Kevin Vazquez

K-W kicker Kevin Vazquez, right, and holder Tate Erlandson hope to have plenty of point-after kicks in Friday’s home game against Lewiston-Altura. (Mike Randleman/Kenyon Leader)

3-and-out with the Lewiston-Altura Cardinals

- Friday’s game is a 7 p.m. kickoff in Kenyon between the Lewiston-Altura Cardinals (2-0) and the Kenyon-Wanamingo Knights (2-0). It’s the last of K-W’s three district crossover games. K-W is in the Mid Southeast White and L-A is in the Mid Southeast Blue. Both are in Section 1AA, so this is an important game for playoff seeding.

- These two teams are familiar as L-A ended K-W’s season each of the past two years in the opening round of the Section 1AA playoffs. The Cards dominated those matchups in Lewiston by scores of 43-6 and 34-14.

- L-A was receiving votes in the week 1 Class AA top 10 after its 27-20 win at Waterville-Elysian-Morristown in week 1. The Cards edged Medford 19-16 last week. They’re led by head coach Brent Olson. LA was 4-6 in 2018.

When the Knights have the ball

L-A likes to pack in its linebackers tight and clog the middle of the field. K-W is hopeful to get the ball to its athletes outside. K-W will be up against a 4-4 defense, similar to what it runs. In week 1, WEM threw for 278 yards and week 2 Medford ran for 291 yards (albeit 162 by the quarterback).

In past matchups with K-W, L-A has been able to key on the run. K-W may not chuck it down field too often, but establishing short and intermediate passes can keep the Cards off balance. The Knights didn’t need to give away too much on film, however, in last week’s 53-0 win at Winona Cotter where they threw just five times.

The Cards graduated 20 seniors from last year’s roster, including all-district linebacker Noah Herber. Linebacker Cole Mundt is one of the team’s top tacklers.

K-W has been fairly healthy across the board. It’s had some attrition on the lines but was able to rest nicked up linemen Wyatt Foss and Owen Hilke after one quarter. Wieme is hopeful to have starting center Cole Flom back playing soon.

When the Cardinals have the ball

L-A graduated its quarterback, Marcus Weaver, who set the school’s single season passing record of 1,321 yards. His big tight end, Mitch Bonow, was a matchup nightmare for K-W but is also out of the picture.

Blake Schilling is now under center for a team looking to bully the ball. Running back Cole Mundt had 13 carries for 122 yards and four touchdowns against WEM. K-W scrimmaged WEM in the preseason, so the Knights will look at comparisons there.

L-A ran 38 times for 238 yards in week 1 and only threw five times with three completions for 50 yards. One for 33 yards to fullback Kolton Riser and two for 17 to Collin Bonow. Bonow also ran eight times for 53 yards.

K-W has some size on the lines and can have success in this game if it can clog up the middle. The Cards employ a Wing T offense utilizing a tight end and running multiple power and trap looks.

Key to the game

Break contain. L-A is going to stack the box and force K-W make plays to the outside. K-W starting quarterback Luke Berg played well in a reserve role last year at L-A and showed potential completing eight passes on 14 attempts in week 1. If he can spread the ball around like the offense has so far to multiple weapons, the Knights will have a chance to pull this one out.

Coach says

“They look pretty similar to what we’ve seen the last couple years. They’re going to be a bigger, more physical team. But that’s what happens when you start playing the bigger schools. They’re a Section 1AA team. This is an important game to see where we stack up with some of those teams in a playoff scenario.” — K-W head coach Jake Wieme

Reach Sports Editor Mike Randleman at 507-333-3119 or on Twitter @fdnmike.

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