Joel Klocke, Gavin Smith, Ethan Klocke.jpg

Joel Klocke, Gavin Smith, Ethan Klocke

(Audubon) -- The Audubon football team has used fast starts to roll to three-straight blowout wins to open up the 2020 campaign.

The KMAland 8-man No. 2 Wheelers have scored on their first offensive play in each of their first three games and have won those contests by an average score of 54-5. Head Coach Sean Birks says he’s pleased with the fast start, considering the amount of turnover his team had from last year’s state runner-up

"That's something that was a big question mark coming into the season," said Birks.  "We had a lot of new guys coming in this year.  We were replacing five or six starters on both sides of the ball, plus kickers, punters and long snappers.  Then we lost a lot of time in the offseason with COVID, so I was just curious to see if we'd be ready for the start of the year.  I thought we'd be a team that would struggle early, especially out of the chute.  But, we've come out strong, played well in all three game.  We scored on the first offensive play in all three games, for that matter."

Leading the fast start has been junior Gavin Smith, who is now the full-time quarterback after splitting time with Skyler Schultes last year. Smith has completed 11-of-15 passes for 349 yards with eight touchdowns and zero interceptions. He’s also ran the ball for 429 yards and nine scores, despite not having to play late into games.

"He's just such a threat in both parts of the game," said Birks.  "He's a run-pass threat.  A lot of people talk about that and being balanced and dual threat guys, well Gavin really, truly is that.  He throws the ball really well and he runs the ball pretty darn well."

Up next for the Wheelers is a matchup with Boyer Valley (1-2). The Bulldogs are led by quarterback Gavin Reineke, who is tied for the 8-man lead with 12 TD passes and ranks second in 8-man with 827 yards through the air.

"He slings it and has really good arm talent," said Birks.  "Especially if he's rolling out, he can buy time and then can rip it.  A lot of guys when they roll out start throwing off their back foot and they float it and it's a 50-50 ball at best.  But, this kid squeezes some throws in some tight window.  You've got to get to him.  You can't let him stand back there and dissect you.  You can't let him roll out to his right and buy time for his receivers to come open.  We have to keep him contained and get it out of his hands quickly."

While Boyer Valley wants to turn the game into a track meet, Birks says his team is very comfortable going up and down the field all night.

"Our offensive mindset is get in a track meet every night," said Birks.  "We want to get out there and be explosive.  We want to score as quickly as we can before a penalty or turnover or something else bad happens.  The offensive goal is to hurry up and score and put the defense back out there.  That seems kind of weird, but that's what we're about."

Adam Kiesel will be in Dunlap Friday night providing reports on the Red Oak Chrysler Football Connection Show. You can hear the full interview with Birks below.

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