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Spirit Lake ready for next challenger

Indians host Sheldon at 7 p.m. on Monday

October 26, 2012
By David Swartz - Managing Editor , Estherville Daily News

SPIRIT LAKE - Spirit Lake didn't play its best game in the last Wednesday's first-round game against MOC-Floyd Valley.

But when the defense pitches a shutout, 24-0, the offense just needs to get a couple scores on the board.

The Indians' (9-1) next challenge is Sheldon (8-2) at 7 p.m. on Monday in Spirit Lake.

Article Photos

Brady Mart (50), Bryson McCabe (23) and the Spirit Lake Indians host Sheldon in Monday’s Class 2A second-round game in Spirit Lake.
EDN file photo

Spirit Lake coach Josh Bolluyt said in preparation for Sheldon, his offense is just working on what the Indians do and trying to establish consistency.

"Against MOC-Floyd Valley, we felt we couldn't get in rhythm," he said. "We got in negative yardage situations with a penalty or a turnover. They (MOC-FV) also did a good job with ball control."

Statistically, the Orabs look like a one-man show.

Quarterback Chris Balster has 1,059 yards rushing and 1,161 passing yards for 2,220 yards and 28 touchdowns. Sixteen of them are on the ground. Passing, he is 51-of-105 for 1,161 with 12 touchdowns and two interceptions.

"They're an explosive team on offense," said Bolluyt of the Orabs.

However, Balster has some help. Nathan Oostra is his favorite receiver with 23 catches for 586 yards and seven touchdowns-the longest an 81-yard strike.

Tom Brown has 10 catches for 203 yards and four touchdowns.

On the ground, Hunter McDonald has 106 carries for 781 yards and eight touchdowns.

"Sheldon tries to generate big pass plays, but they can get big plays running too," said Bolluyt. "They run the option well, so we're making sure our defense is disciplined."

The Orabs needed overtime to get past their first-round opponent Forest City, 15-14.

Tied 7-7 heading into the extra frame, Sheldon won the coin toss and gave the ball to Forest City, which scored on a 9-yard pass play and then kicked the extra point.

Balster scored on Sheldon's first play of overtime to set up the game-winning two-point conversion pass to Brown.

Spirit Lake and Sheldon have a few things in common. In 2011, Spirit Lake and Sheldon were in the second district and the Indians won on Sept. 16. The Orabs made the playoffs but lost 27-21 to Kuemper Catholic in the first round.

Also, both Sheldon and Spirit Lake lost to top-ranked Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley this season.

After taking a 10-7 halftime lead against the Nighthawks on Sept. 21, BHRV out-scored Spirit Lake 18-0 in the second half. Spirit Lake gave up two interceptions and a fumble in that contest. The following week, the Nighthawks pitched a 49-0 shutout against Sheldon, a game in which the Orabs committed six turnovers.

Sheldon's second loss came in the second week of the season, 42-14, to Spencer.

Whoever wins Monday will likely get another shot at Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley in the quarterfinals. The Nighthawks (10-0) host Garner-Hayfield/Ventura (7-3) on Monday.

The winners from each side of the bracket will meet up at 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 2.



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