The East Lincoln Mustangs are a better football team than their record indicates, but unfortunately for them turnovers have not allowed them to show that.
Mustangsâ€™ head coach Matt Rikard is hoping that disturbing trend will cease against the North Lincoln Knights this Friday.
Rikard is more than aware of the turnover problem.
â€œWe have to hang onto the ball. The past two out of three, weâ€™ve fumbled in key situations. Weâ€™ve had a third down and short and jumped offsides and put us in a third and long then had to punt, so we just need to find ways to score,â€ he said.
The Mustangs will need more than 51 yards from Ryan Sykes, which is what he totaled against Lincolnton, if they hope to beat the 2-1 Knights. They are coming off an average performance against the Wolves tallying 134 yards for the game.
The coach is also looking for his offensive line to improve their quality of play.
â€œWe need to improve the play on our line. At times theyâ€™ve been average, but they still have a lot of improvement to make as a group,â€ Rikard said.
The Knightsâ€™ offense features many different sets and also lots of misdirection plays. Rikard knows his players carrying out their discipline will be a big factor.
â€œThey run a lot of misdirection. One of big keys is weâ€™re going to have to make sure everybody maintains their responsibilities as far as staying at home and not getting caught up in all the action that is going on in the backfield,â€ he said.
One player that stands out to Rikard in film study is Knightsâ€™ running back Brandon Mull.
â€œHeâ€™s good on offense and on defense. Heâ€™s an explosive runner, he blocks, he catches the ballâ€”he just does it all.â€
What is the biggest x-factor for the Mustangs for this week according to the coach?
â€œThe biggest factor right now is confidence. Weâ€™re looking for it and theyâ€™re sitting at 2-1. Weâ€™ve played some good ballgames, but because of the different mistakes it hasnâ€™t paid off yet,â€ he said.
One thing is certain in Rikardâ€™s eyes and thatâ€™s the Knights will be prepared to play.
â€œTheyâ€™re going to come ready to play. Coach Custer has done a wonderful job. Theyâ€™ve made vast improvements over the last year.â€