HARTINGTON — Yes, football season is coming to a Northeast Nebraska town near you this weekend.
That sigh you just breathed was relief in the world of COVID-19.
Things kick off 7 p.m., Friday, for the Cedar Catholic Trojans who head to O’Neill for their first go of 2020.
“For the first game we are always looking at a lot of things,” Cedar coach Chad Cattau said. “We know we will do a lot of things well, but we will also make mistakes. The biggest thing is to make sure we are prepared for a lot of things, since in week-one you never know for sure what you will get from your opponent. If we play hard, and play at a consistent level for all four quarters we know we will have an opportunity to win this game.
“We also need to make sure we limit some of those game-one mistakes such as false starts, substitution issues and ball security. Those areas are very important early in the season.”
O’Neill is a recent C1 state champion and has established plenty of winning ways of late.
“Because of that, we know they understand what it takes to win and the day to day effort that goes into being competitive on Friday nights,” Cattau said. “They have a very respected coaching staff that will have their kids very well prepared. They are a team that likes to mix up the run and pass and keep teams off balance. Their quarterback returns from last season and he is a dangerous player, so we will need to try and keep him in check.”
Cattau said the Trojan skill position players will need to step up as they have the most experience returning from the 2019 playoff squad.
“We are playing quite a few linemen that will get their most significant varsity level snaps of their careers, so we know they will make some mistakes,” Cattau said. “Hopefully, our veteran guys can help balance that out with their experience.”
Just playing is a great thing, Cattau said.
“It’s been a long journey to get back to seeing live athletics for our high school kids and I know everyone is excited to get to see the kids compete again,” he said. “I am really looking forward to getting to be a part of them getting back playing a game that so many of them love to be a part of.”
The playoff-hopeful Wildcats kick things off in Randolph at 7 p.m., Friday, and the hope is another win like last fall’s 38-32 home win.
“We want to come out and compete from the opening kickoff,” H-N head coach Corey Uldrich said. “We’ll have a lot of guys getting their first taste of football on a Friday night under the lights, so we’ll be looking for players to step up and fill some key roles for us. I want our kids to trust each other and the coaches, and if we do that, we’ll put ourselves in a good position.”
Uldrich has noted the level of coaching Randolph has and expects a high level of competition as the Cardinals return RB/LB Justin Haselhorst, a player the Wildcats must aim to slow down.
Uldrich has a couple of big guns of his own to counter with against Randolph.
“We’ll lean heavily on the guys who have been contributors at the varsity level,” Uldrich said. “We have two talented seniors in Kobe Heitman and John Lauer, who are team captains and leaders. We’ll look for Kobe to make plays running the ball while John will be a big factor on both the offensive and defensive lines.”
Juniors Jake Peitz and Carson Sudbeck are returning two-way starters who are also expected to make plays on both sides of the ball.
“We have a number of sophomores and juniors we expect to contribute, and we have some freshmen who will help us on special teams,” he said. “We’re all striving for the normal we lost last spring, and once we get to play a game, I think some of that normalcy will feel like it’s returned. “This entire situation has reminded us that this
“This entire situation has reminded us that this is a game, and we should have fun doing it.”
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