Mayer: Cowboys, Jaguars ready to rumble
Regardless of class, today's nine-man contest between Corsica-Stickney and Colome has all the ingredients for another classic. Two high-powered offenses will collide as unbeaten records, bragging rights and a conference title are all at stake whe...
Regardless of class, today's nine-man contest between Corsica-Stickney and Colome has all the ingredients for another classic.
Two high-powered offenses will collide as unbeaten records, bragging rights and a conference title are all at stake when Class 9A No. 1 Corsica-Stickney (6-0) takes on Class 9B No. 2 Colome (6-0) at 7 p.m today in Colome.
The two Great Plains Conference foes played two tightly contested games last year as Corsica-Stickney edged Colome 16-14 in the season-opener. But Colome got the last laugh, besting Corsica-Stickney 28-27 in the semifinals before going on to win the Class 9B state championship.
I covered last year's season-opener in Corsica and it's not a stretch for me to say that was one of the best down to the wire football games I've witnessed in my three-plus years as a sports reporter for The Daily Republic. Great atmosphere, you can feel the rivalry, and both teams had plenty of playmakers on the field. From what we've seen the first six games this season, there's no reason to think today's game will be any different.
But as Jaguar head coach Jason Broughton was quick to point out, last year doesn't have anything to do with this year. Broughton said his team hasn't discussed last year's playoff loss to the Cowboys once leading into this game.
"We lost 10 seniors from that team, this is a different team, different season with different kids," Broughton said via email. "(We're) focused on getting better which is our goal everyday, tackle better and sustain our blocks longer."
Broughton added today's game will have big playoff implications, but he stressed his team is excited for a hard-fought game. And more importantly, this year's teams are in different classes, no longer both in Class 9B.
For those lucky enough to attend this game, expect to see some scoring. The host Cowboys are averaging 52.3 points per game, while the Jaguars are averaging 50.8 points per game. Both teams have showcased the ability to bust big plays throughout the first half of the season and Colome first-year head coach Ben Connot said big plays could define the outcome.
Connot said his team hurt itself with penalties that wiped out scoring plays in Colome's 20-14 win over Scotland last week. For comparison, Corsica-Stickney beat Scotland 44-6 two weeks earlier, but Connot said his team learned lessons from last week's close contest.
"You can take positives from it. It's good to play in close games, but there are things we could've done better and we have to do those better against Corsica-Stickney," Connot said. "We have to be disciplined, read our keys and when we have a chance to make a play, we have to make them."
Colome's defense is allowing an average of nine points per game, but the Cowboys will have their hands full with the Jaguar offense. The Jaguars have lit up the scoreboard this season, scoring through the air, on the ground and on special teams. Quarterback Blake Moke orchestrates the attack, while Bryce Plamp and Caysen Eide have emerged as big-play threats. Landon DeBoer and Gavin Zomer have also been receiving and rushing threats.
Corsica-Stickney's defense has recorded three shutouts this season and is holding teams to an average of seven points per game. The Jaguars will look to slow down Colome's offense, which is led by quarterback Layton Thieman. Thieman looks to get the ball to playmakers Chase Dufek, Jackson Kinzer, Kolton Salonen and Wyatt Cahoy.
"Anytime we can be at home and show our community what we got and what we can do, we're excited about it," Connot said. "We're excited about the atmosphere."
The teams aren't the only ones who are excited about what should be another great chapter in the nine-man rivalry.