Pregame Outlook — District opener brings Tigers to town

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Sports

October 14, 2010 - 12:00 AM

Coming off their best effort of a winless season so far, Iola High Mustangs got a bounce off last week’s performance. They are hoping to use that “bounce” for momentum into Kansas Class 4A, District 6 play.
The Mustangs finish their run through the Southeast Kansas League Friday and open district play at home against Fort Scott High’s Tigers.
Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Riverside Park football stadium.
Iola has won the last two meetings of the teams, including an 18-12 win in the mud last year. But the Tigers come in under a new but familiar head coach and are 3-3 on the season.
Bob Campbell, who coached the Tigers from 1992 to 2005, returned in 2010 to the head coaching position. Campbell is a partner in a private financial firm in Fort Scott.
“It’s been a lot of fun being back and having the opportunity to work with these kids and I have a good coaching staff,” Campbell told the Register.
Campbell’s Fort Scott teams never lost to Iola. The 2008 win in Fort Scott for the Mustangs was their first since 1986.
“We’ve stressed this week to our kids that Iola has a solid team. They have lost to good teams and will be ready to give us their best shot Friday night,” Campbell said.
“In Kansas, district play provides  teams — no matter what their record — a chance to start over. Wins in the next three games put teams in the playoffs.”
The Mustangs and Tigers are in the same Class 4A district as Anderson County High’s Bulldogs and Prairie View High’s Buffalos, both in the Pioneer League.
The top two teams from District 6 move into the Class 4A playoffs. Playoffs begin Nov. 2.
Anderson County and Prairie View are 4-2 on the season. Fort Scott is 33 and Iola is 0-6.
“But district play is new life for our team and all teams,” said Iola High head coach Rick Horton. “We’re out to focus on now.
“No, we can’t win a league championship and yes, we have had six rough games but we can still be a district champion and a playoff team.”
The Mustangs  rushed for 93 yards last week and had 137 yards passing. They scored 21 points.
“It was our best four quarters of play this season. We hope we get that bounce from that game going into district play,” Horton said.
“Fort Scott haven’t changed a lot of what they do. The biggest thing about a Bob Campbell-coached team is they are very disciplined. They are assignment correct and their running backs run hard.”
Senior Jaret Thorpe is Fort Scott’s leading rusher. Dane Cummings, “who is more the fullback type and runs up inside for us,” is a junior, Campbell said.
Also there is junior Jason Thorpe, who led the Tigers with 58 yards last week in a 26-20 loss to Pittsburg.
“Trevor Swim is our quarterback and he can run the ball and does a very good job of running our offense. We’re out to be balanced on offense — to run first and pass efficiently,” Campbell said.
Fort Scott’s top receivers are senior wide receiver Griffin Knopp plus senior tight end Tony Jackson. Campbell said Knopp is quick and jumps well. Jackson blocks but can go over the middle and make catches.
Defensively, the Tigers come at opponents with a 4-3 defense led by Jackson at defensive end and senior Josh Durossette as a defensive tackle. Christian Tavernaro is a hard hitting inside linebacker.
“It’s been a team concept on defense. And we’ve played defensively pretty well holding teams in check,” Campbell said.
“We have to control the game and not allow big plays against us defensively. We have to handle the football on offense and execute.”
Campbell said the Tigers needed to contain Iola’s big play players in running back Marcus Sullivan, quarterback Charles Apt and receiver Jerrik Sigg.
Big plays have been a bugaboo for the Iola defense also.
“We stress to our guys to be assignment sound. Against Fort Scott, our linebackers have to make the reads. Fort Scott likes to run the trap and counter plays out of the veer formation,” Horton said.
“Our defensive linemen and outside linebackers have to contain Fort Scott from getting around the corners.”
Horton said by studying the film on Fort Scott’s games, they have seen several tendencies on defense which match up with what Iola wants to do offensively. Iola had one change in starting personnel offensively but it’s not along the line.
“We’ll have the same line that played pretty well last week at Labette County,” Horton said. “We’ll widen our splits a bit and spread Fort Scott out more looking to use it to our advantage.”
Jacob Rhoades, a freshman, replaces senior Dylan Allen as a starting wide receiver. On defense, the only change in starters comes at defensive end again.
Zack Vaughn, a junior, suffered a shoulder injury at Labette County. Stepping into a defensive end starting role is junior Zach Crawford.
While Fort Scott is in Iola Friday, Anderson County is at Prairie View in LaCygne. Iola goes to Anderson County-Garnett next week.

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