It is rivalry week! And I am not just talking about the Cy-Hawk game on Saturday. No, I am talking about the game this Friday at Ames Stadium as the Little Cyclones (0-2) host the Iowa City High Little Hawks (0-2). Not only are bragging rights at stake, but both squads are searching for their first victory of the season. While Iowa City has won the last three meetings it has been nothing shy of a battle as over the past eight seasons the Little Hawks and the Little Cyclones have split four wins each. Here are the three things you need to know before kickoff at 7:30 p.m.
1)- GET THE OFFENSIVE LEADERS ROLLING EARLY
It has not been the ideal start for the Ames Little Cyclones, starting 0-2 for the first time since 2020 and being outscored in the first two weeks 55-19. One of the key factors has been the opponent’s ability to stuff junior running back Jamison Poe. Going into the year Poe was the clear leader on the offensive side of the ball with the departure of the pass-heavy offense Ames fans were accustomed to seeing last season. Defenses have forced Poe to average just 57 yards a game well down from his 153.5 yards per game through two games last season.
There is a way the Little Cyclones can get back to being the efficient offense coach Brian Sauser knows them to be. Getting their offensive stars sophomore tight end Cameron Cantonwine and sophomore wide receiver Jeffery Roberts involved early in the passing game will open the running opportunities for Poe and senior quarterback Lane Kenny. Cantonwine appeared comfortable and confident back in his assigned position at tight end hauling in 141 receiving yards last week the most by an Ames receiver since October of 2022. Roberts has been the most athletic weapon on this Little Cyclone offense averaging 13 yards per catch and has nine receptions for 120 yards.
2)- KEEP EVERYTHING IN FRONT OF YOU
The Iowa City High Little Hawks have three outstanding receivers that senior quarterback Drew Larson will be trying to connect with. So far this season, Larson has had no trouble finding his weapons as Jeremiah Madlock (Sr. WR), Carsen Newton (Sr. WR), and Connor Cross (Jr. WR) all have 100-plus yards receiving through two games. Madlock leads the Little Hawks in yards with 160 on seven catches. Newton is Larson’s clear favorite, leading the team in receptions with 14 for 142 yards. Cross’ six receptions for 117 yards ranks him first in yards-per-catch with 19.5. The Ames secondary has struggled allowing an average of 157.5 passing yards per game. For the Little Cyclones to break the streak they will need to cut down the deep plays from Larson and his receivers.
3)- USE YOUR SIZE AS AN ADVANTAGE
Coach Sauser spoke on the importance of being physical. The Ames defense is coming off allowing the Ankeny Centennial Jaguars to run with ease over them gaining over 260 yards on the ground. With the clear size advantage favoring the Little Cyclones, Coach Sauser said he would be “very shocked if we do not play a very good game.” A home-field victory would set up nicely as the Little Cyclones hit the road for the next two weeks. Starting with Roosevelt at 7:30 p.m. next Friday.
Make sure to join Mel Crippen for the Ames Tailgate Show starting at 6:30 p.m. before tuning into Bruce Vertanen and I with pregame starting at 7:15 p.m. on 1430 KASI and your free iHeart Radio app.