at 4:45 p.m. – unusual for a varsity start time.
“We had to scramble a little bit with our practice plan,” Coit said. “A lot of different things, but you got to play the game bottom line.”
Plus, quarterback Jordan Lawrence is out for the time being with a knee injury. Caleb Delzell threw the majority of the DeWitt game for the Indians and will start again on Thursday.
With the winner of the district automatically moving to the postseason, the Indians are eyeing the crown. They kick things off with the Tipton Tigers.
“Our district is pretty wide open,” Coit said. “Tipton is really good though. They’re one of the better 2-2 teams I’ve ever seen on film.”
The Tigers don’t bring much of a passing game to the table, but have impressive yards amassed of the run. The Camanche defense has allowed more than three scores just once this season and will be a key to a victory on Thursday.
“Our kids are excited and confident,” Coit said. “We’ve had good practices, they’re focused. We have to stop the run, they throw the ball like nine times a game. Their offense is a little goofy with a lot of misdirection so we have to make sure we’re not stuck staring at all that.”
Northeast vs Beckman
The Rebels had two close games in a row, but finally got a win last week over Alburnett, a 27-0 shutout victory.
“It was a good win for us,” head coach Mark Lee, who notched his first victory at the head of the program. “The defense played great and we were able to contain them. The offense did a nice job, put points on the board.”
They’re bringing some of that momentum into their district opener with Beckman on Thursday night at the ballpark.
“Each week we’ve gained momentum,” Lee said. “We’ve improved each and every week and we’re looking to continue that trend, improving and getting better at what we’re doing.”
With the second timeslot of the LumberBowl doubleheader, the Rebels will take on Beckman Catholic. The Blazers bring a dual threat to the table: quarterback Nick Offerman has nearly 600 yards and they have 700 rushing yards between Evan Wulfekuhle and Offerman.
“We’re all going to have to swarm the ball,” Lee said. “They have some quick running backs who are going to try to get to the edge and we’re going to have to all pursue to get to that ball.”
Easton Valley vs Springville
The River Hawks are feeling good right now.
They’re coming off of a 58-8 win over Midland, an 8-man powerhouse, lifting the program to 4-0 for the first time.
“That was a great win,” head coach Tony Johnson said. “It was a situation where they had dominated us for four years, and we had total focus all week and the boys performed on Friday night.”
They’re welcoming a 4-1 Springville team to Preston on Thursday, looking to not only pick up another district win but also stay perfect.
Springville has forced 12 interceptions and fumbles throughout the season so far thanks to a quick defense, and has talent in both the quarterback position and the running back position.
Not unlike the RiverHawks themselves.
“They’re very talented and mirror us a lot,” Johnson said. “They throw the ball and run the ball, too, so a lot of different concepts we have to be ready for. At the end of the day it’s going to come down to tackling and blocking and I like our chances there.”
Kick off is at 6:30 p.m. for the contest on Thursday.