Don’t expect to see the ball in the air very often on Friday night between Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City and Minnewaska. It’ll be a ground-and-pound showdown at Veterans Field at Glenwood State Bank Stadium.

On the way to 2-0 starts, both the Falcons and Lakers have stayed on the ground and done substantial damage to opposing defenses. While the two teams have combined for just 24 pass attempts, both ACGC (58.0 points/game) and Minnewaska (44.0 points/game) are racking up points courtesy of the running game.

According to MNFootballHub.com, no running back has had a bigger workload this fall than the Falcons’ Cael Blom. The senior runner has 58 carries for 398 yards and five touchdowns. Alfter a 257-yard, four-touchdown performance in the season opener against Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa, Blom followed with 27 carries and 141 yards in the Falcons’ 49-6 win over Sauk Centre.

But Blom is far from ACGC’s only rushing threat. Malcolm Ludwig has also been nearly as effective, averaging 6.8 yards per carry to Blom’s 6.9. Ludwig has 285 yards and four scores on 42 attempts. Quarterback Luke Trebil has also used his legs effectively for 87 yards and a pair of scores while also throwing four touchdown passes.

Minnewaska’s ground attack has been led by junior Tyson Meyer, who is averaging 13.0 yards per carry with 273 yards and four touchdowns on 21 attempts. Last week, Meyer broke off touchdown runs of 72, 2 and 32 yards in a 10-carry, 187-yard effort in the Lakers’ 47-14 victory at Kimball. Quarterback Grant Jensen had 14 carries for 90 yards and two touchdowns, and Max Reichmann is third on the team with 77 yards and two touchdowns on 14 attempts.

The Lakers have also thrived thanks to a strong defense that is holding teams to 7.0 points/game while tallying seven takeaways and holding teams to 46.0 rushing yards per game.

In two matchups in 2018, Minnewaska got the better of ACGC both times, with a 43-16 win in Week 2 and a 21-7 victory in the Section 5AA semifinals.

Area schedule

(Games at 7 p.m. unless noted)

Friday

Willmar at Big Lake

Watertown-Mayer at New London-Spicer

Litchfield at Glencoe-Silver Lake

Paynesville at Maple Lake

ACGC at Minnewaska

Morris/CA at Montevideo

MACCRAY at YME

Long Prairie-Grey Eagle at BBE

Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s at BLHS

Wheaton/Herman-Norcross at Hancock

Upsala/Swanville at Benson

Osakis at BOLD

Dawson-Boyd at LQPV

Nicollet at RCW

Browerville/Eagle Valley at KMS