FORT MADISON – Homecoming 2023 takes place at Richmond Stadium Friday night with the County Seat at stake.
The Bloodhounds are looking to right the ship after two lopsided losses in a row, 48-14 to Williamsburg two weeks ago and a 38-7 loss to Davenport Assumption last week on the road.
Both those teams are among the top teams in the state with Williamsburg holding onto the Class 3A top spot. The Knights had the No. 3 spot after the win Friday.
Both teams are in the top 15 overall teams in the state according to several publications.
But Fort Madison Head Coach Derek Doherty said the Hounds have shown at times they belong in those games, but didn’t show it last week.
“We’ve seen two of the top teams in the state. It hasn’t been a lot of fun,” Doherty said.
“Some lessons learned there. We’ve had a lot of conversations and it's made us dig down deep as a staff. Are we doing the right things? We’re checking schematics and practice plans and everything. This isn’t fun. This isn’t what we like.”
Doherty said there’s a difference between being beaten and losing. He said not only did the Hounds get beaten the last two weeks, but they lost because they didn’t put their best out there.
The Hounds managed just 155 yards on offense and more than 60 came on the final drive against the Knights' No. 2 squad.
He’s hoping for more this week from his Hounds as they get back to localized football.
“I’m looking at how our guys respond. We’ve had two bad weeks and weeks we feel like we weren’t us. Okay cool, that’s what’s awesome about this right now is that we get a chance to go and prove to ourselves that we weren’t who we are the last two weeks,” he said.
“I’m really excited to see how we respond mentally, physically, schematically, everything moving forward.”
The Hounds take on Keokuk in their second district game in Class 3A District 4.
Keokuk comes in with a dual-threat quarterback – again – in Brenton Hoard and has an offense built very similar to what Fort Madison has been running over the past six or seven years.
Fort Madison sees success when quarterbacks can find receivers in short routes, but then take off in the run-pass-option keeping defenses honest.
They’ve had that going several years back with Will Larson, Landes Williams, Aiden Boyer, and now Marcus Guzman.
Keokuk’s Hoard accounts for 15 scores on the year, including four on the ground. He leads the Chiefs in ground yardage with 582 and adds just under 1,000 on the season through the air.
His favorite target may be No. 9 Drew Campbell who’s averaging almost 25 yards per reception and has more than 200 yards on the season. But there are two other receivers over 200 yards and another at 160, so Hoard will move the ball around.
The Chiefs are anchored on defense by sophomore Mason Claus who has more than 40 tackles on the year as a 6'1, 185 lb. linebacker. Senior Malachai Douglas is next with 24. Keokuk only has four sacks on the year, so pressure hasn’t been a key to the defense, but they can lock up a run game.
“I know a couple things. Josh Roberts is a great coach. This a group they are excited about and they’ve been waiting for. But we’re excited about our guys, too,” Doherty said.
“We know we are a good football team, but the problem is we need to go prove it. That’s been the message. It’s not wholesale getting rid of this or that, we need to go execute and that’s on us.
“This should be a really great matchup if you look at it on paper. If you don’t get excited about being able to compete no matter who it is, I’m not sure why you’re out for football.”
The Hounds again will be without junior Brody Cashman who was on the sidelines last week with a knee injury. That leaves Hayden Segoviano with the majority of the workload out of the backfield along with Guzman. Henry Wiseman has been seeing a few carries over the past few weeks.
Segoviano is also the top receiver out of the backfield with 223 yards. Wiseman has four scoring catches. Leif Boeding got into the endzone for the first time last week. He has 190 yards on the season.
Segoviano lead the Hounds in tackles from his linebacker spot with 29. Teague Smith, Ike Thacher, and Jamarkus Kline all have more than 20 tackles for Fort Madison.
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