BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
DONNELLSON – The Central Lee Hawks have certainly tested their muster in the opening weeks going up against two top 10 teams and a tough loss at Fort Madison.
But head coach Nick Ehret, who appeared on Pen City Current’s O’Hara & Bohnenkamp Show Thursday, said it’s good for the 0-3 Hawks to get a look at some 2A schools and see how his team stacks up against a more level playing field.
The Hawks have West Burlington-Notre Dame in district action Friday night at home. The Falcons are also 0-3 coming off losses to Fort Madison in week 2 and Keokuk in week 3, both at home. They lost 46-7 in week 1 to Mediapolis.
Central Lee also fell to Bulldogs, who are the 8th ranked team in Class 1A. The Hawks two other losses came in a close 7-0 loss to Fort Madison in the opener and a 55-7 runaway at the hands of Mt. Pleasant last Friday.
Ehret said he knew the first weeks would be a test for the Hawks.
“We know those weeks would be tough,” Ehret said. “I thought our kids played hard last Friday against Mt. Pleasant. They’re a really good team and had there way with us. But I was happy to see how hard our kids played.”
Central Lee will be celebrating their homecoming on Friday and are looking at a Falcon’s squad they match up with a little better than the first three weeks. The larger schools across the line of scrimmage have taken their toll on the Hawks.
“We’re a little banged up and we’ll be missing a few guys Friday night,” Ehret said.
“We only have 30 guys, but the guys are upbeat. Homecoming is a challenge of course.
“On paper we match up better with West Burlington than we have against our other three opponents. The question is can we match up with the guy across the line.”
Ehret said the Falcons run a triple-option read offense and he’s expecting sustained drives in a grind-it-out contest.
West Burlington junior Anthony Hoffman calls the snaps for the Falcons and is just 6 of 18 for 24 yards on the year. Freshman Hayden Vandenberg fills in and is 3 for 3 for 55 yards and has the Falcons only throwing touchdown.
Hoffman leads the Falcons’ ground attack with 167 yards and a couple of scores. Senior Dreyton LaVeine and junior Kendall Baker are averaging more than 4 yards per carry. But have yet to find the endzone.
Senior Jonah Fritz leads the Falcons with 18 tackles and a sack. Vandenberg is tied with senior Drew Chiprez with 13 tackles.
Central Lee has done a few different things throwing the ball, but typically runs in Evan Pohren to call the snaps. Pohren is 11-28 for 54 yards and Central Lee hasn’t scored through the air.
Senior Dalton Westercamp is the workhouse on the ground with 131 yards and a touchdown. Senior Adam Boeck and junior Mason Schau share the rest of the touches. Boeck has two rushing scores.
Ehret said the Falcons will bring lots of pressure and he envisions a game similar to the shootout the two had in 2018 where the Falcons slipped away with a 36-31 win.
“They like to bring a lot of pressure and that’s going to give our lineman some challenges,” Ehret said.
“They have long drives and keep the ball away from ya. We’re expecting a grind-it-out game and ball control will be the key. Last year it got into a shoot out at the end of the game and we’re expecting the same thing Friday.”