Game of the Week: Three items to watch between Winner and Mount Vernon/Plankinton

Mount Vernon/Plankinton's Lincoln Klooz (23) runs with the ball against Wagner on Sept. 4 in Mount Vernon. (Jeremy Karll / Republic)

When/Where: 7 p.m. today in Mount Vernon.

Coaches: Winner’s Trent Olson; Mount Vernon/Plankinton’s Brent Olson.

Last year: Winner won last year’s meeting, 14-6.

Records: Winner is 4-0 and No. 1 in Class 11B; Mount Vernon/Plankinton is 2-2.

Here are three items to watch for in tonight’s Daily Republic Game of the Week between Winner and Mount Vernon/Plankinton:


Familiar foes

The Class 11B powers have played some memorable battles the past three seasons.

Winner edged Mount Vernon/Plankinton by a 14-6 score last season. The Titans clipped the Warriors, 30-28, in 2018 and Winner won the 2017 matchup by a 20-14 margin.

“Every game has come down to the last play of the game,” Winner coach Trent Olson said. “You expect a tough, hard fought football game with a lot of running and not a lot of throwing. It should be physical and two-discplined teams.”

The coaches are also well-acquainted with each other. Olson’s brother, Brent, is MVP’s head coach. The brothers have faced each other in the past, but this one is a little different. Trent is now Winner’s head coach after serving as an assistant coach for over 18 years. Another brother, Sam, is also on Winner’s coaching staff.

“I never look forward to this game as there are two brothers on their coaching staff,” Brent said. “That’s kind of a no-win situation and not that much fun for me. Obviously, I am rooting for my brothers the rest of the season, but it’s kind of one of those games you don’t talk to each other as much as during a normal week.”

In addition to the brothers, there are cousins involved in the action. Cousins -- Michael Olson (Winner) and Isaiah Olson (Mount Vernon/Plankinton) -- will suit up in the contest.

The Olson’s parents -- Norma and George -- will also be in attendance.

Run, run, run

The teams rely heavily on running the football.


In Winner’s last contest on Sept. 11, it rushed for 399 yards (passing for only 16 yards) and possessed the ball for 30 minutes.

In MVP’s win over Chamberlain on Sept. 18, the Titans rushed for 234 yards and held onto the ball for 26 minutes.

Stopping that ground game and controlling the clock on offense will be MVP’s main objectives.

“Two teams that like to run the football,” Brent Olson said. “So you have to value every possession and make sure you don’t turn the thing over with fumbles in a heavy-run game like this.”

Trent Olson echoed his brother’s sentiments about the limiting mistakes.

“Turnovers and not putting the ball on the ground,” Trent Olson said. “That’s always huge in games like that. … You just can’t afford to put the ball on the ground.”


Players to watch

With both teams committed to running the ball, naturally the running backs grab the headlines.

Winner’s Sam Kruger has rushed for 427 yards on 39 carries and has five touchdowns. Quarterback Brady Fritz has rushed for 237 yards and two scores, while throwing for another 106 yards.

But Trent Olson said multiple players will be called upon to carry the load.

“We have six, seven backs that carry the ball regularly and depth is a big thing for us,” Trent Olson said. “... We kind of have a tendency to wear on teams as the game goes on.”

For MVP, Lincoln Klooz (341 yards) and Rylee Deinert (255 yards) power its ground attack. Fullback Tre Jones (124 yards) also packs a punch from the backfield. Quarterback Reed Rus has thrown for 266 yards, while rushing for another 150 yards.

“Lincoln Klooz and Rylee Deinert have both done a really nice job at the wingback positions,” Brent Olson said. “Reed Rus both running the ball and throwing it. We don’t throw it a whole lot, but he probably has the best arm we’ve had in a long time here and the kid can really fling it.”

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