By TONY EIERDAM
One would think that the one work circulating around the Strawn Greyhounds’ camp this week would be “revenge.”
The Strawn Greyhounds will face the Gordon Longhorns at 7:30 p.m. today at Greyhound Stadium. Gordon has actually taken the last two games of this old and honored six-man football rivalry.
Last year Strawn fell to rival Gordon, 36-34, in a game that pitted two teams that would eventually make it to their respective six man division state semifinals.
But Greyhounds head coach Dewayne Lee is down playing the revenge card and instead is focusing on his team getting better each week.
Strawn is 2-1 and suffered its only loss of the season to state-ranked No. 2 Ira (sixmanfootball.com) while defeating Bryson (58-14) and Lueders-Avoca (92-56).
“Even though it is not a district game it is still a big game,” Lee said. “It is a big game for the communities, and it is a game where we can measure our progress.
“Gordon is a good football team that is playing well, and Coach (Joe) Kostiha has everyone excited. We are trying to get better every week, and we have to prove that we are getting better this week against a very good team. We are focused on getting better each week and working harder each to do so.””
Although Gordon has a new coach this year, native son Joe Kostiha, Lee expects the same Longhorns team the ‘Hounds face each and every year.
“Gordon is fundamentally sound.” he said. “They block and tackle very well, and we know what it is going to take to win this football game.”
Despite the down playing, Lee acknowledges his team and town are ready for the big game.
“Our kids are excited, and it will be a playoff atmosphere with a big crowd,” Lee said. “In fact, the crowd will be larger than what we see during our playoff games.
Lee feels the ‘Hounds can’t rely on its strong passing attack, led by junior quarterback Harrison Nowak and back/receiver Ross Alison, and instead must mix the run with the pass.
“We want to achieve a run/pass balance offensively,” Lee said. “We ran the ball very well last week against Lueders, and before that game we were throwing the ball pretty well.
“Gordon has a solid defense so we need to be balanced to keep them guessing.”
As his offense improves each week, Lee feels the Greyhounds’ defense still has work to do to become the unit Lee expects it to be when district starts later in October.
“We are still trying to find our identity on defense,” Lee said. “I feel we have given up too many points, and we are still trying to find the right scheme that fits our personnel.”