TGU faces tough defensive test against Linton/HMB
In 9-man postseason football news, the TGU Titans (5-4) will face their next challenge against the Linton/HMB Lions (6-2) on Saturday following a 42-28 road triumph over Grant County/Flasher last weekend.
A week ago, TGU’s offense attempted 64 rushes compared to only three passes. While TGU head coach Ben Wollenzien tells the Minot Daily News his club will look to initiate the offense via the run on Saturday, he states last week’s heavy emphasis on the run was an anomaly due to inclimate conditions. “We’ve been a pretty balanced offense this year, but last week was different because the weather and the snow didn’t allow us to open up the passing game,” Wollenzien says. “The kids were aware of the unique situation, and I thought they follow our gameplan to a tee.”
Coming into this matchup, coach Wollenzien shares the Lions are a well coached unit that is also equipped with postseason experience. To combat the experience of Linton, TGU senior halfbacks Brodey Keller and Cody Frounfelter will get the bulk of the ball carrying responsibilities. The two upperclassmen running backs accounted for 52 of TGU’s 64 rushes in last week’s victory.
In addition to Keller and Frounfelter, the Titans’ head coach also feels strongly that senior signal caller Cy Luna will also play a major role in TGU’s offensive plans this Saturday. A converted wide receiver who is in his first year as starting quarterback, Wollenzien says Luna’s competitive drive and overall toughness is what sets him apart from most other first-year varsity starters at the quarterback position. “He plays with great heart and determination. He’s been banged up a little this season, and refuses to give in. Other players see that, and they follow his lead, Cy is definitely a guy you can trust,” Wollenzien continues.
Meanwhile, Linton has some offensive weapons of their own that the TGU defense is well aware of. Dual threat senior quarterback Lucas Schumacher, as well as senior workhorse halfback Trey Jacob are among Linton’s key contributors on offense. In last week’s playoff game against Surrey, Linton secured a decisive 24-6 win.
In order to keep their postseason run alive, coach Wollenzien believes his club will have its greatest chance for success by controlling the clock while winning the time of possession battle on offense. Additionally, the TGU football mentor stresses the importance of playing assignment football at all three levels of the defense. “Schumacher is really tough to deal with in the open field, so our defense needs to keep him in the pocket and force him to make plays from there. We have to play smart and play our game, that includes the defensive line, linebackers and everyone in our defensive backfield have to be on the same page.”