Tiger Gameday – State Quarterfinals
Last Game: Hutchinson 28 Marshall 14
Game Recap: It was a back and forth battle as Hutchinson qualified for it’s 23rd State Tournament. Tyler Schiller rushed for over 100 yards, the only player to rush for the century mark on Marshall all season. Mitchell Piehl had two interceptions, one of them for a Touchdown in the 4th quarter to seal the win.
Current Record: 10-0 (#1 4A, Ranked #1 in QRF)
This Week’s Opponent: Fridley 10-0 (#4 4A, Ranked #2 QRF)
About the Opponent: Unlike most other MSHSL sports that reseed the teams once they get to the state tournament, football does not do that. Which means you can get situations like this in which the three top teams in Class 4A are all on one side of the bracket…and two of those teams are in this game. Fridley is a very good team. If I had to describe them in a word…SPEED. They are fast. Watch out for do it all QB Kaleb Blaha. Blaha has thrown for over 1000 yards, and rushed for almost 900 yards. He’s a threat anywhere on the field.
Key Hutch Players: Whomever gets the task of containing Blaha. Now there’s two ways of doing this…and I have NO inside knowledge of how Hutch plans to do this. But here are the most popular ways to contain someone like this. #1. A Spy…Tristan Hoppe would be PERFECT in this category. Someone that who’s sole job is to follow around Blaha and go wherever he goes. Or #2. Gap Control. In this instance you take all of your DL and whatever LB’ers you can and have them rush in a particular gap only. No deviating from your assigment. The idea is to keep him in the pocket and take away his running. Whether you do Choice #1 or Choice #2…containing Blaha is the biggest key to this game.
First Down: Blaha is not the only weapon on Fridley’s offense. He’s the main one but you also need to worry about RB Michael Ude and WR Micah Niewald. Yes, you have to pay attention to Blaha but you also have to continue to play good team defense.
Second Down: Fridley’s Defensive Speed. It’s easy to see that Fridley has a BIG advantage in speed in this game. Running side to side or dancing along the line may not work too much. Use your physicality and strength to go right at them in the running game. Run North/South…and not East/West.
Third Down: Tiger Drives. Last week Hutch had two drives of about 9 minutes long. Having drives like that not only tire the defense out your playing against, it also shortens the game and keeps Fridley’s star players off the field. It limits the touches of the Fridley Offense.
4th Down, Quick Hit Keys: Only one team has scored more than one TD against Fridley and that was St. Anthony Village last week…Neutral site on the Turf at Hopkins. Shouldn’t have to worry about slipping. It’s a good venue with a nice field…the most successful teams have an attitude in the state tournament of Excited, but not satisfied. Be excited to be in the tournament, but keep your eye on the big prize.