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Saturday, Apr. 19, 2014

Champions looking for road win

Thursday, September 20, 2012

(Photo)
The Champs will storm the field on Friday night in Woodbury at 7 p.m.
(T-G File Photo by Chris Siers)
Two weeks ago the Cascade Champions (4-1, 2-0 9-A) were dealt their first loss of the season by Wayne County.

Needing a shot in the arm to put Cascade back into the win column, the Champs got exactly what they needed with a 39-0 win over the Huntland Hornets last week.

"I thought our kids did a better job preparing themselves Monday through Thursday. We traveled a lot better and we were more focused on the trip down," said Cascade coach Kenny Parker.

In the loss to Wayne County, Parker felt his team wasn't mentally prepared and that led to the loss.

But last week, the Champs did what they needed to in order to be mentally strong against a district opponent.

Improved focus

"I thought our mental focus was a lot better on the road. Hopefully it will be each week. The maturity aspect of it is you go on the road--you're on business and you have a job to do," he said.

Even with the win, Parker still feels there's room to improve this week.

"We're still making mistakes and we have to correct those mistakes. We had too many turnovers last week. We were able to get a few turnovers, but you can't always count on those. We have to do a better job with that part of the game," he said.

While working on ball protection, Parker still feels the offensive line played well against the Hornets.

"We've got to protect the ball better. I thought we missed a few assignments up front, but I thought our offensive line did a better job of playing downhill than last week. We were aggressive off the football. We changed our stances from a two-point stance to a three-point stance and I feel like that really helped," he said.

While the line made significant improvements with the adjustments, defensively the Champs were able to make a few improvements as well.

"I thought our secondary did a better job of covering routes and I thought our linebackers did a better job of playing downhill and being aggressive," he said.

QB battle heats up

While the team is entering week six of the season, the Champs still have a battle for starting quarterback between Chandler Sulcer and Baron Hoffmeister.

"Baron had a good week at practice last week. That will be a game time decision. I don't know if we're going to be in a two quarterback system, but I feel like we can win with both of them," Parker said.

Hoffmeister initially got the starting job at the beginning of the season, but was sidelined in week two due to an ankle injury. That's when Parker turned to Sulcer as the signal caller.

With the game against the Hornets in the books, the Champs' focus has shifted to non-district foe Cannon County on Friday night.

Last week, the Champs were as sound as they've been on the offensive side of the ball. Sophomore running back Creed Rose has led the Champions' ground game throughout the season this far. Last week he amassed 253 yards and three touchdowns.

Sound offensive execution

Parker expects that type of offensive execution to continue this week with a more focused team intent protecting the ball and implementing some of the additional work put in during practice hours this week.

"I expect us to be more mature and more focused and to eliminate some of these mistakes that we've been making," he said.

So far this season, Cannon County has been outscored 192-20. If the Champs can protect the ball and win the turnover battle, there's a good chance Cascade can put away the Lions before diving back into the district schedule.

The Champs kick off at 7 p.m. Friday in Woodbury.


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