Week 8 preview: Winless Red Oak awaits GC in home finale
By BRANDON HURLEY
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Who: Red Oak (0-7, 0-3) vs. #5 Greene Co. (7-0, 3-0) Friday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. in Jefferson
Last Meeting: Greene Co. won, 35-14 in 2018
What to watch: Can Greene County secure Jefferson’s first 8-0 start since 2006?
X-Factor: Defense wins championships. Red Oak has not scored a point in back-to-back games. If the Rams come correct, they’ll pick up their eighth straight win
At this point, the pool of adjectives describing the record-setting Greene County Rams is dwindling rather quickly.
Unflappable? Double check.
The thinning dictionary is merely a testament to just how surgical the fourth-ranked football squad has been this year. A spotless record aided by seven consecutive wins and mind-numbing numbers on both sides of the ball will dilute any description of the Jefferson-based unit.
But, that’s not to say the story lines aren’t plentiful. Oh, there are so many avenues in which the Rams can still reach even the most casual of fans.
Extending a streak of 10 straight regular season wins is priority number one as the Rams look toward week eight. There’s an eight game home winning streak to uphold as well.
The 2020 senior class is 60 minutes from some tremendous rarified air: pick up a win Friday and they complete a perfect two year home stand (Three home wins in 2019 and five straight a season ago).
They’re trying to polish off a dazzling ninth straight home win, a streak that’s surely safe for at least a few generations.
A perfect week eight opponent awaits, the winless Red Oak Tigers (0-7, 0-3) along with their lackluster offense.
It won’t be asking too much for Greene County to come out victorious Oct. 18. Fortunately, Red Oak is the most dismal team in Class 2A, District 9, by far. Statistically, they are one of the worst teams in all of 2A, having been shutout in four of their seven games this fall, scoring a measly six touchdowns all year.
Greene County takes its No. 6 RPI ranking into senior night with hopes of securing yet another goose egg.
With a potential top five showdown looming next week, Greene County head coach Caden Duncan has his guys focused solely on the immediate future. Two games stand in the way of the Rams and a district title. Get this one and they are one step closer to their championship dreams.
But, overconfidence can often be a hinderance, which is why Duncan will have his guys focused and ready to go for the home finale. A proper mindset can lead a good team to greatness.
“If we want to compete for a championship we cannot take a week off,” the coach said. “We have to continue to improve every week so that we are peaking at the right time. Any team can beat any other team on any given night if certain things happen. Our focus will be on getting better this week and beating Red Oak.”
Greene County’s last home loss was Oct. 20, 2017, a 49-14 defeat at the hands of Ballard.
On paper, the Rams (7-0, 3-0) hold a significant advantage over the lifeless Tigers. Greene County is averaging 41.7 points per game while allowing just 11 points per contest. Red Oak has not scored a single point since Sept. 27, going scoreless in losses to Kuemper Catholic and Shenandoah. The Tigers have been outscored 209 to 7 over their last four games. As a whole, the Red Oak defense is surrendering 43 points per game. Offensively, the southwest Iowa squad has scored more than seven points just once, in a 34-27 loss to Clarke.
Quarterback Jake Echternach has thrown for 227 yards and zero touchdowns while being picked off five times. No Tiger running back has even touched the 200-yard plateau, led by Carter Maynes and his 158 yards. Red Oak has rushed for five touchdowns and thrown for just a single score in seven weeks of action.
The hometown Rams are ready to feast on a rather inexperienced and down-trodden offensive unit, though coach Duncan will has his guys ready for potential trickeraton.
“We expect to see a spread attack on offense with a couple good playmakers in (Carter Maynes) and (Justin McCunn),” Duncan said. “We will have to contain them and be physical. They will come out in special formations and run trick plays, so we must be disciplined. Execution will be a major point of emphasis and is something that we will need to do well on Friday.”
Greene County dropped to fifth in the latest Class 2A Associated Press rankings while they also were rated sixth in the most recent IHSAA RPI standings with a score of .6232. Greene county owns wins over No. 20 Nevada and No. 33 Kuemper Catholic. RPI will determine the seven at-large playoff qualifiers thanks to a mathematical formula that combines record, the opponents overall record and the opponents opponents record. Nine schools will earn automatic playoff bids, which will go to each district champion. District 9’s OA-BCIG (7-0) clings to the No. 4 spot.
Just six undefeated teams remain in Class 2A - AP top-rated Waukon, No. 2 Clear Lake, No. 3 Algona, No. 4 Des Moines Christian leap frogged Greene County (5) and fellow District 9 foe, OA-BCIG at no. 6. Greene County was rated fourth the prior two weeks before Des Moines Christian secured a dominant, 25-point victory over defending state champion, PCM. Waukon, last year’s runner-up, strengthened its grip on the top spot by capturing a huge win over previously fifth-rated Waterloo Columbus a week ago.
Greene County remains tied atop the Class 2A, District 9 standings with a perfect 3-0 record. Sixth-ranked OA-BCIG, next week’s opponent, also is a spotless 3-0 in district play. The Falcons are set to due battle Kuemper Catholic Friday night before hosting the Rams Oct. 25.
Greene County and OA-BCIG hold a two game lead over each of the district’s remaining teams.
Kick for Friday’s home finale with Red Oak is set for 7 p.m. at Linduska Field in Jefferson.
Class 2A AP Rankings
1. Waukon (7-0)
2. Clear Lake (7-0)
3. Algona (7-0)
4. DM Christian (7-0)
5. Greene Co. (7-0)
6. OA-BCIG (7-0)
7. Waterloo Columbus (6-1)
8. W. Marshall (5-2)
9. Sioux Center (5-2)
10. Spirit Lake (5-2)
District 9 Standings
Greene County (3-0)
Red Oak (0-3)