Last year: Woodstock 53, Wheeler 49
All-time series: Woodstock leads 6-4
Prediction: Woodstock 43, Wheeler 24
With lightning strikes within 8 miles, Woodstock took practice indoors for a bit Wednesday afternoon as it put the finishing touches on its game plan heading into tonight’s Region 5AAAAAA game with Wheeler.
Coach Brent Budde said the interruption was brief.
“I think, on a Monday or a Tuesday, it would have been a lot harder to deal with than it was on a Wednesday when you already have your game plan in,” Budde said.
So far, game plans have worked pretty well for Woodstock (2-0), which has outscored opponents 51-7 so far. The Wolverines’ task this week will be shutting down a Wheeler offense that has scored at least three touchdowns in each of its games thus far.
Budde said part of what makes Wheeler challenging to face is that the Wildcats have a lot of athletic players spread around the field.
“I think that’s always a challenge, particularly on defense,” Budde said. “We have to make sure we are where we need to be, and we keep everything in front of us, and then you have to run to the football and tackle those guys in space. That’s really what it comes down to.
“You have to make them earn their way down the field and not give up the big play.”
Wheeler coach Mike Collins didn’t deny the charge of having athletic players, but said his team hopes it can be thought of as more than that.
“I think you can assess us as an athletic club,” Collins said. “At some point, we would like to also be known as a discipline, hard-nosed, hard-working club, but it’s definitely a safe assessment to say we are athletic.”
Against Woodstock, Collins knows his players will have to tackle well on defense and eliminate penalties and turnovers on offense.
The Wolverine defense hasn’t made things easy for opponents this season. Woodstock has given up just one touchdown in two games, and even that score came against the special teams.
Collins said it’s typical for a Budde-coached football team to have a good defense. That said, the teams scored a combined 102 points in their meeting last season, which Woodstock won 53-49.
“We know it’s a tall task at hand for our offense to try to move the ball,” Collins said. “Hopefully, we can score some points. It should be a good matchup, and one we always look forward to. We’ll just have to see what happens.”
Budde said the key to his team’s success lies in “executing together.”
“We need to have all, what we call ‘perfect plays, where everyone grades out with a positive,” Budde said. “That was our message to the kids this week.”