The 2-1 Wildcats travel to Coloma (1-2) Friday in a Wolverine Conference clash that opens West Division play for both programs. Three Rivers disposed of Allegan last week 28-0 and the Comets were hammered by Paw Paw 49-6.
Though Allegan’s not one of the stronger league teams in 2013, Three Rivers limited the Tigers to just 54 total yards of offense and five first downs. Meanwhile, despite a sluggish first half, the Wildcats rolled up 359 yards in a balanced attack (131 passing by quarterback Alex Cottingham).
“Coloma offensively does some really nice things,” Three Rivers coach J.J. Wagner said. “In fact, it is very similar to our spread package. They are no huddle, play an up-tempo style and try to get their athletes the ball in space. Defensively, they feature a 4-2-5 versus our spread sets, and more of a 4-4 versus our tight end packages. They play a lot of man to man in their secondary, and feature some nice pressures, so we’ll have play well up front.
“Coloma has some good athletes and are fairly big up front. They show flashes of being really good, but have struggled with turnovers and consistency so far.”
By The Numbers
Wagner noted his team’s offensive balance as one of the key stats that stood out through the first third of the season. In the last two games Three Rivers has put up a combined 597 yards — 224 gained through the air.
“It’s much more difficult to defend a team which can run and throw effectively,” Wagner said. “The offense’s job is not just to score points. It is to control the ball and protect our defense by keeping it off the field. Our balance gives us the flexibility to adjust to what defenses are giving us, and I think for the most part we’ve done that.”
Taking Three Rivers’ Temperature
“Our kids have shown steady improvement so far this season,” Wagner added. “We have played some really solid defense and offensively we are starting to develop an identity and get more comfortable with our schemes. We need to continue to build momentum, and get better throughout the week.”