Time For “The Game”
Let’s try a little word association, shall we?
Any true E-Hawk football fan who hears those phrases ?thinks just one thing – West Lyon.
Well, the time has come. Friday night, the E-Hawks put their perfect season on the line as they travel about as far west as you can go in the state and still play in Iowa to meet up with West Lyon on their home turf.
Be assured, the welcome will be less than open-armed, because memories die hard.
Just to review, the last time the E-Hawks and the Wildcats met was on the floor of the UNI Dome for the 2008 Class 1A State Championship game. The two teams battled through four quarters, but the final margin of victory would come down to a 34-yard field goal kick by Matt Welling with :37 to go in the first half of that game.
That 3-0 score would go down in history as the lowest-scoring state championship game and added another Gold Cadillac to the E-Hawk trophy case.
But at the same time, it left a sour taste in the mouths of the West Lyon faithful, and now, there is a possibility of redemption come Friday night.
That fact is not lost on E-Hawk Head Coach Mike Dunlap and the E-Hawks.
“This is the real deal Friday night,” Dunlap said simply. “West Lyon will, without a doubt, be the most physical team that we’ve played all year long and you can be sure they’re ready and waiting for us.”
The history between the E-Hawks and West Lyon goes much further back than the 2008 title game – and over all the years, the two teams have often been referred to as mirror images. Both teams have a reputation for running the football, with an occasional pass.
In their 20-17 win over Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn last Friday, the Wildcats threw just one time. Emmetsburg threw the ball six times. West Lyon rushed for 323 yards last week – the E-Hawks racked up 475 yards.
West Lyon will operate offensively out of the traditional I formation, running a lot of power, blasts and dive plays, much like the E-Hawk offense does.
On defense, the Wildcats come out in a 4-3 defense, nothing foreign to Emmetsburg.
“They’ve got great team speed and they are just so physical,”?Dunlap noted. “you really can’t say much more than they are the real deal.”
In Friday’s 41-6 win over South O’Brien, however, the E-Hawks found themselves surrendering 90 yards in penalties, something that has stuck with Emmetsburg like a bad penny so far this season.
“We still need to work on becoming a disciplined football team,” Dunlap said. “That means in all phases of our game. Blocking, tackling, carrying out our assignments. We just need to continually improve to become a more poised and polished football team.”
However, the E-Hawks continue to produce good offensive numbers each week, with various players stepping up to meet the challenges of the game.
That needs to happen again on Friday night.
“We have to step up and play E-Hawk football,”?Dunlap said. “We have to be ready to go from the get-go, because they sure will.”