HARTINGTON - The Cedar Catholic Trojans lost disparagingly, 48-22, on Friday to Bancroft-Rosalie/Lyons-Decatur Northeast. Now the Trojans travel back home for a Week 2 matchup against Oakland-Craig, another C2 team rated in the Top 10 by Omaha and Lincoln papers.
The Trojans and the Knights have not faced off since the 2014 state playoffs when Cedar won 19-0 in the semifinals to advance to the Championship game against Aquinas.
This Week 2 game does not have nearly the stakes of that last matchup, but it does feature Cedar with a chip on its shoulder after the Week 1 loss.
Oakland-Craig defeated Crofton 32-6 in the season opener. The Knights rushing attack was a menace for the Warriors, carrying the ball 36 times for 181 yards and four touchdowns. The Knights did not have a run longer than 14 yards all night.
O-C was led on the ground by sophomore Jaron Meyer carrying the ball 18 times for 113 yards and one touchdown. Senior Robby Mayberry supplemented Meyer with nine carries for 44 yards and one touchdown. Senior quarterback Jared Mulder ran the ball five times for only eight years, but he scored two touchdowns.
While the numbers are impressive, it is hard to match the talent of the Cedar backfield, with junior Jacob Keiser rushing for nearly 200 yards in the loss to BRLD.
Through the air, Mulder went 8-13 for 82 yards. Including a throw and catch for 23 yards to Mayberry out of the backfield.
Cedar head coach Chad Cattau says this week of practice leading up to the game is very important for righting the ship.
“The biggest thing we took away from our week one game is that we really need to improve ourselves and not make the mistakes again that hindered us. We had many times where we didn't line up correctly and that is one thing that we need to get corrected. We have a lot of things that we can correct so we will be working hard to get those mistakes taken care of.”
Cattau continued his statement with positivity saying there were players that did very positive things, and that the team will need their consistency this week.
Oakland-Craig playing a familiar Trojan opponent in Week 1 may be an advantage for Cattau in terms of preparation. While he is familiar with both teams, he has been able to use similarities between Cedar and Crofton to understand how Oakland-Craig plays.
“Although we haven't played Oakland in a couple year's, we are pretty familiar with what they like to do. We have seen film on them from opponents that we have that are similar so that helps. Oakland will bring a physical game and some very good skill kids. They run some of the same things that we do so that also helps in our preparation because of the familiarity of what they do. We know we will have to work hard this week to put ourselves in the best position to win.”
On defense for the Knights, sophomore Caden Nelson led the team with 10 tackles. O-C used the group tackle philosophy making 41 as a group compared to the 20 solo tackles made. Junior Blake Johnson finished with four assisted tackles, but his defensive highlight came on a fumble recovery for a touchdown.
In Week 1, the Cedar defense lost its captain and play-caller, senior Josh Pinkelman early on, and the team is preparing to play without him. Cattau did say he has not received an update on the seniors status yet.
“Josh was injured on the second play on defense. His loss really hurt us because he is the guy that makes sure we line up correctly on defense and that we get any changes made. Without him in the game, it really hurt our communication. He is obviously an emotional leader for us as well so we lost some of that as well. When he went out, we had to move Jacob from our Strongside linebacker spot into the middle and that completely changed what we were capable of doing. Jacob can make a lot of plays as the Sam backer and we lost that from him when he had to move to the middle. I do not know of any updated status on Josh at this time. We are preparing to play without him though.”
Keiser will spend much of this week preparing to be a part of a linebacker core that he will be the leader of in Pinkelman’s absence. The injured senior led his team in tackles last year with over 100.
Cedar Catholic hosts Oakland-Craig on the Russ Hochstein Field at the Hartington Community complex on Friday night.