Cedar Falls, East to Battle for Bragging Rights
By Kelly Beaton
WATERLOO, Iowa - Kody Asmus doesn't need to be reminded of Friday's countless story-lines.
Waterloo East's new football coach is well aware that this will be his first test against tradition-rich Cedar Falls. And, Asmus is well aware that one of his assistants, Terrance Freeney, is a former Cedar Falls star.
And, finally, Asmus doesn't need to be reminded that three of his former players at NU High are now wearing Tiger fatigues.
Despite all those uncomfortable facts, the Trojans' new coach insists he's looking forward to Friday's intra-city clash.
"It's kind of like Iowa-Minnesota," noted Asmus, a former Iowa Hawkeye player, light-heartedly.
"It's a very unusual game," added Cedar Falls co-head coach Pat Mitchell.
East's first-year sideline general said he would like to model his program after elements of Cedar Falls' perennially playoff-contending outfit. ... Even if the Tigers and Trojans are metro rivals.
"When you think of Cedar Falls, you think of football," explained Asmus, who has nearly 50 players on varsity this fall. "They're able to run the ball, they're able to stop the run. When you do that, you're going to have success, as they've proven."
East is looking to bounce back from a 21-point setback at the hands of Iowa City West in week one. Second-ranked Cedar Falls, conversely, looked solid in a 24-7 defeat of Dubuque Hempstead.
Mitchell was pleased with the Tigers' physicality and focus last week. And, he expects players relatively new to the Tigers' offense to continue making strides in week two, including quarterbacks Jordan Doyle and Kyle Denning, who will likely split snaps "fifty-fifty" on Friday, according to their veteran coach.
"We have two real good quarterbacks - smart, hard-working, talented players," Mitchell said of the two seniors. "And they're two good leaders, so it's a very healthy situation."
Mitchell added, though, that he'd like to see Doyle and Denning - Cedar Falls' first co-number one quarterbacks since 1981, according to the coach - "spread the ball around more" offensively.
Asmus was encouraged by the Trojans' team unity in the opener, but hopes to see his troops play a bit more mentally sharp against Cedar Falls.
"We've got to do a better job blocking up front," he noted, "making checks, and focusing on the little things."
Here's one thing we know, for certain, that we'll see on Friday: some awkward postgame handshakes. Asmus, for example, can't imagine what it'll be like talking to his former NU High players, like Denning, after their new teams have clashed.
"It was weird watching film on Saturday," Asmus explained, "because I was with (Denning and company) for five years.
"I still have a good relationship with all of them," the coach added. "But it'll be a little different shaking hands with them rather than singing the fight song with them afterward."