Wild prepare for Stallions in Northern Conference FinalThursday, August 02, 2012 by: Chris Dawson
Wild's Zach Wilkinson tries to break through the tackles en route to one of his 2 first quarter touchdowns last week. Photo courtesy Rosanna Matheson.
The Nipissing Wild have put their huge upset win over the Sudbury Gladiators behind them and for the last 4 days they have been focusing on their weekend foe the Huronia Stallions.
The Wild stunned the 8-0 Sudbury Gladiators 27-12 last weekend and now meet the high flying offence of the Huronia Stallions this Saturday afternoon at the Barrie Sports Complex.
When these two teams hooked up in late June the Stallions pulled of a 34-21 victory in the high scoring affair.
While the 3-6 Nipissing Wild saved their best play of the season for the start of playoff action, he believes the squad still has to play better to ensure a birth in the OFC Jr. Varsity Final.
â€śThe biggest thing about peaking is you have to keep going up,â€ť said the Wildâ€™s articulate head coach.
We can't plateau or go down. We need same dedication but we have to limit mistakes we made on Saturday. That was our best game but we weren't mistake free. We have to step up more with the same preparation and mindset but a few less mistakes will go a long way.â€ť
But last week, a great start helped the Wild propel themselves to an upset victory thanks to a pair of first quarter touchdowns by Zach Wilkinson; including a kick return for a score and a fumble recovery touchdown.
Gordon believes special teams will be key again this week.
â€śOur kicker Mitch Frederick is one of the only kickers in the league that consistently can kick 40 yards or more,â€ť said Gordon.
â€śBrian Samson has done a great job as Special Teams Coordinator. We think the Stallions are vulnerable to returns but they are dangerous themselves,â€ť added Gordon noting their top returner led the league with 3 return kicks for majors. The Wildâ€™s Poeta was right behind him with 2 touchdowns and was the league leader in total return yards.â€ť
The Wild will once again go with the running back-by-committee of Nick Weiszhaar and Brett Kraft as their top runner Jordan Sutcliffe sits out with a suspension for being ejected early in the Sudbury game last weekend.
Gordon felt Kraft will need to be a difference maker as he played a key role last week racking up 61 yards rushing â€“ most in the 4th quarter as the Wild tried to kill the clock.
They (Weiszhaar and Kraft) are big boys,â€ť said Gordon.
â€śThey can run over defensive backs and linebackers and wear down their defence.â€ť
Game time is 1 pm on Saturday at the Barrie Sports Complex.