Merino vs. Akron
Friday, October 8, 2021
Merino High School
|Football State Titles||8||6|
|Offense||Spread & Tight I||Spread|
|Head Coach Nathan Schmidt||Head Coach Jerome Weers|
|3rd year as head coach at Merino||9th year as the head coach at Akron|
|12th year as a high school football coach||17th year as a high school football coach|
Quotes from Merino Head Coach Nathan Schmidt:
Thoughts on Merino's 2-3 start
NS: You know we've played some tough teams during the first half of this schedule but I'm proud of how we played. I think we've held our own, we've just made a few too many mistakes along the way that have cost us, taking nothing away from our opponents. We're young at a few key positions and we're going through some growing pains but we're getting some great experience for our young guys. We're starting to see them play with some football savvy. But I like our chances from here on out and think we're getting better and better every day we take the field.
Goals from this moment on for his Merino Rams
NS: Yeah, you know we're like everyone else and I would say our goal every year is to hold that gold ball over our heads and win a state championship. And even though we've dropped a few games, I think our goals are still attainable and right in front of us. We're still in the mix and our team believes that. Once we get our young guys going, I think the sky is the limit for this team.
On what he likes most about this team
NS: Right now, it is their willingness to learn and grow. They have shown us so much growth over the past several weeks and they put in the work. We have a great group of kids, great leadership and all of our players are very coachable. No matter what we throw at them, they are willing to go out there and do it and put in the work. And it's those life lessons that I love most about football.
Thoughts on Friday night's matchup with Akron
NS: Akron is a dang tough team. Another Plains League team who has also played in some tough games. They battled (6-time defending state champion) Sedgwick County to a close loss and they will be a great challenge. I like our chances, I believe in who we are and think Friday night will come down to whoever makes the most plays at the right time will win.
Quotes from Akron Head Coach Jerome Weers:
Thoughts on Akron's 3-2 start
JW: It's been good. You know the last two years we've kind of struggled. Small schools tend to go through cycles where they are successful for a bunch of years and then you can struggle for a few and we've struggled. But really happy with our 3-0 start against some good non-league competition but when we get into our league, it's tough. We didn't play well versus Dayspring and played really but lost to Sedgwick County. Now we're just looking to get back on track and back on the winning side this Friday against a good Merino team. There are no weeks off when you get into league.
Goals from this moment on for his Akron Rams
JW: Our goal is to get better every week. Because when you play in the Plains League, getting better is all you can hope for because you get a tough opponent every Friday. As far as team goal, I'm hoping that we can earn a playoff spot as we have had a little playoff drought here of late. I'd love to see this team get back into the postseason and with the players we have, I think we'll an opportunity to do that.
On what he likes most about this team
JW: They're fun to be around. It's a great group of kids. They all have great work ethic, a great sense of humor and they enjoy being around each other. It's a tight group, no cliques, which is really fun to see. They hangout outside of football and school and have really taken ownership of this team and this season. But that's what I like most, they're fun to around.
Thoughts on Friday night's matchup with Merino
JW: Merino is always tough, and we look forward to this game every year. The battle of the Rams. Merino is always well coached, always physical and this Friday will be no different. Not sure if it's a mascot thing, but this game always has a special environment. The communities really get behind this game and it's a lot of fun. And my guess is that over the years, this rivalry is probably pretty close to .500, it's been a great rivalry. The players always look forward to it.