The Ames Little Cyclones get on the bus for one last time this season against the Marshalltown Bobcats this Friday at 7 p.m. Brian Sauser has preached for the last two weeks about taking it one game at a time. Once again the goal is simple, you win out you are in the playoffs. You lose and you go home. Here are the three things you need to know ahead of the game tonight.
1)-This is a must-win game
A good team never overlooks their opponents, but it is hard not to look ahead with the schedule not getting any easier in the last two weeks for the Little Cyclones. Sioux City East and Waukee Northwest combine for a 7-5 record making it crucial that Ames comes out on top tonight. The momentum favors the Little Cyclones sitting at 2-4 coming off of their most dominant win of the season beating Ottumwa 62-23. Marshalltown is a struggling team with only one win on the season after they fell last week to Waterloo West 31-3. Ames is the better team and has a great chance of keeping their postseason hopes alive going against a team that has been held to zero touchdowns four times this season.
2)-Cantonwine can’t be stopped
Throughout this entire season, we have praised Jamison Poe for his star power and rushing talents. Make no mistake, for Ames to win they will need a good game out of Poe, but with Cameron Cantonwine under center, this offense has taken huge strides forward. The sophomore quarterback, who is listed as a tight end with his 6’0” 190 build, took over the Ames offense with a breakout game versus Des Moines Roosevelt three weeks ago. Since then, he is averaging 138.6 rushing yards per game and has shown no signs of letting off the gas. Against Ottumwa, Cantonwine had ten carries for 119 yards and two touchdowns.
With the threat of having a top-tier rushing quarterback at their disposal, Ames has found success in the passing game. Cantonwine threw for 253 yards and two touchdowns with only three incompletions during their homecoming victory. Ottumwa’s defense was so focused on trying to figure out how to stop the run that Cantonwine distributed the ball through the air with ease. Ames targeted a season-high seven different receivers.
Marshalltown has a stronger defense than Ottumwa, led by junior Xayvion Anderson recording 25.5 total tackles, 19 solo, and three sacks this season. Now, the defense as a whole still struggles to contain the run giving up nearly 5 yards per carry against Waterloo West. All signs point to this being an Ames victory.
3)-Rivals face off
This rivalry has benefited the Little Cyclones holding a 10-4 record since 2008. Despite having a commanding lead over the Bobcats, history will show that Ames struggles when traveling to Marshalltown (2-3 since 2008). Coach Sauser discussed during Thursday’s interview that “Marshalltown has not won at their new stadium yet, we fully understand that this is a massive game and they would like nothing better than to beat Ames.”
Make sure to tune into Justin Miller and Bruce Vertanen on 1430 KASI or your free iHeart Radio App with pregame at 6:45 p.m. with kickoff at 7:00 p.m.