Pregame Outlook

More experienced Trojan team awaits Mustangs

Register Sports Editor

Register/Jocelyn Sheets
Keeping Osawatomie High’s senior running back Jameson Greenwood (24) wrapped up like they did last year is key for Iola High’s Mustangs in Friday’s game at Osawatomie. Here Iola’s senior linebackers Chris Heffern (10) and Kyler Thompson (52) pulled Greenwood down behind the line of scrimmage in last year’s contest in Iola.

Iola High’s Mustangs could not use last year’s game tape of their 45-8 pasting of Osawatomie High’s Trojans as a guide to Friday’s matchup. Why?
Because the Trojans are a different team than that one. Many of the players are back, simply because they were a young team a year ago. The Trojans, who are off to a 2-0 start in 2009, have a new look — offensively and defensively.
“They have totally changed their look on both sides of the football and we’re going into this game expecting a battle with Osawatomie,” said Rick Horton, Mustang head coach.
Kickoff is 7 p.m. Friday at Lynn Dickey Field in Osawatomie.
“We were really young last year. Now our kids have the game-time experience plus we took full advantage of the new coaching rule change for summer,” said Clint Bailey, who is in his fourth year as Trojan head coach.
“We coached them at team camps and scrimmages. It really helped our kids, individually and as a team.”
Gone is the wing-T offense. The Trojans come at opponents in a double-tight end, one back offensive set. Their featured running back is 5-9, 160-pound senior Jameson Greenwood. Junior Seth Jones returns as Osawatomie’s quarterback.
Greenwood rushed for 233 yards on 28 carries and had three touchdowns in last week’s 33-28 win at Tonganoxie. Greenwood has rushed for over 200 yards both Trojan wins this season.
“Our offensive unit is gelling and we know how to score points. We’ve come from behind both weeks to win. We have some good interior linemen this year and we’re taking advantage of them by establishing the running game,” Bailey said. “Jameson is bigger this year and is quick. His yards after first contact numbers are good.”
The Mustangs are coming off their first win of the season — a 45-0 victory over Central Heights. Iola is 1-1 going into Friday’s non-league contest.
“Osawatomie has an outstanding running back, who finds a crease and gets through. He can reverse his direction and get yards. We have to contain him,” said Horton. “Plus, Osawatomie’s offense has been balanced — run and pass. Their quarterback does a good job of throwing the football.”
Again it boils down to the line of scrimmage, both coaches pointed out. And for the third straight game, the Mustangs have the smallest offensive line on the field.
For the Trojans, senior Kody Medina anchors the offensive line as the center. Medina is 5-9 and 300 pounds. At guards are senior Ryan Warner and junior Alex Stookey and in the tackle spots are seniors Cody Wiseman and Tanner Surber. Osawatomie’s line averages 260 pounds each.
Then add senior tight ends Hunter Taylor (200) and Jedd Froggatte (175).
The Mustangs shuffled personnel around on the offensive line.
“We’re trying to find five guys who can get the job done. We made the changes and had a good practice Wednesday running the football,” Horton said.
Iola’s new offensive line has senior Kyler Thompson (6-2, 221) moving to left tackle from the guard spot and senior Darin Hutton (6-1, 260) going from tackle to center. Senior Shane Snavely (6-1, 189) and sophomore Blake Appling (5-11, 188) will get their first starts at the guard positions for Iola. Junior Kyle Heffern (6-0, 207) is the right tackle.
“The hardest part is trying to duplicate Osawatomie’s speed on offense. We come at people with speed defensively and we like the match ups of Ethan and Aaron Fulton and Shane Snavely keeping Osawatomie from turning the corners,” Horton said.
“In practices, we’ve used coach (Ron) Schomaker as a running back and when Marcus (Sullivan, Iola’s starting tailback) isn’t in defensively, we’ve used him. Osawatomie’s tight ends go in motion a lot and become fullbacks so Stephen McDonald and Corey Taylor have played those roles for us so our defense could get an idea of what we’ll face Friday.”
Both coaches said their teams come in the game full force.
“Key elements for us are, offensively, we have to pick up Iola’s blitzing linebackers, and defensively, we have to make sure we stop No. 22 (Sullivan) and put pressure on Iola’s quarterback, who throws well if he has time,” Bailey said.