Mustangs seek to rebound after heartbreak

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Sports

October 22, 2014 - 12:00 AM

After a devastating loss to Burlington to open district play, Iola High’s football team will be looking for its first district win against Anderson County on Friday.
Iola led Burlington 21-8 in the third quarter last Friday, before the Wildcats stormed all the way back in the fourth period to win, 24-21.
“We have to do what we did against Burlington on the first drives, which was finish them,” coach Doug Kerr said. “Really, we felt that we did more to beat ourselves last week than Burlington did. I felt that we were in cruise control for three and a half quarters of that game.”
Kerr said about three or four plays changed the outcome of the game, the biggest of which may have been Brice Aiello’s 99-yard interception returned for a touchdown just before the half. It was called back on an illegal block from behind. Had it have stood, Iola would have gone into the half with a 14-0 lead instead of 7-0.
“I feel if we can start early and fast, we would put them in the position where they will feel, ‘Oh, great. Here we go again,’” Kerr said. “We don’t want to be going into halftime up only 7-0 to those guys.”
Anderson County is 1-6, with their only win coming against Central Heights way back in week one. The Bulldogs have allowed 283 points and scored 61 — both less than Iola. The Mustangs have given up 226 points and scored 99.
Both Anderson County and Iola have lost to some of the same teams. Against Wellsville, Anderson County lost 49-8 and Iola lost 42-0; against Osawatomie, Anderson County lost 48-0 and Iola lost 48-31; against Prairie View, Anderson County lost 42-0 and Iola lost 41-7. The biggest difference is against Santa Fe Trail, which beat Anderson County 61-6 and Iola 35-0.
The game will come down to Iola’s recognition of Anderson County’s offensive formations.
“They run about 20 different formations and a couple plays out of each formation,” Kerr said. “So, we are going to spend a lot of time this week recognizing what they’re in and what’s their play out of that. If we can get that, we can shut them down. But, they try to basically get in formations to get you screwed up and catch you off guard and we just need to work hard on not getting caught off guard this week.”
A loss to Anderson County would essentially end the Mustang’s season. But, a win would keep the playoff hopes alive.
“The scenarios for the playoffs are kind of crazy,” Kerr said. “We know we have to go out there and take care of business. Defense has to throw a shutout and offensively, we have to be efficient and finish what we started. We really feel confident that we can get the win this week, get back to 1-1 and get the points back in our favor going into the last game.”
Point differential will play a big factor in deciding the Class 4A-II District 3 playoff teams. Girard and Burlington are each 1-0. But, Girard had a plus-21 point differential to Burlington’s plus-3. Iola and Anderson County are both 0-1. But, Iola holds the third place position with a minus-3 point differential to the Bulldogs’ minus-21.
The Mustangs need to get the possible plus-21 point differential against the Bulldogs to increase their playoff chances. It would also essentially make the Iola vs. Girard matchup on Halloween a playoff game for each team.
“The Girard game doesn’t mean anything until we beat Anderson County,” Kerr said. “Once you beat Anderson County, then the Girard game and scores with Burlington and however that goes, becomes important. We are trying to make the final game count.”
For the past two seasons under Kerr, Iola has started district play 0-2. The Mustangs will be looking to change that this week.

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