It is crunch time for most teams across the state of Iowa as the high school football season heads into week six. For the Ames Little Cyclones’ head coach Brian Sauser the plan is simple, take these last four weeks game-by-game. Tonight is homecoming for the Little Cyclones who sit at 1-4 after losing on the road to Valley 53-13 last week. Their opponent, the 2-3 Ottumwa Bulldogs had their two-game winning streak snapped by Marshalltown 44-7 in just two quarters. Here are the three things you need to know about Friday night’s matchup!
1)- Force the Bulldogs to pass
Running the ball and controlling the game clock will be on the top of both team’s lists. Ames has a pair of 300-plus yard rushers this season led by quarterback/tight end Cameron Cantonwine with 325 yards. Cantonwine had a 95 yard rushing touchdown two weeks ago and continued to be the star of the offense last week with 67 yards on the ground. Opposing defenses are still focused on junior Jamison Poe who has a team-high five touchdowns on the ground and 308 yards rushing. Against Valley, Poe carried the ball eight times for a season-low 26 yards.
The Bulldogs come into homecoming with as strong of a run game as Ames has seen yet. Cameron Manary leads the Bulldogs with 432 rush yards and two touchdowns on the season. If he is not getting the carries, Ottumwa will shift gears to Koby Chanthalavanh, who has punched in a team-high three rushing touchdowns and has 316 yards on the ground.
For Ames to come out on top they will need to force junior quarterback Matthew Mitchell to throw the ball. Mitchell only has 390 yards through the air this season along with four touchdowns and two interceptions. Marshalltown did a good job of being the more physical team up front against Ottumwa. They held the Bulldogs’ two-star backs for a combined nine carries for 16 yards. The Little Cyclones must take the same approach as Marshalltown into tonight’s game.
Ottumwa does not have an elite defense. The Bulldogs have allowed over 100 yards rushing in all five games this season. What is concerning about Ottumwa’s defense is their ability to force turnovers. On the season they have forced six interceptions and three fumbles. Over the last three games, head coach Brian Goodvin’s squad has caused opposing offenses headaches forcing seven total turnovers.
Ames’ struggling run offense should get a boost tonight against an Ottumwa team that does not contain the run well, but limiting turnovers and miscues is a must.
3)- Keep the streak going
Last week, Ames was trying to break the losing streak they had against Valley. This week they are trying to keep their win streak going. Since 2010, the Little Cyclones are 3-0 versus the Bulldogs and they have been dominant wins. Ames is outscoring Ottumwa 101-56 for an average victory margin of 15 points.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. with the Ames Tailgate Show on prior from 6 to 6:45 p.m. Listen live to Justin Miller and Bruce Vertanen on 1430 KASI and your free iHeart Radio App.