BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
DONNELLSON – Someone’s getting their first win of the season on Friday in Albia.
Central Lee (0-5) goes into Blue Demon territory after a rough first half of the year playing bigger schools and coming out with lopsided losses. But the lining is that Albia also sports an 0-5 record and plays in Central Lee’s Class 2A District 6.
The other upside is that head coach Nick Ehret’s squad will face the rest of the district the following three weeks where the teams are a combined 5-10 with no one having more than two wins on the season through week 5.
But the Hawks will have to contain junior Blue Demon quarterback Blake Chance who has more than 1200 yards through the air this year and ten TDs. He’s also thrown eight interceptions.
Albia brings a different offensive style to the field than the Hawks have seen most of the year, with run-oriented teams. The Hawks challenged Mid-Prairie last week in the first quarter, but then things got out of hand after a fumble at the one-yard line was returned 98 yards for a score.
“We played the first 15 minutes really well,” Ehret said.
“It was kind of a back-and-forth affair and they were up 14-7 and we were going in to score at the one. We fumbled and they took it back for a score. Then we muffed the kickoff and it just kind of fell apart from there.
“Albia is the polar opposite of Mid-Prairie. Mid-Prairie will line up and smack you in the face. Albia will throw the ball all over the place. They have a good quarterback and quick receivers so we’re gonna have our work cut out for us.”
Albia junior Blake Stewart is averaging just under 20 yards per catch and has more than 500 yards receiving on the year and 4 TDs. Two other receivers, Luke Bossard and Nathanial Wynn, each have more than 200 yards in catches.
The running game isn’t as efficient with Bossard leading the way with just 108 yards on the year. The Blue Demons have yet to score on the ground.
Dalton Westercamp leads the ground game for Central Lee with 213 yards. Adam Boeck has 110 and three touchdowns.
The Hawks haven’t had much success through the air with Boeck throwing for 115 yards. Evan Pohren, Dylan Stueckth, and Mason Schau also have thrown the ball for Central Lee. Combined, the squad has 11 interceptions on the year.
Bossard is the man on defense for Albia with more than 30 tackles, two for losses. David Vance and Pohren anchor the Hawks with a combined 47 tackles.
Ehret said the Hawks need to find the positives in their game and stop reverting back to chasing old habits.
“The frustrating thing for us is that we know the kids can do it. We’re just kind of snake-bit right now. Something good happens and then we just wait for something bad to happen,” he said.
“We just have to keep doing positive things and not let the game snowball out of control which has happened several times this year.”
But he said the Hawks should have everyone back and healthy for Friday, something that’s also been frustrating this year.
“We’re about as healthy as we’ve been. We’re getting over some sickness which is good, but as far as starters go we should have everyone in the lineup on Friday and we haven’t had that really since week 1.”