ACGC faces state veteran today
The Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City football program had trouble getting into the state tournament until this season. With numerous chances in section championship games since its 2001 Class AA title, ACGC had struck out until beating Belgrade-Brooten-...
The Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City football program had trouble getting into the state tournament until this season.
With numerous chances in section championship games since its 2001 Class AA title, ACGC had struck out until beating Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa 15-6 last Friday for the Section 4A title.
The Falcons' opponent today in Chaska, New Ulm Cathedral, hasn't had that particular problem. The Greyhounds (10-1) have qualified for the Class A tournament in four of the last five years.
Their recent dilemma has been getting out of the first round. The contest to decide a worthy semifinalist starts at 7 p.m.
New Ulm Cathedral reached the state tournament for the thir straight year. But the Greyhounds fell to Blooming Prairie last season and to Springfield in 2008, scoring only eight points in each game.
Coach Denny Lux doesn't put a lot of stock in the experience factor.
"As far a state tournament experience, I really feel each year is different and each team needs to understand what the game is really about," he noted in an email. "This will be a good high school football game."
The Greyhounds lost to Springfield in the season opener, then rumbled through 10 consecutive wins, including clubbing the Tigers in the Section 2A championship. In three postseason games, Cathedral has outscored opponents 122-38.
They score in a lot of ways. On the ground, the three leading rushers for the Greyhounds have found the end zone 23 times, led by junior running back Eric Hauser, who has 10. Hauser is also one of three backs to run for at least 600 yards, pacing Cathedral with 864. Junior Nick Simon has 791 yards and eight TDs, and senior Aaron Pfaff had 663 yards and five TDs.
Senior quarterback Kevin Larson has thrown for 1,030 yards and 17 TDs. Much like the rushing load, the receptions are spread to a number of receivers. Senior tight end Brandon Berg's 14 catches for 314 yards and seven TDs leads the team.
"We have to be able to stay with our assignments," ACGC coach Terry Karlsgodt said. "We have to play disciplined. They have a lot of play action and throw to the flats. We have to make some stops."
The Falcons will throw their two 1,000-yard backs at the Greyhounds' defense. Junior running back Erik Whitcomb has 1,170 yards rushing and 14 TDs, followed by senior quarterback Mitch Tauer's 1,040 yards and 19 TDs. Tauer has thrown for 438 yards and five more touchdowns.
"ACGC is a very well coached team. Their coaching staff has many years of experience and it's obvious they have a passion for the game," said Lux. "Their players are disciplined and play hard. They will run the ball first and get first downs and drive the ball downfield. They have a very skilled athlete at (quarterback) and complement him with a very solid backfield. On defense their coaching staff uses an excellent scheme by using their players well."
With two running teams on the gridiron, field position may be one of the keys to watch. The other, according to Karlsgodt, is the "game within the game".
"With our style, we try to create mismatches by moving things around," he said. "Another big part of the game is who is going to control the offensive line."