Curve balls figured to be a big part of the 2020 football season.
Century got a big bender on Friday.
The Patriots’ homecoming game on Friday, Sept. 18 at the Bowl against Williston has been canceled. The Coyotes are dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak on their roster. A decision on a potential makeup date will be determined at a later date. It is not a certainty the game will be played. The West Region does have another open week on Oct 2. All West Region teams were off on Friday (Sept. 11).
“We all knew going into this season there could be the possibility situations like this would come up,” Century head coach Ron Wingenbach said. “The kids wanted the opportunity to play all the games on the schedule, unfortunately that may not happen.”
The Patriots now will go 22 days in between games, essentially the length of another preseason camp. Century, ranked No. 1 in Class AAA and riding a 14-game winning streak dating back to last season, last played on Sept. 4 against Mandan. Their next game will be Saturday, Sept. 26 against Minot at the Bowl.
“It is a pretty substantial amount of time between games. As a coaching staff we need to be a little creative,” Wingenbach said. “It’s also one of those situations where you lean on your senior leadership and count on them to keep everyone focused and pointed in the right direction. But certainly when you’re talking about more than three weeks, it is a challenge.”
The defending state champs won’t waste the time. Improving the pass defense and the passing game will be an area of focus over the next couple of weeks.
“Defensively, we’ve been pretty good against the rush but we do need to tighten up our pass coverage,” Wingenbach said. “On the flip side of that, with our strength up front we’ve been rushing the ball pretty well, but we need to improve our passing game.”
Senior running back Cade Garcia has run for 293 yards – 5.1 yards per carry – with four touchdowns.
Defensively, Thomas Jeske has three sacks. Maquire Martin has a team-best 19 tackles.
The Patriots’ special teams drew high marks from Wingenbach.
Senior kicker Wade James is 6-for-7 on PATs and 2-for-2 on field goals.
“We’ve been really happy with our special teams play in all aspects,” Wingenbach said. “Our depth on special teams is very good as well.”
When the Patriots do get back on the field, they’ll be very healthy. Century’s vaunted offensive line also will get a boost with senior Cooper Christian’s return. Christian missed the first two games against Legacy and Mandan with mono.
“When we looked at the schedule we knew we had two good contests right out of the chute and without nonconference games it made those two games even bigger,” Wingenbach said. “We’re happy to be sitting 2-0 and we really like how our kids have handled the new guidelines and protocols we’re all having to deal with. Like we said way back at the beginning of the season, we’re just taking it one day at a time and hoping like heck we’ll get to practice the next day.”
Get in the game with our Prep Sports Newsletter
Sent weekly directly to your inbox!