PERRYSBURG – It’s going to be interesting Friday night in Napoleon.
Two of the three undefeated Northern Lakes League teams – Perrysburg and Napoleon – will look to improve to 4-0.
“It’s a big test this week. They (Napoleon) are a good football team,” Perrysburg head coach Matt Kregel said.
“I am looking forward to it,” Kregel added. “You look forward to the big game atmosphere … This is a big game. This is what we practice for and it’s fun to do.”
Napoleon head coach Tory Strock, also knows it’s a big time game.
“This has that big time feel and what’s funny about that is there is just something in the air that’s different for these types of games,” Strock said. “You can say, it’s just another game all you want. No it’s not. It’s THE game.”
Kregel said he is not surprised with Napoleon’s success this season.
“I get to see from seventh grade up who has guys coming, and we knew they had some talent coming along,” Kregel said. “They have been big up front for a couple of years and they are more skilled this year.”
The Wildcats will continue to run their Wing-T offense with Jarrett Gerdeman and Michael Chipps carrying the load. As a team, Napoleon has put together 1,132 total yards, including 750 rushing yards.
“They run it really well,” Kregel said about the Wing-T. “They are not complicated in what they do. It’s not something that you see every week. They just try to force you to having one guy out of place.
“With that type of offense, they run the clock. They try to control the time of possession and beat you by a score,” he added.
Gerdeman was a first-team All-NLL selection last season rushing for 1,089 yards and 12 touchdowns.
This season Gerdeman had already scored 11 touchdowns while rushing for 411 yards on 53 carries. Chipps has added three touchdowns and 359 yards on 36 carries.
Kregel said the Wildcats have improved in their passing game.
Zack Rosebrook is 14-of-20 passing for 274 yards and three TDs. Gaven Brubaker has five receptions for 154 yards and two touchdowns.
Strock said that there are some plays in the passing game that could be a major factor in the game.
“We’re hoping that we’ve got enough tools in our toolbox that we’re going to have a solution to every problem Friday night,” Strock said. “It may be mixing in more throws early in the game to hopefully loosen them up for our run game.
“There are some things in the passing game we have not shown yet that we have ready to go,” he continued. “For us it’s going to come down to in-game adjustments and seeing what they’re doing. We feel we have a remedy for just about everything.”
Perrysburg will counter with sophomore Conner Walendzak at running back. Walendzak has rushed 67 times for 394 yards and six TDs.
“You never know between the freshman and sophomore year the way things are going. But this is one of those kids that you could tell that he is going to be uncommon. Not only speed and agility, but he is a strong kid. He can bench 300 pounds,” Kregel said.
Walendzak will also be playing defense in the secondary.
Also for Perrysburg, Chris Mason has 18 carries for 204 yards and quarterback Christian Gulgin has 24 carries for 80 yards.
Gulgin has thrown for six touchdowns going 22-of-43 for 323 yards. Aidan Pratt has eight receptions for 128 yards and 3TDs.
The Yellow Jackets have had 1,132 total yards so far this season.
As an overall team, Perrysburg has continued to improve since the start of the season.
“It was such a short run between the start of the fall practice to that first game. You didn’t have scrimmages. We had to make corrections on the run and figure out in a hurry what we were going to be good at,” Kregel said. “And now we have that zeroed in on, we can add a little bit every week.
“We can take some things out that haven’t worked as well. We are starting to find the personality of this team.”