Mike Richards

Head coach Mike Richards and WEM football will head to Alden-Conger/Glenville-Emmons for Friday night’s week 2 matchup. (Faribault Daily News file photo)

3-and-out with the Alden-Conger/Glenville Emmons Knights

— A-C/G-E is 0-1 coming into this Mid Southeast Red matchup with a 40-18 loss vs. Hayfield last week. The Knights trailed 33-0 at halftime. Waterville-Elysian-Morristown lost 27-20 vs. Lewiston-Altura. A-C/G-E finished 5-4 last season with a 52-12 loss to Randolph in the Section 2A quarterfinals. Friday’s game is 7 p.m. at Alden-Conger High School in Alden.

- The Knights are in their first year playing 11-man football during the regular season. Due to its enrollment numbers, ACGE has been required to play 11-man in the playoffs since 2016. They had a 1-3 record in those games.

- Casey Soost is the new head coach. He was an assistant and defensive coach with the program for four years and is the father of ACGE junior quarterback Dugan Soost. Casey Soost replaces Chad Mattson. He inherits a team replacing seven key senior starters. The team has seven seniors, 15 juniors, seven sophomores and eight freshmen.

When the Buccaneers have the ball

First and foremost, the Bucs will look to avoid giving away yards. False start penalties put WEM behind the chains too often last week. When on schedule, this offense can attack in all sorts of ways.

One option was taken away, however, as senior tight end Cole Kokoschke is out six to eight weeks with a broken hand. He played through the injury, which occurred in the first quarter, and caught a fourth-quarter touchdown.

That will put more onus on the receiving corps led by Matt Van Houdt (115 yards, TD), Nick LeMieux (51, TD), Dylan Androli (36) and Brant Melchert (5-24). WEM was pleased with 267 passing yards, three touchdowns and no picks from Grant McBroom.

It will be a successful night if 34 pass attempts aren’t required again. The Bucs will seek to get the ground game going after L-A held them to 105 yards on 30 carries (30.5).

The Bucs will also use this as an opportunity to add more to the playbook with a new formation.

Against Hayfield, L-A surrendered 266 passing yards on 16-for-21 accuracy with three touchdowns and no interceptions. The Vikings also piled up 202 rushing yards (7.8 yards per carry) and three touchdowns on the ground.

ACGE runs a base 4-4 defense.

When the Knights have the ball

ACGE does not have mammoths up front, so the Knights will look to spread WEM out to the perimeter. This means trips and doubles along with some I-formation.

They’ll look to keep WEM off balance with misdirections, jet sweeps and reverses. ACGE may also look to take some shots down field in the passing game.

WEM’s defense did not let L-A gash it last week, particularly with the Bucs up 14-0 at halftime. L-A finished with just 52 passing yards on four completions on seven attempts. Cole Mundt’s 129-yard day with 14 carries and four touchdowns was the thorn in the side for WEM. It remains to be seen if ACGE has an athlete, or committee, that can replicate that type of production.

Key to the game

Make ACGE earn it. The Bucs were turnover free last week and should be in good shape if they can replicate that feat. The Knights were a solid nine-man squad a year ago, but with a new coach and the loss of several key starters, this is a game a recent Class AA team like WEM should handle.

Coach says

“They’re going to spread the ball. They ran some jet sweep stuff, a little bit of misdirection and a reverse in there. They’re trying to get the ball out with vertical passing, just trying to get it deep.” — WEM head coach Mike Richards of Alden-Conger/Glenville-Emmons

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

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