Last year it was QB Chad Gilson who broke a hand the week before playing the Maroons.
This season, it will be Travis Perry with the broken bone, this time it is a broken foot that has grounded a J-Hawk player in the CIML Central Conference opener for both teams.
Anderson says Perry broke this foot the second play of a 24-0 loss to Fort Dodge last week at Frerichs Field. Perry tried to play on it, but Anderson said it was obvious his star wasn’t at full-strength.
This also marks the second week in a row the top-rated Maroons play a team down one of their best players. Last week Des Moines East lined up against West Des Moines Dowling Catholic down senior quarterback Zack Jones. Jones broke his foot the week before against, you guessed it, Fort Dodge. The Maroons rolled to a 54-7 win to improve to 3-0 for the 2010 campaign. The Dodgers defense again came to play limiting the J-Hawks to 59 yards on 32 carries and 147 yards of total offense and three more turnovers.
Nigel Habben is this year’s starting QB for the J-Hawks. He played last season against Dowling after Gilson, who now is red-shirting at UNI, broke his hand against Ankeny. Habben is pass-first threat who will run if needed. So far this season, Habben has 25 carries for 95 yards and is 12 of 26 passing for 128 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Connor Freeman and Jake DeHamer are the Urbandale threats at running back. Freeman is the senior with 19 carries for 75 yards. DeHamer, the junior, 7 carries 40 yards. Connor will play wingback and be put in the slot, depending on Coach Anderson’s call. DeHamer is a part of the flex-bone rushing attack to keep defenses honest.
Kellen Roberts is the team-leader in receptions with 4 for 36 yards.
Perry already had 4 catches for the season as well, all in the team’s opening season win against Hoover. Perry, a 2-sport athlete for Urbandale will likely miss the rest of the regular season. He already has scholarship offers from Eastern Illinois and a couple of other schools to play football.
Coach Anderson though has told his team this week they are facing a semi-final and final caliber teams. He says they have to play their game and not get caught up in the hype of playing the number one team in the state.
Anderson, in his 7th year at Urbandale, says his defense is anchored by Tyler Schmitt, Nick Jepsen and Jordan Augustine. Schmitt leads the team with 20 tackles from his defensive tackle position.
One thing the J-Hawks did not help them against Ft. Dodge was committing 14 penalties. Anderson said many were foolish. The Dodgers only led 10-0 at the half and only added two touchdowns late in the game to win 24-0. Coach adds the Dodgers were a hard-hitting team with good speed. It also was the first time the J-Hawks were shut out in 5 seasons.
But Anderson also knows the Maroons bring some speed of their own to the game at Waukee Stadium. Anderson says he’s familiar with Connor Bravard, as are most coaches in the state. Bravard leads the Maroon offense with 222 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns, plus 349 passing yards and 7 touchdowns.
The J-Hawks and the Maroons met two times last season. Both went to Dowling. First a 44-8 win in week 7, then the Maroons advanced to the UNI-Dome with a 31-7 win in the quarterfinals.
Friday will be the Maroons home opener. The game will be played at Waukee Stadium. Our pregame show begins at 6p on AM 1150 KWKY and KWKY.com. You can also send us a question through the blog or our Twitter feed at Twitter.com/KWKYSports
For Brian Morris on the sidelines, Dave Marcoulier in the analyst chair, Romelle Slaughter getting calusis on his Twitter fingers and Tim Burrow playing the hits, I’m Paul Yeager. We’ll see Friday night at 6 with kickoff set for 730p.