For the first time in the program’s history, Heartland Lutheran is off to a 2-0 start.
So obviously getting to 3-0 would be more uncharted territory for the Red Hornets.
But a third win would also be something Heartland Lutheran hasn’t earned overall in any single season yet.
Friday’s 7 p.m. road game at Class D-2 No. 9-rated Lawrence-Nelson will provide the Red Hornets with challenges and opportunities.
“This would be a huge, monumental win,” Heartland Lutheran coach Preston Gehle said. “Heartland Lutheran has never won more than two games in a season. This would be a great win against a strong program, and it will be neat to see how we play against them.”
The Raiders (2-0) certainly won’t make it easy for Heartland Lutheran to extend its winning ways.
“They’re a good team and coach (Brian) Blevins is a great coach,” Gehle said. “I think we’re a mismatch for a lot of the teams that we play. They’re athletic, so we’ll see how they match up if we spread it out.”
On paper, this looks like an offense vs. defense match-up. The Raiders have given up a total of 28 points in wins over Kenesaw and Hampton.
Heartland Lutheran piled up 116 points in its victories over Sumner-Eddyville-Miller and Red Cloud.
Gehle said the Red Hornets will need to protect quarterback Jacob Simonson and get its passing attack going.
“They’re going to try to bring a lot of pressure,” Gehle said. “Jacob will need time to step back. We need to give him time to make his reads, and then Jacob has to get the ball out quickly.”
Defensively, the Red Hornets need to do a better job of getting stops. They’ve allowed 78 points over the first two games, but Gehle said players are getting familiar with new roles and positions so he expects to see continued improvement.
“For the most part, we’re OK with the way they’ve performed,” he said. “There are some things that we are still working on, but everybody has gone out and played as hard as they can.”
Grand Island (3-0) at Columbus (0-3)
Class A No. 4-rated Grand Island Senior High heads to Columbus for Friday’s 7 p.m. game, the beginning of a two-week road stretch that includes a showdown against No. 3 Omaha Westside next week.
The Islanders are averaging 231 yards rushing and 186 yards passing per game.
Trey Kissack is 45-for-70 for 558 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions while Adan Redwine has rushed for 320 yards even though he exited last week’s win over Omaha Burke after only six carries due to a knee injury.
A defense that allows 11 points per game has been led in tackles by Brendan Barnes (10 solo, 22 assisted) and Keenan Ketteler (14-10). Ketteler also has two interceptions and a recovered fumble.
Columbus has lost its three games by a combined 105-35. Quarterback Landon Brabec is 22-for-42 for 212 yards and has carried the ball 54 times for 263 yards and two touchdowns.
Northwest (2-1) at Gering (0-3)
Northwest looks for its first road win of the season after taking its longest trip for the 7 p.m. (Central) kickoff.
The Vikings are averaging 298 yards passing per game. Fifteen different players have receptions so far, led by Brandon Gannon (14 catches, 181 yards, 2 TDs) and Colton Helgoth (13-238-2).
The Bulldogs are only averaging nine points and 149 yards of total offense per game.
Boone Central/NG (2-1) at GICC (1-2)
After splitting a pair of road games, Grand Island Central Catholic returns to Memorial Stadium to host the defending Class C-1 state champions at 7 p.m.
The No. 9-rated Cardinals have won two in a row since losing their opener to No. 2 Columbus Scotus.
Boone Central/Newman Grove has been balanced on offense while averaging 219 yards passing and 197 yards rushing.
Blaine Kennedy is 29-for-49 for 623 yards with six touchdowns and two interceptions. Keaton Henry and Scott Ketteler each have over 200 yards receiving while Kennedy, Damian Backus and Henry have all rushed for over 100 yards.