Hadenfeldt seeks third straight victory over Van Buren WarriorsWarriors want to balance their offensive attack
Cardinal head coach Adam Hadenfeldt knows the final score isn’t always what it appears.
To kick off last season, Cardinal defeated Van Buren 28-0 in Keosauqua. Three of Cardinal’s four touchdowns came on plays of over 40 yards. Senior Dakota Showman ran for a 69-yard touchdown and Cole Campbell, now entering his senior year, caught a 66-yard touchdown pass. The game would have been much closer if the big plays that allowed the Comets to bust the game open never came to fruition.
“It was a lot closer than that,” Hadenfeldt said. “Our defense kept us in the game and big plays gave us a lead.”
Saying that defense kept the Comets in the game would be an understatement. Van Buren quarterback Aaron Clemens went 0-4 passing with three interceptions.
Hadenfeldt is entering his third season at the helm of the Comets and has never lost to Van Buren.
“We think they want to be a ground based ball club,” Hadenfeldt said. “We think their strength is on the ground, but since it’s week one we’re preparing for everything.”
Van Buren may not be as running game biased as Cardinal believes. New quarterback Garrett Saunders can toss it, leading new Warriors’ coach Mike Hurley to believe they can succeed running the ball half the time. Receivers Wyatt Cole, Brandon Plecker and Brayden Starnes will be Saunders’ main targets.
Hurley thinks this game will be completely different from what happened last season.
“We made a lot of mistakes last year,” Hurley said. “The team was very young and was starting a lot of sophomores. Those sophomores are juniors now. We have to knock down on our mistakes.”
In order to avoid mistakes the Warriors must play better defense. The game altering plays that Cardinal produced last year cannot be repeated. Defensive coordinator Zach Hornberg is focusing on stopping Cardinal’s inside running game; in particular junior fullback Nathan Yeager. Van Buren believes its skill players in the secondary should be able to take care of themselves against the Comet passing game.
The heat has made life difficult on both teams this week. Cardinal has been practicing in the evening while Van Buren is holding practice at 6 a.m.
“We probably had our best practice of the year this morning,” Hurley said Wednesday. “We’re hoping that practicing early will give us some fresher legs.”
Fresh legs is an issue Hadenfeldt feels he already has covered. The coaching staff at Cardinal have been urging the players to remain hydrated. Hadenfeldt plans on using every player on his roster in order to keep everyone fresh.
“That’s something we hope to use to our advantage,” Hadenfeldt said.
Both teams need a victory to begin their season on a high note. In week 2, Van Buren hosts West Burlington Notre Dame, while Cardinal travels to Danville.
WHO: Van Buren at Cardinal
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday
WHERE: Cardinal High School
QB: Cardinal will go with a two quarterback system, meaning Tyler Batterson and Brandon Potts will both see time under center.