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The personnel has changed. And as a result, the scheme has shifted.
Gone is the wing-it-and-fling-it attack that Cascade has employed through the past few football seasons. In its place is an effective ground attack.
“We’re going to coach to the level of the kids and put them in the best position to be successful,” Cougars Coach Tim Frake said Saturday, a day after Cascade ran for more than 300 yards in a 28-13 win over DeWitt Central.
“The last few years, we had the athletes and the speed to spread people out. Now, we have big linemen and strong running backs, so we’re going to run.”
The Cougars threw the ball more than 200 times in each of the last three seasons. Through two games this year, it’s been in the air just 12 times.
“We can still throw it when we need to,” Frake said. “But we have the backs and line that we can rely on.”
Austin Lieurance ran for about 150 yards Friday, and has more than 300 yards this season. Quarterback John Larkin ran for about 100.
“The first week (a 47-12 rout of Maquoketa), we were able to be successful on the ground, so that’s what we did,” Frake said.
Cascade’s line is big and experienced. Center Logan Smith is a three-year starter, and three of the guys up front are 260 pounds or bigger.
Eight of the top 10 teams in Class 2A lost Friday, so it’s likely the Cougars will be ranked in The Gazette’s poll Tuesday. They host No. 1 North Fayette Valley in their 2A District 4 opener Friday.
“Every week, you’ve got to come ready to play in this district,” Frake said.
Two area teams — Union and Lisbon — are among four throughout the state that have not yet surrendered a point.
Union allowed just 71 total yards and four first downs in a 50-0 rout of Vinton-Shellsburg on Friday. The Knights collected 21 tackles for loss and four sacks.
“The defense has been playing lights out,” Knights Coach Joe Hadachek said. “We made some X-and-O changes in our defense a couple years ago, and the guys have really taken it to the next level. Our linebacker play has been outstanding.”
Union handled Marion, 35-0 in Week 1.
Lisbon has wins over Winfield-Mount Union (54-0) and North Cedar (35-0) under its belt.
Van Meter and Cardinal are the other two teams in the state yet to surrender a point.
Washington (Iowa) quarterback Ryan Reighard is a two-way threat, to say the least.
Reighard ran for 296 yards on 21 carries and scored three touchdowns in the Demons’ 49-14 defeat of Mid-Prairie on Friday. If that’s not enough, he completed 21 of 25 passes for 256 yards and four touchdowns.
Add that up, and it’s 552 yards of total offense, and seven scores. He has 859 yards of total yardage in two games, and Washington is a dominant 2-0.
District play opens in all classes except 4A next week.
Four district games — including the aforementioned NFV-Cascade clash — match teams with unbeaten records.
In addition, Union is at Monticello in Class 2A District 4, Sigourney-Keota visits Highland in 1A District 4 and Lone Tree travels to Springville in 8-Player District 4.
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