Iota looking for Homecoming victory over Kinder
Homecoming is a fun week. It’s also a work week for Iota Bulldogs, which means an increase in focus will be necessary heading into Week Five.
“I felt like in the last two ball games we've played well enough to win, we just lost focus,” said Bulldogs coach Neal Legé. “That's what we talked about (at Monday's practice), maintaining your focus in the ball game.”
The Bulldogs, which fell to 0-4 Thursday night, continue to look for a spark before entering its grueling district schedule.
“This is our last non-district game, hopefully we can put it all together,” said Legé.
Week Five's contest against the Kinder Yellowjackets (3-1) will present another challenge for Iota and, unfortunately for the Bulldogs, Kinder is coming off of a loss that surely had to rile up the Yellowjackets.
“I'm sure they won't be in the best of moods but that was one heck of a ball game and for Westlake to score with only seconds left to beat them, it shows they did really well,” said Legé.
“Kinder has a real good ball club. They have a ton of good skill people on offense and play hard on defense. They do all the little things right. It's going to be a tough week. I still think we can play with them, we just have to control the tempo on offense, control the ball and score, because we know they can and will."
Offensively, the Yellowjackets have been rolling, particularly in the running game.
Take for instance Kinder's Week Two game with Oberlin. The Yellowjackets featured five different players gaining a total of 258 yards on the ground. Iota, by comparison, gained 103 in Week One against the same opponent.
Two names have regularly turn up in the box score for the Yellowjackets this year under rushing – Jordan Vickers and Austin Pickle. In that match up with Oberlin, Vickers rushed for 118 yards.
“Their fullback is a big bruising kind of kid and runs well between the tackles,” said Legé. “But, they have a slurry of backs they use that run well."
Pickle, meanwhile, serves as Kinder's quarterback as well, making him a threat every play, according to Legé.
“Their quarterback does a real good job of executing their offense,” he said.
But long before Iota can worry about the Yellowjackets, they have to worry about themselves.
For four weeks, the Bulldogs have struggled to find consistency, play for four quarters and avoid the mental mistakes. And for all four weeks, just as one problem was fixed another one came to pass.
“We have to maintain focus, especially on deep downs and distances on defense, and on offense, we have to hold onto the ball on crucial downs,” said Legé. “We have to take care of the little things.”
And while Iota's defense has steadily improved since Week One, it will once again be challenged this week.
“We really have been improving,” said Legé. “The last two weeks it's just been a matter of not being able to make the big stop when we needed it. We're working on that and looking to improve on that.”
Offensively, Iota will hopefully receive a jolt this week with the expected return of Adam Ardoin, who has been out since injuring his shoulder in the jamboree. While Iota has seen its three running backs – Kenny Guillory, Nick Sloane and Michael Thevis – all have good games in the past four weeks, the Bulldogs could definitely use a fresh pair of legs, especially considering Guillory, Sloane and Thevis all play defense as well.
“That will help us out on offense,” said Legé. “Of course, he will be limited, but it will be a big plus for us to have him back.”
And the Bulldogs will be without Wyatt Manuel who tore his ACL against Welsh and will be out for the rest of the year.
“You know, he's just coming off of the other ACL,” said Legé. “He was just hitting his groove and starting to play well off of last year's injury.”
The Bulldogs, in the midst of a three-week home stand, will host Kinder Friday, Oct. 4, at 7 p.m.