Commodores want to stop Rangers’ running game

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Sports Editor

LEOPOLD—Containing Forest Park’s running game will be Perry Central’s top priority when they meet in football Friday at 6:30 p.m.
“They like to run the ball,” said Perry Central Coach Greg Gibson. But Gibson Southern, ranked No. 2 in the state in Class 3A, shut the Rangers out last week by being quick to the ball on defense.
The Commodores may not be quite as quick as Gibson Southern, but “I was pleased with our pursuit Friday night,” Gibson said Monday.
The Commodores will be quicker than the Rangers, who have “average overall” speed, said Gibson.
In size comparison, the two teams are “pretty much a wash,” he said.
He said Noah Braunecker, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound senior fullback, is the Rangers’ top ball carrier. “He runs hard,” mostly off tackle.
Wingback Tyler Henke, a 6-1, 185-pound senior, will carry the ball on some toss plays. “He’s pretty quick,” said Gibson.
Ben Wendholt, a 6-3, 190-pound junior, who took over as the starting quarterback late last season, returns at that position.
Gibson said the Rangers pass about 30 percent of the time.
Wendholt has two big targets in 6-3 senior Joe Mesaris and 6-4 junior Bailey Schulz, “which kind of concerns me because our cornerbacks are not that tall,” said Gibson.
On defense the Rangers “run a little bit of everything,” said Gibson. “I think their base will be a 4-4 look. But we’re going to have to really pay attention to make sure we know what front they’re in.”
Gibson listed linebackers Braunecker and Eric Barth, a 6-4, 185-pound senior, as two of their top defenders.
Regardless of what defense the Rangers play, Gibson wants to be able to run and pass against them.
“For us to be successful against anybody on our schedule, I think we need to be balanced,” he said.