KEARNEY — Kearney Catholic started the season with a dominant victory over Broken Bow in Week 1.
The Stars’ success, especially on offensive, didn’t carry over against a superior Aurora team last week, however, as they fell behind early and never recovered.
The Stars (1-1) will try to regain that explosiveness they displayed against Broken Bow when they travel to Lincoln to face Lincoln Christian (0-2) at 7 p.m. Friday.
Here are three areas to watch in Friday’s contest\:
Week 2 struggles
The Stars found themselves staring at a 22-0 deficit before the end of the first quarter against Aurora. A pair of turnovers and a special teams miscue led to the underwhelming start for the Stars, who never overcame their early-game troubles.
In the game, the Stars fumbled three times and threw one interception. Starting quarterback Heinrich Haarberg completed 8 of 18 passes for 82 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also struggled to run the ball, totaling eight attempts for minus-27 yards.
The offense finished with 130 total yards, as the Stars lost 45-10.
“On our first offensive possession we got to fourth down and had to punt and it was a bad snap and it just snowballed from there,” coach Rashawn Harvey said. “Second possession we had a guy running wide open down the field and the defensive end barely hit Heinrich’s arm and the ball fluttered in the air and it was an interception. We couldn’t recover from there. Aurora was the more physical team.”
Regaining fast play
The Stars want to use an up-tempo style offense. They excelled with that philosophy against Broken Bow, but when they played a more talented Aurora team, a lack of execution and turnovers hindered their ability to play that style.
The Stars had numerous offensive drives end prematurely due to turnovers and ran 42 plays against Aurora. Harvey said he typically wants the Stars’ offense to run about 60 plays per game.
Playing smart, fundamental football will allow the Stars to play their desired style on offense against Lincoln Christian, Harvey believes.
“After we evaluated the film as coaches with our players on Saturday morning. We looked back at everything and it was just the basic things we didn’t accomplish in regards to moving the football,” Harvey said. “Guys would take a play off here and there or they wouldn’t do their assignment. We’ve narrowed it down to just do your job, and we are fine.”
Stopping Lincoln Christian
The Crusaders have lost their first two games — a 30-29 overtime loss to Platteview and then a 41-33 road loss to Concordia on Friday.
This week’s game will mark the third different style of offense the Stars have had to prepare for this season. The Crusaders have shifted away from a spread offense in recent years to the flex-bone offense. It is a run-heavy offensive scheme that creates trickery through the triple option and typically limits an opposing team’s offense from having their desired amount of possessions.
Understanding the reads and not playing too aggressively will be key for the Stars to limit the Crusaders’ success on offense, Harvey said.
“It is very imperative that if you have the dive, you take the dive,” Harvey said, “if you have the quarterback, you got to take him or if you have the pitch you got to do it because when you don’t do your job and if we repeat some of the behavior we had last week, it’s going to be a long night in Lincoln, Nebraska against Lincoln Christian.”