The Muenster Hornets faced a physical Lovelady squad in the Class 2A Division II area round, but in the regional quarterfinal game against Dawson, Muenster head coach Brady Carney is expecting to face a faster, less physical team.
“It’s kind of polar opposite from last week,” Carney said. “I guess the difference this week is they’re taking their skill kids and trying to run the football. Every week is different for us.”
Since Muenster’s 12-7 loss to Valley View on Sept. 27, the Hornets haven’t be conquered.
Muenster is in the midst of a seven-game winning streak and playing some of its best football of the season.
“Offensively, the numbers have been way better than they were before and it goes back to turnovers are down quite a bit,” Carney said. “Turnover-wise we’re way down. But we are getting more turnovers too. So that’s always a big deal when you’re plus in the turnover margin.”
The Hornets have had a tough time deciphering what defense they expect to see each week due to their unique formation on offense.
Carney said that’s all the more reason to stay focused on what they do best.
“What we see on film is a little different, because we don’t know what we’ll get because we’re a different style,” Carney said. “80% of the teams are spread team, shotgun with one [running] back and then you line up against us, where we’re more two-back or three-back under center. I think [Dawson] will try to play off our wide receivers and our tight ends and so forth.”
With Carney expecting Dawson to stop the run, the Hornets will need to remain patient running the ball.
“We’re better than them up front and we need to impose our will with our run game early because I think with their speed in the back end, I don’t think we’re going to get the long runs like we did against Lovelady,” Carney said. “We’ve really got to maintain our blocks long enough to get those 40 and 50-yard runs, so it may be back to where we’re living and dying by five and six yards a carry.”
Dawson is 10-2 on the season with its most recent loss coming at the hands of Mart, which is the defending state champion in Class 2A Division II along with a state title in 2017 in Division I.
If the Hornets can defeat Dawson, it will likely set up a rematch against Mart — the team that eliminated Muenster from the playoffs last season.
But Carney isn’t letting his team look any further than Dawson.
“I told the team, ‘listen, if we play Mart, they’re going to get here when they get here,’” Carney said. “We’ve still got a game to go and no matter who it is, that’s the team we need to stay focused on. We worried about whoever the next opponent is.”
Patrick Hayslip can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @PatrickHayslip