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Paxton-Buckley-Loda head coach Jeff Graham and Momence head coach Matt Fox discuss the keys of their teams' Week 8 matchup, which is scheduled for 7 tonight at Zimmerman Field in Paxton:
With Momence already qualified for a playoff spot and PBL still searching for its fifth win, what is your mentality heading into this game?
Graham — “We’re going to work for it. We’re going to work for two more wins. We have two more regular season games, and so we’re going to work for two more wins. But right now, we’re going to focus on this weekend.”
Fox — “Five wins doesn’t guarantee the playoffs. We’d like to get that sixth win to ease our mind. We look at this game as one of the biggest on our schedules. It’s a home game for them, and they’re still looking for that fifth win. They’re going to bring everything they’ve got. We’re going to have to match their intensity and enthusiasm and energy. It’s going to be a tough challenge got to be ready for that.”
What are your impressions on DeAndre Wright?
Graham — “Yeah, he’s good. It’s not a mystery to anyone. Everybody knows how good he is. He’s just a quick scat back. You have to try and contain him, so we’ll have to work on that.”
Fox— “He does a real good job. Our offense goes through him. We have had a good offensive line doing a great job blocking for him. He’s a special player.”
How do you plan on shoring up a defense that gave up 475 total yards last week against St. Thomas More?
Graham — “Quite frankly, I don’t think it’s a mystery here that we have to get back to the basics of tackling. Right now, we’re not tackling that well. We really have to maintain our footing. DeAndre’s good, and we know that, but our kids will get focused this week and work hard.”
Considering PBL’s 4-0 record at Zimmerman Field, do you think it has a strong home-field advantage in this game?
Graham — “I didn’t even look at that, but maybe that’s a good sign. Maybe coming back home, we can pick a win up. Let’s hope that, during the regular season, we can win all our games at home. That’d be nice.”
Fox — “We’ve struggled at times on the road. They’re really good at home, and that goes with their preparation. PBL is a tough place to play no matter what their circumstances are, especially this year, with them tyring to make a playoff run. It’s going to be a challenge for us. They are a well-coached team. Coach Graham does a great job with them. They’re going to be a tough opponent for us this week.”
What is the status on Drew Schrodt?
Graham — “Right now (as of Monday), Drew’s going to play. He practiced tonight, and so we’ll just take it and see what happens this week, but right now, he’s in practice. He is practicing this week, and we’ll go from there.”
How has PBL been able to keep its running game going (316 yards vs. STM) without Schrodt?
Graham —“Jesse Houtzel is continuing to run the ball hard. Jesse’s just been a really good workhorse for us. Zac Weisenbarn ran the ball well for us on the counter. Of course, Weston Weber — it kind of sounds weird that our quarterback’s kind of a hard-nosed interior runner along with Jesse. We had Trent Wooten that we ran on the jet that looked pretty good there. Drew coming back just adds some more speed.”