BIG HORN — In the 2A game of the week, Big Horn makes the long trip to Burns with both squads looking to stay unbeaten.
Two teams with different styles will battle for early 2A bragging rights as the Burns run-heavy offense meets Big Horn’s spread offense.
After a 20-6 win over Wright last week and 14-0 win over Southeast the week before, Burns welcomes the Rams after their 55-25 win over Greybull and last week a 50-43 win in Newcastle.
Head coach Michael McGuire knows that his team has work to do defensively and would like to cut down on turnovers, but as he said following the end of last Friday night’s road trip “we’ll never take a win for granted.”
“They are a physical football team,” McGuire said of Burns. “We must to be able to contain their run game to have a chance to win Friday. Defensively they are sound in what they do. They have only given up six points this season so we must execute at a high level offensively.”
That high level of execution isn’t usually a problem for McGuire’s offense.
The Rams held for the wild road win last week in Newcastle, the second 50-spot they’ve put on a scoreboard through two weeks. Ram turnovers have made that feat even more impressive.
“We feel our offense hasn’t really hit its stride yet,” McGuire said. “We’ve scored points but we can improve drastically in our execution. Our tempo needs to continue to improve.”
The Rams put up 443 yards on Newcastle, with McCafferty going 8-21 for 239 yards through the air. Colter Carzoli added 105 yards rushing and two scores along with three receptions for 142 yards and a score.
“We’re focusing offensively on executing better,” he said. “We have scored points with big plays but we must become more consistent and execute better.”
One saving grace last week was a Ram defense that produced five turnovers — three picks and two fumble recoveries — giving them their big lead in what had been a back and forth game until the two lost Newcastle fumbles in the third quarter. The Rams gave up 329 yards in Newcastle as the Dogies scored three fourth-quarter touchdowns in a last-ditch comeback attempt.
“Defensively we have to be more physical and play with more discipline,” McGuire said. “We saw growth in a lot of areas last week, that needs to continue.”
Big Horn plays in Burns at 7 p.m.
DAYTON — The Eagles defense will face a different test Friday, but they do so with the awaited return of some on-field leadership.
Tongue River has played the first two weeks with a depleted roster after summer injuries kept out key starters. Pierce Jardine returned last week and sparked the defense, and seniors Matt Burchell and Matthew Yellowtail return Friday on the road against Glenrock (2-0).
Head coach John Scott said that he expected a more upbeat week of practice with the guys back in the lineup.
“I was hoping it would be and I know the Matt’s are more than ready — but, we are dealing with some team growing pains of a different nature,” Scott said. “Our most fierce opposition is sometimes ourselves and not our upcoming opponent. We are stilling learning what it takes to be Eagle football.”
The Eagles relied on freshman Will Kerns for the first two weeks, and the young signal caller managed the offense limiting turnovers.
Yellowtail takes the helm of the Eagle offense that has yet to produce a touchdown this season. Last week’s score in their 36-6 loss to Wheatland came by way of a Lane Dockery kick return.
Two weeks at home resulted in 30-point losses for the Eagles. Wheatland (2-0) jumped out early in Dayton behind big pass plays. Scott took the blame for the long scores, saying bringing extra pressure in blitz packages on those passing touchdowns left his defense thin over the top. Besides the first-half scores, the Eagles limited big plays, displaying better tackling than they had in a 35-0 loss to Rocky Mountain in week one.
Glenrock’s wing-T offense should challenge the Eagles run defense in a different way. Even so, Scott says they have a similar goal.
“We are trying to avoid creating a radical defensive game plan — we know that stopping the run against Glenrock is a priority, but we have to tie our scheme in with our base defensive package,” Scott said.
“Our goal is to draw from what we have learned and whatever we add to the package needs to be something we will use again down the road.”
They take to the road for the first time this year, in Glenrock at 6 p.m., Friday.