Brian Sauser and the Ames Little Cyclones hit the road for the first time since week one against Waukee. This week’s opponent is the talented and versatile Des Moines Roosevelt Roughriders. After losing to their rivals the Iowa City Little Hawks in an offensive battle 49-28, Ames comes into Des Moines still searching for that first victory of 2023. It is the first time since 2020 that the Little Cyclones have started 0-3. Roosevelt on the other hand, is coming back home sitting at 2-1 after losing their first game of the season to the impressive Waukee Northwest Wolves. Here are the Little Cyclones’ three keys to the game in hopes of stealing one on the road. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. and pregame at 6:45 p.m. on 1430 KASI.
1)- Get Jamison Poe involved in the passing game
While it is a given that for Ames to be successful they will need to get their star running back touches in the ground game, we saw just how fluid this offense can operate when Poe is utilized in the passing game. In last week’s loss, Poe hauled in four receptions for 70 yards and a touchdown. This marked high second-highest total since he went off for 117 yards on Sept. 2, 2022, against Fort Dodge. Using Poe in the passing game will open the run game for him as well. We saw that against Iowa City High. Poe rushed for 84 yards on 14 carries and one touchdown. The space the junior running back can create by himself is incredible, but becoming consistent is vital.
2)- Guard the run
Roosevelt is a run-first offense, led by senior quarterback Jecari Patton. Through three games, Patton has taken over the ground game with a team-high three touchdowns and 133 rushing yards. Sauser’s defense will not only need to worry about containing just the quarterback but also the Roughriders’ second 100+ yard rusher, junior Jayden Davison. With 31 carries and a team-high 146 yards rushing to his name, Davison will force Ames to be more physical on the front line. Earlier this week when speaking to coach Sauser, he mentioned the defensive adjustments made and how Ames plans to get faster and stronger when guarding the edges. Some changes include moving junior linebacker, Jackson Winkey to outside linebacker to help give the Little Cyclones some more speed around the edges. These adjustments did help Ames play their most competitive battle yet last week, but now the question will be can they do it for all four quarters?
3)- Protect Lane Kenny so he can find his weapons downfield
The young offensive line continues to have some miscues throughout the first few weeks of the season. Against the Little Hawks, Kenny struggled with his accuracy completing just nine of his 21 passes for 172 yards. Fans did get glimpses of how well Kenny and his receivers can perform when he does not have to rush out of his progressions as he connected with his teammates for three touchdowns. Sophomore wide receiver Jeffrey Roberts has grown into Kenny’s favorite target with his wide catch radius and his athletic ability to outrun and outjump just about any defender. Roberts had a career night versus Iowa City High with 93 yards and two touchdowns on four receptions. Getting him receptions early will be important, but much like we have seen defenses collapse on Poe, it will be crucial that Kenny spreads the wealth. Ames’ second leading receiver is sophomore tight end Cameron Cantonwine, with 151 yards on 11 receptions. The only issue is, last week he was not used at all in the passing scheme.
After tonight’s game, the Little Cyclones will be on the road against another talented opponent the Valley Tigers.
Make sure to tune into Justin Miller on 1430 KASI or your free iHeart Radio App for pregame at 7:15 p.m. with kickoff at 7:30 p.m.