Heidelberg to clash with unbeaten Blue Streaks
If last week’s game seemed important, this week’s is critical.
Heidelberg coach Mike Hallett doesn’t like to look ahead. But after losing to No. 1 Mount Union last week, the Student Princes (7-1) know they will likely have to win their final two games if they want to make the Division III postseason for the second-consecutive year.
Enter John Carroll, a team that, just like Heidelberg, has plenty to play for when the teams meet today at 1:30 p.m.
The Blue Streaks come in undefeated and – again, like Heidelberg – nationally ranked. John Carroll has the Student Princes this week and the Purple Raiders next week. Win this game, and JCU has to like its chances for its first postseason berth since 2002.
Hallett, whose team has beaten John Carroll in each of the teams’ last three meetings, said what makes the Streaks stand out is their defensive front.
“Their D-line and linebackers move very well, they’re very aggressive,” Hallett said. “That’s what’s really allowed them to accelerate themselves from a year ago.”
Opposing offenses are averaging a little better than three points a game against the Streaks. Lineman Justin Kravchuck leads the pressure-heavy group with four sacks.
“Their secondary is solid,” Hallett said. “Their are some things out there we feel we can take advantage of if we have the time to throw it. The good news is, our offensive line is pretty good, our backs are pretty good at picking up blitzes.
“I’m sure their deal is, much like Mount tried to do, stop Cartel [Brooks], make us beat them throwing the ball.”
On offense, the Blue Streaks have a quarterback in Mark Myers who has thrown for almost 2,200 yards. Running back DaQuan Grobsmith has run for almost 600.
“They have more balance in their offense, probably, than what they had a year ago,” Hallett said. “So they can run the ball, they can throw the ball … you know, you watch their offense, and formationally and schematically, it’s very similar to what we do.”
Hallett said there wasn’t much of a hangover after last week’s loss to Mount Union.
“We’re OK, our guys are fine,” Hallett said. “They know they had opportunities to beat Mount; we didn’t take advantage of them at all. We feel like we went toe-to-toe with the best team in the country.”
And now, a week later, the Princes will be tested by another one of the conference’s best.