JOHN MARSHALL at NORTHFIELD
When: 7 p.m. today
Records: JM is 1-1 in the Big Southeast Red and overall. Northfield is 1-1, 1-1.
Last meeting: JM beat Northfield 21-14 on Oct. 30, 2020.
Last game: JM beat Austin 32-12. Northfield lost 49-22 to powerful Mayo.
JM notes: The Rockets have gone from looking like they might not win a game this season after getting pummeled 61-0 by No. 1 ranked Mankato West in their season opener, to suddenly full of life and possibilities. The latter happened after showing off all of their speed, and plenty of skill, too, in beating Austin 32-12. The other thing that buoys JM is knowing that it is not close to full strength yet, with injuries holding a number of players (including speedsters Peter Ladu and Keondre Bryant) out of the lineup. JM could get more dangerous as the season unfolds. Northfield will likely have trouble matching up with JM’s speed on the outside but the Raiders should have the strength and size advantage. JM has a quarterback-receiver combination that looks dangerous, with precise mid-range thrower Gunnar Dokken hitting big and fast Michael Nicometo with crossing patterns. That combo has awesome possibilities. Nicometo is 6-3, 180, has great hands and is the fastest player in the conference.
Northfield notes: The Raiders, under new head coach Brent Yule, started their season with a narrow 21-20 win over 0-2 team Austin, then were blown out by juggernaut Mayo 49-22. Northfield looks like it can score. The Raiders have a quarterback, Soren Richardson, who has thrown for 154 and 165 yards in his first two games. He was 13-for-20 against Austin and 10 for 19 against Mayo. The Raiders also have a variety of running backs who produced in the first two weeks. Northfield’s defense looks to be a bit of a problem, though, including Mayo rolling up 398 yards of passing yards against it. Don’t expect JM to get that many, as Mayo has the best passing attack in the Big Southeast Red, but Gunnar Dokken and his tall and fast receivers might also exploit the Raiders.
JM coach Kevin Kirkeby says: “We still made too many mistakes, but we eliminated a lot of the mistakes we’d made (against Mankato West in its opener). We made huge strides against Austin. We tried to simplify the game plan and not overwhelm our players with so many things. Plus, we made some personnel changes that helped. The other thing was, our kids were hitting harder and blocking harder. We had a few ‘decleaters’ (hits), and we hadn’t had that in a while. We had 3-4 really big plays, but we missed on a couple of chances, too.”
— Pat Ruff • Post Bulletin