The Otis-Bison High School football team has a chance for a little payback tonight at 7.
The Cougars host Thunder Ridge in the Eight-Man Division-II playoffs. The winner competes for a state title on Saturday, Nov. 19, at Fischer Field in Newton.
The Longhorns are the only team to beat Otis-Bison in the regular season in the last two years, a 44-18 setback for the Cougars.
“I like to think that we’ve improved since then,” Otis-Bison head coach Travis Starr said. “We’ve got to move the ball more. We block better now.”
The Cougars defense will be looking to stop Longhorns running back Joel Struckhoff, but Starr said that every player on the Longhorns’ offense is strong.
“They have good, physical linemen,” Starr said. “They have capable tight ends, and their quarterback runs the option well. Their fullback has run the ball very well lately.”
Struckhoff ran for 214 yards and four touchdowns against Otis-Bison the first time around. He has rushed for 1,940 yards and 36 scores on the season.
“Their running back is a four-year starter, and I think he has the touchdown record for 8-man,” Starr said. “He has over 6,000 career rushing yards.
“He’s fast and elusive. He’s got a great juke. It’s hard to get pads on him. We’re going to have to fly to the ball and make sure to wrap up.”
Quarterback Trevor Lowe has carried the ball 103 times for 558 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Offensively, the Cougars will look to its two-headed rushing attack — Dylan Wissman and Patrick Piper.
Wissman leads with 1,126 yards and 21 touchdowns, but Piper is right behind him with 1,028 yards and 18 scores.
Wissman left the first game against Thunder Ridge early with a concussion.
Cougars quarterback Trevor Keller has completed 63 of 99 passes for 1,007 yards and 18 TDs. He has thrown six interceptions.
The only game that Keller threw for more yards than the team has rushed was against the Longhorns.
Keller completed 10 of 16 passes for 107 yards and one touchdown against Thunder Ridge. He threw one pick as well.
“We have to have a strong, balanced attack,” Starr said. “We’re going to need to move the ball through the air as well as on the ground. I think Trevor’s better than he was then. He’s seeing the field better. He’s hitting our receivers better, and I think our protection is better. We’re giving him more time to throw the ball.”
It doesn’t matter whether they throw the ball or run the ball. The Cougars will have to fight for every yard according to Starr.
“They really don’t have a weakness on their team that you can exploit,” Starr said. “They have big, strong defensive linemen. They have strong linebackers that fly to the ball. They just have a very strong team.”
The winner tonight will face the winner of the Baileyville B&B-South Haven game. The two teams will be playing on Saturday.
Entering tonight's game
Otis-Bison High School Cougars
Total yards 3,683
Rushing yards 2,602
Passing yards 1,081
RUSHING — Dyln Wissman 123-1,126; Patrick Piper 116-1,028; Trevor Keller 53-175; Justin Jecha 9-75; Justus Bartonek 12-71; Kade Hagans 19-53; Matt Crotinger 5-35; Zach Stejskal 5-27; Kole Urban 31-11; Dejay Vaughn 1-1.
PASSING — Keller 63-99-6 1,007; Urban 2-6-0 74; Bartonek 0-1-0 0.
RECEIVING — Wissman 13-290; Crotinger 19-268; Brandon Pechanec 15-185; Piper 9-154; Stejskal 7-140; Jecha 1-24; Jordan Hoffman 1-20.
TACKLES — Piper 85; Crotinger 63; Wissman 57; Dominic Manley 52; Stejskal 43.
SACKS — Manley 2; Devon King 2; Jordan Hoffman 1; Samuel Higgason 1; Pechanec 1; Matthew Demel 1.
Thunder Ridge Longhorns
Total yards 3,524
Rushing yards 2,974
Passing yards 550
RUSHING — Joel Struckhoff 185-1,940; Trevor Lowe 103-558; Blane Hrabe 59-296; Trent Rietzke 12-63; Dylan Bretton 12-47; Derek Reed 5-41; Chandler Hoskins 5-10; Zane Kuhlmann 2-9; Zach Wallgren 4-6; Garrett Krueger 1-3; Derrick Coomes 3-1.
PASSING — Hrabe 34-54-3 547; Rietzke 1-1-0 3; Struckhoff 0-1-0 0.
RECEIVING — Austin Herman 10-254; Struckhoff 5-115; Kuhlmann 8-92; Lowe 12-78; Dakota Foreman 1-8; Krueger 2-6; Coomes 1-3.
TACKLES — Kuhlman 89; Struckhoff 87; Foreman 79; Herman 59; Hrabe 56.
SACKS — Kade Dennis 4; Lowe 2; Coomes 1.