“It’s probably the biggest win for Maconaquah in, I don’t know, 20 years,” he said. “And more importantly it showed our guys what we’re capable of if we come out and play solid football, very aggressively, fast paced, not make a lot of mistakes.”
Northwestern won last year’s meeting 41-12 but the Braves have made a leap forward, already equaling last year’s win total.
“I think they’re a lot better,” NW coach John Hendryx said. “They’ve got a lot of guys back. You look at the ages of the kids that are starting, a lot of senior starters with some juniors sprinkled in. And then you have a three-year starter at tailback [Cody Hicks]. Everybody’s a year older, everybody’s got a year more strength, a year more experience, and it shows.”
The Braves have cleared paths for Hicks to run for 762 yards so far this season. QB Kyle Dinn has completed 40 of 64 yards but didn’t attempt a single pass last week in rainy conditions against Western. Walton has 19 receptions.
“They’ve got a huge offensive line, they’ve got a great tailback, and a very good quarterback that I think is kind of underrated,” Hendryx said. “They didn’t use him a lot last week, they didn’t throw a lot last week, but in some of their other games we’ve seen he’s done a really good job of running their offense, completing passes, getting first downs, and they have a really skilled wide receiver.
“Defensively they’re all about pressure. They put a ton of pressure on you. They’re a pretty big challenge.”
Hendryx noted that Maconaquah’s dominant running game can control the clock and limit opportunities for opponents. He said it’s vital to not let the Braves chew up seven or eight minutes at a time because their defense is improved as well, making it harder for opposing offenses.