The Mavericks have a two-game winning streak entering Saturday’s game against the Winona State Warriors. Continuing their success will pose a real challenge against a Winona team that has outscored opponents 176-41 this year.
Winona State will be hosting the Mavericks for what will most likely show to be an exciting, high-energy game. Coming out fast and setting the tempo for the game will be key for the Mavericks, and Head Coach Todd Hoffner knows it.
“I think it’s crucial, I don’t think there is any doubt about it. It’ll be important for us to match or exceed their energy level,” Hoffner said. “Getting off to a great start is really important, but you got to play 60 minutes and hopefully we start fast and finish stronger. That’s our motto for the week.”
Getting off to a fast start will be important, but winning the turnover battle against a potent scoring offense like WSU’s makes forcing turnovers and keeping possession of the ball even that much more important. Marcus Gooden, senior linebacker for the Mavericks, on how turnovers will play a major factor heading into the matchup.
“Turnovers are huge for us. We lacked on that category the first two games. One of our objectives each game is to get 3 turnovers- not to mention they are great for momentum swings,” Gooden said.
The Mavericks will need to keep momentum on their side because if it starts to swing over to the Warriors’ side, there’s no promising that it will be coming back. Time of possession, controlling the ball, and winning the turnover battle are just a few of the highlighted points in order to get out of Winona with a win.
“When you have two talented teams going against each other it’s about breaks, mistakes and turnovers. You have to catch a few breaks and minimize mistakes and be advantageous in creating turnovers but you also need to minimize the turnovers,” Hoffner said. “It’s a game of field position. It’s a game of blocking. It’s a game of tackling. There are a lot of fundamentals that go into the success or lack their of, of a football team.”
If the defense can do their job and limit an offense that has outscored their opponents by 135 points, it will be up to the offense of the Mavericks to bring a victory back home to Mankato. Overall the Mavericks will need to play a strong game on both offense and defense against a relentless offensive attack from the Warriors.
“They’re very talented, they have a very good tailback, really good quarterback and really good receivers so it’ll be tough to keep them out of the end zone,” Hoffner said. “It’ll be a great challenge for our defense.”
Hoffner also went on to add his thoughts on the objectives for the Mavericks’ offense: “Offensively we need to be productive, we need to score touchdowns and control the clock. We need to move the football- move the chains and ultimately we need to take care of the football. If we can do all those things… it will be quite the rivalry game, let’s just put it that way.”
The Mavericks are going to need to perform at their highest level in order to win on the road against rival Winona State. The game will be on the road at Maxwell Field, in Winona, on Saturday October 1st at 1 p.m.