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Football: Wingers prep for high-powered Hawks

Everything Chaska can do, Red Wing hopes it can do better.

A week after taking a loss to Farmington at home, the Wingers bring in the Hawks, who along with Farmington are the only undefeated teams left in the Missota Conference.

And in studying Chaska, Red Wing head coach Matt Schultz sees an opposing lineup that runs its offense and defense in a similar way to the Wingers.

“They run empty, trips, a little bit of spread (on offense),” Schultz said. “Defensively, they run a 3-4 and some cover-3 just like us. So, we’ve been practicing against it since August 12. We should be fairly familiar with how to block it and how to attack it.”

While Chaska runs an offense similar to Red Wing, the seventh-ranked (5A) Hawks run it more efficiently. The highest-scoring offense in the Missota Conference at 37.0 points per game, Chaska runs a balanced attack led by dual-threat quarterback Justin Arnold and running back Kolby Seiffert. During last Friday’s 35-18 victory over Shakopee, Arnold threw for 182 yards and a touchdown, and also rushed 16 times for 129 yards and three touchdowns. Seiffert ran 27 times for 157 yards and a score.

“All their skill guys are pretty good,” Schultz said. “(Arnold and Seiffert) each have 420 (rushing) yards, and that’s after three games, so they’re on pace for over 1,000 yards.” 

And with that high-powered offense, Chaska has forced teams to get out of their comfort zones and the Hawks’ defense has reaped the benefits. Against run-heavy Shakopee, Chaska held the Sabers to an average of 3.5 yards on 40 carries. In run support, Carter Groskreutz and Lucas Ward lead the way, averaging over 10 tackles per game.

“They’re big up front,” Schultz said. “They got two really big defensive tackles, and they have two really big linebackers. The insides are probably 235 to 255 pounds, somewhere in that range.”

When Shakopee tried to go to the air, the Hawks came up with four sacks and four interceptions, with two coming from defensive back Peyton Sanders.

“Teams have to do some things different when they have to play them,” Schultz said. “They got as good of players as we’re going to see all year, from D-line to corner to wide receiver to tailback to offensive line.”

The Wingers look to put on a better performance than last year’s 33-0 loss to the Hawks. All Schultz wants is to have his team put in a position to give Chaska a fight in the second half.

“We’re hoping that some passes connect that didn’t connect last week,” Schultz said, “and that our defense can get some stops and force them to punt. If we can do that, we’ll see what happens in the second half.”

Joe Brown

Joe Brown is the sports editor for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he worked at the Marshall Independent and the St. Cloud Times. For updates on local sports, follow Joe on Twitter at @RE_JBrown.

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