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Trojans to face potent Spirit Lake passing attack in semifinals

No. 2 West Marshall faces No. 3 Indians at UNI-Dome

November 13, 2011
By TRAVIS HINES - T-R Sports Writer (thines@timesrepublican.com) , Times-Republican

STATE CENTER - What the Spirit Lake football team does, it does well.

And it has a lot of players capable of executing the gameplan.

The Class 2A No. 3 Indians' passing game presents an effective and deep challenge to No. 2 West Marshall when the two teams meet Monday in the UNI-Dome in the Iowa High School State Football Playoffs semifinals.

The game will be played at 1:30 p.m. after No. 1 Iowa City Regina (12-0) faces off with No. 7 Beckman Catholic (11-1) at 10:30 a.m.

This will be the second consecutive week the Trojans (12-0) will face an undefeated team as Spirit Lake (12-0) has marched through its schedule without a single game decided by a single possession.

The Indians possess one of Class 2A's top air attacks, ranking fifth in both yards (1,805) and touchdowns (21).

Fact Box

Iowa High School State Football Playoffs

At UNI-Dome, Cedar Falls

CLASS 2A

Semifinals

Monday, Nov. 14

Dyersville Beckman (11-1) vs. Iowa City Regina (12-0), 10:30 a.m.

Spirit Lake (12-0) vs. West Marshall (12-0), 1:30 p.m.

Final

Saturday, Nov. 19

Semifinal winners, 1:05 p.m.

Quarterback Paul Brown is fifth in the class in completion percentage (61.9) among players with at least 50 attempts.

West Marshall should come well prepared for the contest having faced the spread attack of CMB during district play and the sixth-best passing offense in the class last week against PCM.

"They're CMB offense with PCM players, with their speed," said Trojans safety Dalton Ferch.

Brown has thrown for 1,567 yards with 19 touchdowns against four interceptions while spreading the ball around to a deep receiving corps.

"They've got good speed, good athleticism and good balance with what they do," said West Marshall head coach Ken Winkler.

The Indians have four players with at least 16 catches in Zach Herrig (24), Bryson McCabe (19), Rick Maris (18) and Cody Poock (16).

"If you look at them and try to pick out one or two kids that stand out above the other, they don't. They're just very well balanced. Good athletes all the way around," said Winkler.

"Obviously, you can't key on just one. If somebody has good balance, I think the key to playing good defense is play good team defense," he added. "There's 11 guys on the field and they all have to do their job and they all have to run to the ball well."

Poock leads the group with six touchdowns, but is last in receptions. Herrig has 509 yards and five touchdowns on the season. Maris also has caught five TDs.

"We can't target on one person," said Ferch. "Everyone has to play a complete game for us in the secondary."

The Trojans are ninth in the state and tops in Class 2A with 3,894 yards on the ground and will face an Indians defense allowing just 6.42 points per game.

"The defense is fast. Sometimes they have linemen standing up. They do a lot of funky stuff," said West Marshall quarterback Braydn Beals. "They could come out and line up in anything."

West Marshall averages nearly 49 points per game to rank second in the class in scoring, but Spirit Lake isn't far behind with nearly 42 points per night, ranking third the 2A, meaning West Marshall can't count on simply being able to out-offense the Indians.

"You have to make sure everyone has their responsibility and does what they're supposed to do," said West Marshall linebacker Tysen Streeter. "If everyone does what they're supposed to do, we should be fine."