CANTON — It’s been rollicking good fun for Canton-Galva’s football team over the last 5 weeks, rolling up victory after victory, many of them by big margins.
Now reality returns.
The 5-1 Eagles host unbeaten 6-0 Solomon on Friday and the winner will likely be the district champion.
The youthful Eagles were pleased with last week’s potential land mine with Goessel, but the expected tussle never materialized in a stunning 56-8 rout.
“My staff and I were concerned throughout the week of this being a ‘trap game’ with Solomon coming to town next Friday, so I was very proud of them for being able to focus on Goessel, execute, and take care of business Friday night,” Hoppes said. “I thought we prepared very well all week and it showed once we kicked off. We came out of the gate with a touchdown drive on offense and defensive stop, then scored on our second offensive possession as well. Goessel did put together a scoring drive on their second possession, but our defense settled in and held them scoreless the rest of the game.”
Solomon, though, will be a completely different animal. The Gorillas are big, strong and physical.
“They are undefeated and a Top 5 team in the state,” Hoppes said. “They are coached by Steve Tiernan, who is one of the best 8-man coaches in the state. He likes to formation you to death. They'll run anything from spread to double tight I and everything in-between. Our kids need to have a great week in the film room getting prepared for them. They are led by their quarterback Braden Nielson, who is a big, strong athlete. He's a dual-threat guy who can really spin it. They line up the Krause kid beside him at running back and at 190 pounds he's a load to bring down. Those two make for a heck of a tandem.”
The Eagles have been pounding it on the ground, but last week opened things up perhaps knowing they might need to throw it against the Gorillas.
“I was happy with our passing game execution,” Hoppes said. “Early in the game they loaded up the box and dared us to throw it. Our skill position guys accepted the challenge and we protected very well up front. Landon (Everett) made good decisions for us and was very accurate going 10 of 11 for 116 yards and a touchdown. We ended up rushing for just under 250 as a team, but we don't get those yards if our passing game isn't as good early.”
• District Standings •
1. Solomon, 3-0 (plus 63)
2. Canton-Galva 3-0 (plus 63)
3. Bennington, 1-2 (minus 21)
4. Goessel, 1-2 (minus 21)
5. Peabody, 1-2 (minus 21)
6. Herington, 0-3 (minus 63)