MASON CITY – A cold and steady rain was falling on the Newman Catholic football practice on Thursday, but Knights coach Rick McCardle wouldn’t have it any other way.
“We haven’t really had any bad weather this season,” McCardle said.
A rainy forecast for tonight’s games, though, indicates that the Knights might have more to contend with than an undefeated St. Ansgar squad that is positioning itself for a district title.
As if that weren’t enough.
The Saints have traditionally featured solid line play and a strong ground game, and this year is no exception.
Dayton Smith, a senior running back for the Saints, averages nearly 130 yards per game to lead a rushing attack that averages more than 330 yards per game.
The Saints have scored at least 35 points in every outing this season.
The Newman offense is no stranger to the end zone either, but the Knights’ style of play is equally dependent on success both running and passing.
While Newman’s speed may be advantage in wet conditions, the Knights will have to have some success through the air, and that could be problematic if conditions are too wet.
“The weather is something we as coaches will have to factor in,” McCardle said. “We would like to get a score early.”
Wet conditions, though, could help a Newman defense that looks to rebound after a rough outing against West Hancock last week.
Two tough losses in the last three games have set Newman back in recent weeks, and the Knights are looking to get their season back on track.
“We are right where we were last year at this time,” McCardle said. “We still have goals. We are playing for a winning season.”
The Knights stand at 4-2 overall and 2-2 in district play and still have a chance for a top-three finish in district play.
If that is to happen, though, the Knights will have to be prepared for a lot tonight.