McLouth now experienced, off to 2-0 start
The lumps taken by the McLouth High football team the past few years finally appear to be paying off.
The Bulldogs, who averaged two wins a season from 2008-2010, have already reached that mark with a 52-6 home victory against Valley Falls on Friday.
MHS (2-0) has outscored its opponents 99-6 through two games and coach Christ Stewart said the team’s success is a direct result of having experienced varsity players who were around for and played through last year’s 3-6 campaign, as well as some who were part of a 1-8 team in 2009 and a 2-7 season in 2008.
McLouth seniors John Berry, Calvin Booth, Alex Courtney, Tim Culter, Shawn Dailey, Cameron Humerickhouse, Hunter Koch, Alen Kramer and Cody McHenry have been a part of the program through those down years and hope to turn things around this season.
“If you’ve been beat around for years and years and you’ve got the right group of kids, who want to be good,” Stewart said, “that plays a role into what kind of success they can have.”
A senior running back, Dailey went for 100-plus yards on the ground for the second week in a row against VFHS and has five rushing touchdowns this season. Stewart said the 5-foot-11 back runs hard and has been focused on producing.
“Over the last few years, he’s gotten a lot better and gotten a lot bigger,” the coach said of Dailey, who has put on nearly 50 pounds since his freshman year.
The Bulldogs’ quarterback, junior Marc Walbridge, was effective on the ground and through the air on Friday, throwing for 60 yards and a TD on seven pass attempts and running for 89 yards and a score.
Walbridge is in his third year as the MHS signal caller and Stewart said the coaches have high expectations for him to know the playbook, read the defense and see when players are open. The coach said Walbridge has shown accuracy when he has been asked to throw and he expects that to improve as the season goes on.
Of course, the McLouth defense, which has surrendered only six points, has been a huge part of the team’s 2-0 start, as well. Junior Charlie Courtney had 11 tackles in the opener, a 47-0 whooping of Oskaloosa. That same night, Mat Horton had three tackles for loss. In Week 2, Kramer sacked the Valley Falls quarterback in the end zone for a safety.
Stewart said the team’s junior nose guard, Dakota Cop, has been a key for the defense.
“He’s done a good job putting pressure on the middle of the offense,” the MHS coach said, noting Cop has demanded double teams. “That opens up a lot more opportunities for the other defensive linemen.”
Plus, Stewart said, the Bulldogs are playing with maturity now, because they are more experienced.
“Everybody is understanding their positions and really being aggressive and going to the ball and being faster than we have in years past,” he said.
To call McLouth’s play through two weeks dominant might be an understatement, but the program’s fourth-year coach isn’t making any predictions about more blowout victories in the coming weeks.
“We’ve been fortunate that everything has went our way in terms of our offense,” he said, noting the team’s lack of turnovers. “You never know what changes could be in store and what things will happen on a given night.”
As MHS prepares for its first road game, at 7 p.m. Friday at Immaculata, in Leavenworth, Stewart said he doesn’t want the Bulldogs to be satisfied with their play in the first two weeks, because past success doesn’t guarantee it will be easy every week.
“I just try to tell the kids to stay focused and just practice hard and work hard and we’ll just see how the outcome is in the games,” Stewart said.
McLouth 52, Valley Falls 6
VFHS 0 6 0 0 — 6
MHS 14 26 6 6 — 52
M — Shawn Dailey 6 run. John Berry kick.
M — Dailey 1 run. Berry kick.
M — Dailey 4 run. Berry kick.
M — Alen Kramer sack for safety.
M — Dakota Cop 3 run. Berry kick.
M — Tim Culter 28 pass from Marc Walbridge. Berry kick.
V — Monty Gier 22 pass from Brock Watson. Conversion failed.
M — Berry 19-yard field goal.
M — Walbridge 19 run. Conversion failed.
M — John Courtney 1 run. Conversion failed..