Bureau Valley’s offense has been cooking so far this season.
In the first two weeks, the Storm scored a total of 97 points in wins over Riverdale and Sherrard. Even since then, as the schedule has gotten more difficult, the Storm scored 22 in a loss to Mendota and 21 in a loss to Kewanee.
The next team tasked with trying to slow the Storm is Newman, who will host Bureau Valley on Friday night at Roscoe Eades Stadium.
“It’s a very unorthodox offense,” Newman coach Brandon Kreczmer said. “They do a lot of false pulls, pulling the opposite way of where they run the ball. We’ve just got to make sure we know what we’re reading.”
Pacing that Bureau Valley offense has been the one-two punch of Jaden Michlig and Layton Britt, who have combined for 765 yards and 10 touchdowns rushing.
“They’ve got kind of a misshaped offense, they have some weird plays they go through,” Newman senior lineman Elliot Noble said. “But we don’t think it’s going to be anything too special. Their head coach used to be here, so we think it’s going to be a tough game because they know what we’re going to do and we know what they’re going to try to do.”
That coach is Mat Pistole, who was an assistant at Newman alongside Kreczmer under Mike Papoccia before taking over at Bureau Valley in 2019. A win Friday would be Pistole’s first against his former colleagues at Newman, as well as Bureau Valley’s first win over the Comets since 2009.
It would also snap a two-game losing streak for the Storm, who were tied 21-21 with Kewanee in the second quarter before the Boilermakers rattled off 28 unanswered points.
Bureau Valley is not the only team coming into this game off a loss, and like the Storm, the Comets saw chances to win in Week 4. In the loss to St. Bede, Newman turned the ball over six times, three fumbles and three interceptions.
Despite that, the Comets were still in the game before the Bruins burned most of the remaining clock, and all of Newman’s timeouts, with a late drive ending in a 30-yard field goal.
“The effort was there, we blocked well, we just couldn’t hold onto the football,” Kreczmer said. “That was the most frustrating part, watching the film the next day and Monday with the kids, there were wide-open holes. It’s just we couldn’t hold onto the football.”
The loss was Newman’s first to St. Bede since 2011, but this marks the second time the Comets have tried to come back from a loss this season, having also dropped a Week 2 game to Rockridge.
“We’ve been trying to go back to our fundamentals this year,” Noble said. “We’re just going to go back, play some smash-mouth football, have a Blue Machine drive the whole game.”
The Comets come into Week 5 having allowed 59 points through four games. Only Princeton has allowed fewer in the Three Rivers East.
That defense is part of what made the Week 4 game, with half a dozen turnovers, remain close throughout.
“Defense, they did what they could to keep us in the game. We were on the field a lot,” Kreczmer said. “But I’m a defensive guy, we always hang our hat on our defense. Overall I was pleased. We still made some mistakes. We’ve got to shore that up. Hopefully we can play a well-rounded defensive game.”
Now that defense will prepare to face a similar one in Bureau Valley, which held Riverdale to 12 points and Sherrard to seven during its two-game winning streak to open the season.
“Their defense is similar to us, they just have their ends up on the line,” Newman’s Ethan VanLanduit said. “Nothing changes for our offense. Our line and backs have the same blocking responsibilities.”