Sports

Cobras' single wing offensive

Sigourney-Keota’s Sam Sieren carries the ball for a touchdown Sept. 4, 2020 in a 48-14 home win over Union. (Chad Drury/Ottumwa Courier)
Sigourney-Keota’s Sam Sieren carries the ball for a touchdown Sept. 4, 2020 in a 48-14 home win over Union. (Chad Drury/Ottumwa Courier)
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LETTS — If one does a single thing, one had better do it well. Sigourney-Keota runs the ball very well out of its single-wing attack.

It is something the football team has been known for since Hall of Fame coach Bob Howard won a state championship and a ton of games at Sigourney and the combined Sigourney-Keota program. The unique offense features an unbalanced offensive line, every snap taken from shotgun and a spin back. When Jared Jensen took over as head coach in 2011, he had no idea what the offense was.

“When I interviewed, I talked to the coaches and understood kind of that this is what S-K is known for, their identity,” Jensen said. “I liked just kind of the deceptive factor of what it brings. I fell in love with it.”

Jensen is starting his 10th year at the school with a 62-53 record overall and 50-32 with the Cobras.

In the single wing, a team is looking for 3.5 yards per rush.

“If you can get that, you are at a first down after three plays,” Jensen said. “We know from experience that if you face a defense that is not fundamentally sound, you can find ways to exploit them.”

Everyone has to do their job to get stops against the single wing. The Cobras have shown that is hard to do.

The Cobras were second in Class 1A last year in rushing yardage, behind a team that played 11 games to the Cobras’ nine. The Cobras were the only 8-1 team not to make the playoffs last season.

This season, only five 1A teams have more touchdowns than the Cobras’ 17. Pocahontas leads 1A with 20, then Durant, Truro I-35, OABCIG, Underwood all have 18. The Cobras are fifth in all-purpose yards at 572 average per game and seventh in total offensive yards gained at 1,111. They are fourth in rushing yards, tied with Pocahontas with 867 and fourth in yards per carry at 7.7 per rush.

The Cobras have a special weapon in Brady Duwa, who was all-state at defensive back last year as a junior. He was third in the state with nine interceptions and second in Class 1A in interception return yardage.

“There is no doubt in my mind he would find a starting position on most teams no matter the class,” Jensen said. “This is a tremendous student-athlete and community member. Keep your eyes open for this young man.”

Duwa’s two kickoff returns for touchdowns leads Class 1A. His four returns are tied for 24th with many others, but his yardage total is second, making his average, at 55.8, first of those with at least three returns. His long was 90 yards and that is the longest in 1A. He has two punt returns for 44 yards (11th in 1A), an average of 22 (ninth). His three interceptions are tied with two others for third. Duwa’s return yardage on interceptions is 11th at 37.

The Cobras saw another single wing Friday when they defeated Louisa-Muscatine 41-0.

“The game started off with fireworks and both teams testing each other out,” Jensen said. “The Falcons tested our defense with the teams trading punches, but we got stops in the red zone.”

The Cobras still need to work on improving.

“We have to continue to get better with less mistakes on offense, defense and special teams,” Jensden said. “Brady has been saying it all year, ‘Go 1-0 this week.’ I don’t want our guys to focus on who we are playing and how good they are, I want them to focus on how well we do compared to our best or what we think our potential is. That way we are focused on comparing ourselves against the best we can be.”