Mingus Union goes on the road vs. Cactus Shadows

Senior running back/defensive back Jason Groth had a solid outing for the Marauders in their season opener against Higley, rushing for 119 yards. (VVN/Vyto Starinskas)

Senior running back/defensive back Jason Groth had a solid outing for the Marauders in their season opener against Higley, rushing for 119 yards. (VVN/Vyto Starinskas)

The Cactus Shadows Falcons are fresh off a road win over Seton Catholic 33-9 to open the season. The Falcons welcome the Mingus Marauders to their first home game tonight. In last week's game, the ground game carried the Falcons as they exploded for 21-second quarter points.

The Falcons ran the ball on the ground 40 times for 413 yards. Leading rusher was senior Hayden Runnel who carried the ball eight times for 177 yards and two TDs. The Falcons had five ball carriers that had over 30 yards rushing on the night, and five TDs, while averaging 10.3 yards per carry.

The Falcons throw the ball just enough to keep a team honest; last week they threw it 11 times for 87 yards. Their receivers are not flashy or fast and mainly block for the running assault, but can get open and catch the ball.

The Falcons will come out in a Power I, and then spread it out while trying to run the ball. Like Mingus, this team lulls you to sleep with run left, run right, run up the middle and then bam! They throw it deep looking for the big play.

This year, junior quarterback Andrew Young is solid after starting last year as a sophomore. When the Falcons have the ball, they are a multi-set offense. At times, they will be under center, at times they will run four wide receivers, and at other times they will run two backs. They really want to pound the ball, as evidence in running it 40 times against Seton Catholic, and throwing it 11 times.

This is a senior heavy team with a transfer in from Ohio. Normally, this is a huddle team, but can and will run up-tempo to increase the pace to get things going if need be.

"We have good running backs," said Falcon coach Mike Hudnutt, "and we have the speed to finish off the runs."

The Falcons had more penalties (14) for 152 yards than they had first (13) downs last week.

On defense, this team runs a 4-4, eight-man front. Sam Nollette, and Dylan Speirs man the corners. Graduation ravaged the linebacker position for the Falcons. All their starters are new, which means they can be run on. Senior linebacker Gavin Stapley waited for his turn to play, and had a good game in his first start. One of their linebackers from last year was moved to the defensive backfield to shore up that position. This team will rotate lineman in throughout the game to stay fresh for the fourth quarter.

The Falcons will try to avenge a 42-15 loss last year, where the Marauders jumped on them with 35 first-half points, while holding them scoreless until the end of the fourth quarter. Last year, Jordan Upham of the Marauders passed for 100 yards and rushed for 185 yards as Mingus rolled up 493 yards in total offense, while holding the Falcons to 198 yards on the ground and 33 yards in the air. For a total of 231 total yards.

Last year, the Falcons turned the ball over six times, which lead to easy points as the Marauders scored 23 unanswered points in the second quarter.

"Mingus is a very well coached team," coach Hudnutt said. "Coach Young does a good job with them. You can't make those types of mistakes and expect to be in a game with a well-coached team like that."

The Falcons will be looking forward to playing assignment football, and to being more disciplined on the defensive end of the field when they meet Friday night.

Mingus Union now has to switch gears and go from defending the spread offense to also playing assignment football and getting off blocks as Cactus Shadows will try to run over the Marauders on the ground.

"I know they want a piece of us," Marauders coach Bob Young said. "They had a couple of turnovers early, and we jumped on them. They left here knowing they did not play their best game."

Jason Groth leads the Marauders in rushing with 119 yards, quarterback Trey Meyer had 168 yards passing and three TDs, last week. This game means a lot as the Marauders try and get off the snide. This is going to be a physical game; the already thin Marauders cannot afford any more injuries.

Kickoff is a 7p.m.

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