Pella and Washington set for clash of mirroring running games
Heading into this year’s 3A football bout between a pair of second-round playoff teams, Pella coach Jay McKinstrey knows his team must step up if they are to take down Washington for a second straight year.
“The truth of the matter is, we were very fortunate to win,“ he said. “Washington outplayed us in that game. They played really physical and had the ball deep in our territory. They made a couple mistakes and missed a field goal in regulation to win.”
The Pella defense is due credit for pushing the Demons back and forcing a long field goal.
Pella then capitalized in overtime.
Last year’s contest saw multiple centers under center for Washington. This year, that issue has been corrected.
“We haven’t had a bad snap yet, but I’m not going to talk about that,” said head coach Randy Schrader. I don’t want to jinx us. Kyle Collier is doing a great job for us.”
This non-district game dates back to 1995. However, there was a break in 2010 and 2011. The meeting was renewed by the luck of the draw.
Coaches pick five teams outside of their district they want to play. It turns out neither team selected the other, leaving the selection up to IHSAA, although McKinstrey did reach out to Schrader.
Quarterback Daryn Sebelius and running back Alex Coker are becoming a known commodity in the state. The pair combined for 221 rushing yards last week versus Mid-Prairie.
“Seeing [Sebelius] play against Mid-Prairie and Alex Coker on film, those guys are extremely good,” he said. “They are very talented, dangerous young men. Every play they can go to the house.”
Coker is not 100 percent — he has a hip pointer — but as of today will start.
Both teams have a grind-it-out style of play. A lot of running between the tackles is expected from both squads.
“We certainly are a running team,” McKinstrey said. “We are always working on improving the passing game.”
Schrader voiced his team’s reliance on the running game.
“Absolutely, always have been, always will be until I’m gone,” he said. “Our offensive line takes great pride in being run blockers.”
McKinstrey had nothing but praise for the Washington program.
“They are very physical and athletic; they are going to have a great year,” he said.
Even with appearances in the second round, McKinstrey said both teams are revamped from last year.
Washington and Pella kick off at Case Field, Friday, at 7:30 p.m.
Coming into the season, Washington wasn’t ranked in most preseason polls. It cracked the polls after week one for a No. 15 ranking in the BCMoore Iowa 3A. Pella meanwhile is No. 4.
“Washington has got it going — they have some really good players on their team,” he said. “They are very good. I thought they would be ranked to start in most polls.”
The rating doesn’t matter to Schrader. A trip to the University of Northern Iowa at the end of the season is what his team covets.
“There is only going to be one team happy at the end of the year and that is the one in the UNI-Dome holding up the trophy,” he said.