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JM football preview

JOHN MARHSALL AT OWAONNA

Friday, 7 p.m.

Last week: John Marshall had little trouble with Robbinsdale Armstrong in its season opener, winning 30-12. The Rockets built a 21-12 hafltime lead and then outscored the Falcons 19-0 the rest of the way. JM got 153 yards rushing on 25 carries from halfback Drew Meyer. JM’s defense held Armstrong to just 39 yards rushing.

Owatonna fell 48-30 to Hopkins in its season opener, at Hopkins. The Huskies, who led 24-21 at halftime, were done in by Hopkins’ speed. Owatonna was outscored 20-6 in the fourth quarter.

Last meeting: Owatonna pounded JM 28-7 in the second week of the season a year ago. The Huskies pounded JM with a running attack that featured everyone — including the quarterback — swinging left or right on sweeps and throwing blocks for the ballcarrier. Owatonna outgained JM by a whopping 285-47 on the ground. Owatonna threw just four passes. Matt Herr (graduated) had 129 yards on 14 carries. Joel Schauder threw for 115 yards for the Rockets.

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JM breakdown: The Rockets got off to the kind of start they wanted, being physical on both sides of the ball. JM’s starting defensive front was particularly impressive, as was middle linebacker Matt Bitz. Rockets quarterback Joel Schauder didn’t have a great night, but much of that was because he didn’t throw often. Schauder was 5-for-11 with one interception, one touchdown and 49 yards passing. JM does hope to do a better job in the first half with its run blocking. The Rockets will have their work cut out against a big Owatonna line, led by 6-6, 270-pound Wisconsin recruit Casey Dehn.

Owatonna breakdown: The Huskies are considered one of three favorites in the Big Nine Conference, along with John Marshall and Mankato West. They operate a decidedly running offense, with players all in tight along the line of scrimmage, and then all of them — including the quarterback — throwing blocks for the running back once the ball is pitched out. Former Faribault star running back Blayze Petersen has transferred to Owatonna and is in its starting backfield. He ran for 120 yards against Hopkins, while Collin Wencel had 95. The Huskies have a big, physical offensive line led by Casey Dehn, a 6-3, 270-pound senior who has signed to play at Wisconsin next year.

Pat Ruff

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