Football: Week 6 preview
By BRANDON HURLEY
MATCH UP BREAKDOWN
Who: #9 Boone (5-0) vs. Greene Co. (1-4)
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29 at Linduska Field, Jefferson
Last Meeting: Boone won, 35-8 in 2016
Keys to the win: GC must put pressure on dual-threat QB Mason Hulse and his bevy of weapons. The Ram defense must keep the game within striking distance
Greene County’s home schedule has been nothing short of brutal, but with the season’s first win in tow, the Rams hope to pull a homecoming shocker in week six.
Ninth-ranked Boone (5-0, 3-0 in district 2) trots into town riding a five-game winning streak on the legs and arms of first-year quarterback, Mason Hulse.
Combining their previous three home opponents as well as Friday’s foe, the Rams will have faced a gauntlet of teams at home that are 18-2. It’s no easy task for a squad coming off their first win of the fall, a 61-21 victory over Iowa Falls-Alden.
It’s time for the Rams to put that victory behind them, Greene County head coach Mitch Moore said, and focus on the next task at hand.
“Boone is a different team than Iowa Falls. They are bigger, stronger, they come off the ball faster. They are a well coached team,” Moore said. “This Boone team will present a lot of problems for us. If we don’t practice with a relentless energy, it’s going to be a long Friday night.”
Boone’s senior quarterback has compiled 20 total touchdowns, 1,392 total yards (508 yards rushing) and thrown just one interception in five games as a starter. The Toreadors average 40 points per game and are fresh off a 55-34 win over Gilbert in week five. Hulse ran for 126 yards and two touchdowns, while throwing for four more touchdowns.
Greene County head coach Mitch Moore plans to use their own quarterback, Clint Dennhardt, to replicate the athletic ability of Hulse in practice.
“Fortunately, for us, we have a guy like that. We are going to give some more looks at our defense,” the coach said. “We are going to put pressure on (Hulse). He hasn’t faced a lot this year, and that’s a credit to their offensive line. He hasn’t had to face a lot of pressure. We need to find a way to put pressure on him so he has to make decisions faster.”
Hulse’s biggest threat offensively are his legs, Moore feels.
“He’ll sit back there, go through his progressions and boom, he’ll take off,” the coach said. “We have to contain, put pressure on him and we have to hit him every play. We have to put a body on him every play and make him play football.”
The Toreadors run an offense that spreads the ball around and keeps defenses on their toes. Play-action pass could open up the deep ball.
“Their offensive coordinator does a great job of putting a game plan together,” Moore said. “They get defensive coordinators off-kilter. They don’t have a bunch of tendencies, they don’t run a bunch of the same plays. They stay balanced and make a defensive coordinator react. They do a good job keeping defenses on their toes.”
Moore and company aren’t shying away from the challenge Boone presents defensively. The Rams lead district 2 with eight total interceptions. They’ve forced 12 turnovers in all, which is tied for the top mark with Boone.
“Lucky enough for me, I’ve got a guy in John Michael Sawhill at defensive coordinator that I feel is one of the brightest minds around,” Moore said. “He’ll put together a fantastic game plan.”
Yards in the early going may be hard to come by for the Ram offense. This isn’t a unit where they can hang 61 points on like Iowa Falls. The Toreadors’ defensive front is a whole different beast.
“The thing about them that is most glaring is their front four,” Moore said. “They have a great first step and they play with their hands. They dent the offensive line. They are making them go backwards.
Moore continued, “They are an impressive front four. If they can get going early and pin their ears back, it’s going to be hard for us.”
Moore plans to implore a game plan that could catch Boone off guard.
“We will get some hard snap counts going and we will do some different things,” Moore said. “Formation-wise, we will give them a lot of different looks.”
The Toreadors stomped Greene County on the road a year ago, disarming the Ram attack to the tune of 35-7. It’s something that has stayed on the mind of his players, Moore said.
“We didn’t play well at all last year. We were out of it early and didn’t move the ball,” Moore said. “We are going to show that film to our guys. And they know, if we come out like we have, we can fall behind early. A team like this, they can put points on you in a hurry.
We have to keep this game close.”
Kick-off for Greene County’s homecoming game with ninth-ranked Boone is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29 at Linduska Field in Jefferson.