North Union’s Trevor Moran picks up yardage against Fairbanks. The Wildcats will host Col. Crawford on Friday.
The Wildcats of North Union got their season started on the right foot in Week One with a solid 53-20 win over their in-county rivals Fairbanks.
NU head coach Nick Hajjar believes his team has more to offer in Week Two.
The Wildcats will have their second showdown with the Eagles of Colonel Crawford in the Cats’ second game of the season.
In the first meeting with the Eagles last year, North Union was able to dominate in a 55-20 win.
Hajjar said this year’s contest will be another good contest.
“It is a big game,” he said. “Both teams are 1-0. They shut their Week One opponent out. They have not been scored on
“At the end of the day, you have a good defense if you can do that. I don’t care who you are playing.”
Hajjar said the Eagles have a younger crew this season with only six seniors on a team of 63 players.
However, the same physical play can be expected.
“They are always tough, physical kids,” Hajjar said. “I think that shows again on film.
“I have the upmost respect for their staff,” he said. “They do things the right way and you can just tell in how their kids play through the toughness, physical play and discipline.”
Some of those physical players NU will have to watch out for are in the Eagles’ backfield.
Tristan Cross is the main back for the Eagles and checks in at 6-1 and 215 pounds.
Cross will be paired with another big back, Ethan Suter. Taking snaps for Colonel Crawford will be Brock Ritzhaupt.
“Cross runs hard,” said Hajjar. “The thing that is impressive about him is yards after contact. He rarely goes down on that first hit, so we’ve got to run to the ball and gang-tackle him.”
Hajjar said the trio in the backfield is a deadly combination for the NU defense.
“When both are back there with the quarterback, it poses problems,” he said. “They have three kids who can make it happen, plus some tall kids on the perimeter who are fluid route runners. It is going to be a challenge.”
And the challenge for this year’s NU team has been the defense.
“Defensively we’ve got to create something, which is something else we are emphasizing,” the coach said.
Hajjar said the opening game against Fairbanks was a good contest for his lineman against a large Panther line.
“The team we played last Friday have some big football players who strain on you,” said Hajjar. “That was good for our guys to feel that strain.
“There might be some guys on the line who are faster, but for raw size, they were big on both sides of the ball.
“That good for guys to understand what it is going to take to move people.”
That early test for the line could pay off in Week Two as the Cats face a Wing T offense that will try to disguise their plays.
“They’ve got a lot of Wing T principals,” Hajjar said. “They have kind of morphed out of the traditional Wing T formations, so we are going to have to make sure we understand and identify formations.”
Hajjar added that the Eagles are going to give NU their best shot.
However, one team will be walking off the field 1-1.
Hajjar just hopes his team can rise to the challenge.
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