(Anita) -- CAM football has been downright dominant in their first three games of the season.
The Cougars (3-0, 2-0) are one of just three teams in Iowa 8-Player that ranks in the top seven in average points per game and average points allowed per game. Coach Barry Bower’s team has outscored Fremont-Mills, Woodbine and West Harrison by an average of 58.7 to 13.3.
“Any time you can start the season 3-0 is awesome,” Coach Bower said. “I also think we need to clean up some things a little bit better. We’re getting into the grind of the season, and we’re happy to be where we’re at right now.”
Star senior Lane Spieker has been one of the most productive players in the state of Iowa, ranking fourth in all classes with 19 offensive touchdowns. His 15 rushing touchdowns and 716 yards on the ground lead 8-player. In addition, he was 9-of-10 for 147 yards passing and two touchdowns in their most recent win over West Harrison.
“He’s going to do anything he thinks is going to benefit the team,” Bower said. “We’ve got some very unselfish players, and they’re going to do whatever is asked of them. If people are going to crowd the box then we’re going to throw the football, and if they’re going to protect the pass then we’ll make sure we run the football.”
Spieker is one of nine seniors on this year’s CAM roster with many of them serving as major contributors for multiple seasons. Ethan Follmann has 141 yards passing and three touchdowns while Colby Rich leads a deep receiving corps with 10 catches for 165 yards and two scores.
Defensively, Joe Kauffman is another senior that leads the team in tackles with 25.5, and Cade Ticknor has a team-best 4.0 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks. The Cougars have forced 10 turnovers in the first three games with seven of those coming from the senior group.
“The beauty of having some experience is you can do some different things,” Bower said. “These guys make the job a little bit easier. I keep pushing and pushing and pushing so things don’t slip through the cracks. They understand the system and have been in it for a while, and that’s the fun part about it.”
CAM goes outside 8-Player District 10 this week when they host East Mills (2-1, 1-1) from 8-Player District 9. The Wolverines have victories over Woodbine and Griswold and suffered a week two loss to Lenox.
“They’re very, very well-coached and play hard,” Bower said. “They’ve got a relentless football team that really comes after you.”
The East Mills offense has averaged over 50 points per game, leaning on a balanced offense with 649 passing yards and 508 rushing yards. Senior Ethan Meier has thrown for 640 of those yards and 14 touchdowns while also leading the rushing attack with 262 yards and three other scores. Mason Crouse (11 receptions, 290 yards, 5 TD) and Davis McGrew (13 receptions, 161 yards, 5 TD) also make for a terrific one-two punch at receiver.
“(Crouse) is a good wide receiver that obviously just makes plays,” Bower added. “He’s got great hands and is a great athlete. (Meier) has taken over (at quarterback), and they do a wonderful job. They wouldn’t be where they are without those guys up front, and we’ll have our hands full.”
Bower says he is stressing with his team this week that they play sound, fundamental and assignment football on the defensive side.
“Sometimes they can get you out of your normal gap responsibilities,” he said. “We have to stay gap sound and do that efficiently and make sure to protect over the top. They keep pounding and pounding you, and then they will go right over the top, so we have stay disciplined on that side.”
Matt Darrah will be in Anita on Friday evening providing reports from CAM/East Mills during the Red Oak Chrysler Football Connection Show. Listen to KMA Sports’ week three coverage from 6:20 through midnight.
Hear the complete interview with Coach Bower below.