Former EagleHerald Sports Editor
MARINETTE—Coming off a tough loss against longtime rival Menominee, the Marinette football team will look to pick up its first win of the season when the Marines take the field against a very good Freedom Irish squad at Higley Stadium tonight.
Bringing home win No. 1 will not be an easy task for Marinette as Freedom comes in with a 3-0 record and are outscoring opponents 98-0 through its first three contests.
“(Freedom) always has a good team and is at the top of the NEC (North Eastern Conference), but this year is one of the best defenses I’ve seen on film in the last 12 years,” Marines’ coach Nate Anderson said. “They swarm to the ball on defense and they’re all big guys with a lot of speed and this game will be another test for us.”
The Irish, whose roster is 80 players deep and have plenty of options at each position on both sides of the ball, are led offensively by senior quarterback Nathan Senso who has already thrown for 425 yards and six touchdowns while completing passes at a 48.3 percent clip (29-60).
Senso has plenty of weapons around him starting with junior running back Carter Kriewaldt who has turned 69 carries into 405 yards and six touchdowns.
Finally, Senso’s two favorite receivers are 6-foot-0 sophomore Jack Vosters (five catches, 157 yards, two touchdowns) and 6-1 senior Jamison Rudie (6-96).
On the offensive line, the Irish do a lot of moving around and pulling guards to try and use their speed to get to daylight on the outside.
Marinette will have a difficult time containing the speed and height of Freedom, but coach Anderson has seen some things on film and thinks if the Marines can focus on certain aspects of the game that will take away other options and allow Marinette to have success.
“Everyone on (Freedom) can run, even their linemen, and and they like to try and get around the outside to get out in space, and if they can do that, we’ll have a tough time because they’re basically a track team out there,” Anderson said. “We say this every week, but if we can control the time of possession and force them to run between the tackles I think we’ll be O.K. We’re a tough team and try to pride ourselves on being physical so this will show us where we’re at.”
Offensively for Marinette, the Marines are led by senior tailback Adam Lemery, and Lemery has had success so far this season both through the air and on the ground as he has completed 11-30 passes for 199 yards and a touchdown while also rushing for 356 yards and four touchdowns on 73 touches.
Marinette has always been more of a ground-and-pound mindset offensively, and the Marines have a great second option to Lemery in senior Darik McMahon as he has turned 19 carries into 127 yards and one score. Three other Marines have rushed for at least 57 yards on the season in seniors Brett Whiting (74) and Braden Bizelle (57) and sophomore Leahland Bertrand (60).
Throwing the ball against Freedom will be difficult as the Irish have six interceptions on the year, but Lemery certainly has a favorite option if the Marines do choose to air it out as Whiting’s four catches for 126 yards and a touchdown lead the way for Marinette.
“Every team has weaknesses in some spot, it’s just trying to find where they are,” Anderson said. “We definitely want to try and grind it out to establish the run game early on and if we see an opportunity to surprise them with the pass we’re going to capitalize on it. It’s going to be somewhat of a power versus speed game, and we’re going to go out there and give it everything we have.”