Packers look to bounce back against JM

Austin High football coach Matt Schmit believes his team learned a great deal from Friday night’s setback against Red Wing.

It was a tough loss to swallow, and Schmit said things didn’t look much better when the team watched videotape of the game.

But there is good news. Schmit believes most of the mistakes the Packers made were mental miscues. In other words, things can be fixed.

"We weren’t beaten up at the point of attack; we just flat-out blocked the wrong guy or completely missed the assignment," Schmit said. "We can fix those things. Everyone saw it on the tape. It was right there in front of them. And the kids have been working hard, like I knew they would, to fix those mistakes."

Not missing blocking assignments will be a major point of emphasis for the Packers on Friday night, when they play their first home game against the Rochester John Marshall Rockets.


John Marshall opened its season with a 38-18 victory over Minneapolis South last Thursday. The Rockets are much improved from a season ago, when they went just 1-8. They feature a large offensive line and a ground game consistently moved the ball last week.

The Rockets finished with 151 yards rushing and four touchdowns on the ground. Running back A.J. Johnson had all four of those scores.

JM also displayed the ability to put the ball in the air against Minneapolis South. Second-year starting quarterback Jake Kirsch tossed a 40-yard touchdown to receiver Ryan Lakin, who finished with three catches for 86 yards. Kirsch completed 5 of 8 passes for 109 yards.

"Obviously, this is a much improved team from what we saw last year," Schmit said. "They aren’t changing anything they do on offense. They’re pretty much a two-back system, and they’re going to run it right at your with that lead back. They’re a big, physical team. They’ll do a little trap and some play-action. They’ve been very successful with that play-action over the years."

On defense, John Marshall operates out of a 3-5 set. It’s a defense that will feature blitzing linebackers on almost every play.

Schmit said that means it’s very important for the Packers to know their assignments.

"We have to, plain and simple," he said. "We’ve all looked at things on tape, and we know what we’re supposed to do. It wasn’t any one player’s fault or any one coach’s fault. Everyone made mistakes in that first game. We just have to be better all around."

Austin offense struggled mightily against the Wingers. They did finally find some success with misdirection plays to Jay Ettinger late in the game. Schmit said the Packers will look to use more of those plays. He also plays to use Blas Estrada more at quarterback.


"We’ll have some personnel changes, some small changes," Schmit said. "We’ll have some different plays; we just need to find what works for us."

One thing that has helped Schmit and the Packers remain positive is support from the community.

"That’s been great. I’ve had so many people come up and tell me things are going to get better and that they’re sticking with us," Schmit said. "Last week was tough. But we learned a lot, and the kids keep working hard."

Game time is 7 p.m. at Art Hass Stadium.

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