The Owensboro Catholic football team expects a much tougher game after steamrolling Butler County 68-2 a week ago. The Aces (3-2, 1-0 District 2) will go for their fourth consecutive win as they host McLean County (3-2, 0-0 District 2), who comes out of a bye week after losing 40-20 to Logan County.
The Cougars rely heavily on their run game — they’re 9-for-22 passing on the entire season — but being one-sided does not mean they are easy to plan for. OCHS head coach Jason Morris said it’s been the toughest week of preparations because MCHS is so versatile in the backfield.
“They are really good at what they do,” he said. “They control the ball very well and have big offensive linemen who control the line of scrimmage. Their skill players run the ball very hard. They like to limit your possessions.”
They don’t simply turn and hand the ball off. They’ve got jet sweeps, options and counters. By pounding the ball down the field, they don’t give opponents many opportunities to score.
“We have to take advantage of every possession we can get and try to create some turnovers while they’re on offense,” Morris said.
Noah Todd is one defensive lineman that Morris said has helped the Aces contain powerful offenses. His presence alone limits the playbook for the opposition.
“Noah is a very special talent,” Morris said. “He’s made it to where teams sometimes get one-sided and try to run the football away from him. It makes it easier when you can split the field in half.”
At the other end of the field, Catholic runs as balanced an attack as possible. Quarterback Drew Hartz leads an impressive aerial assault, and he’s thrown for 1,412 yards and 16 touchdowns on 88-of-140 attempts.
The Aces have a pair of runners that are dangerous in the backfield. Von Williams has 721 yards and eight touchdowns on 78 carries, while Harold Hogg has added 364 yards and four scores on 44 carries.
“My philosophy on offense is to be as balanced as possible,” Morris said. “The more balanced you can be and stay ahead of the chains with the run and the pass, the better off you’re going to be.”
Catholic will try get their second district win, while McLean County is playing their first district game. Morris and the team know they have to win now to gain the advantage in the postseason, so they have to stay focused.
“The only way you’re going to get home field advantage is to win every game,” he said. “You can’t do that by taking any team lightly.”