NIXON — Mustangs’ head coach Carlton McKinney has been in this spot before. At 2-2, the Nixon-Smiley Mustangs are facing similar bumps in the road from last season. Although the coaching staff hopes to pull what they learned last year and use it as teachable moments for this season, many of the players that the team is counting on didn’t play a major role in last year’s team. So to get the inexperienced on track, the Mustangs coaching staff is simplifying things to make sure they have their athletes playing aggressively, instead of reactionary.
“What we did this week is really focused and get to the ground roots and making sure we take care of our responsibilities,” McKinney said. “We focused on this week making sure we’re preparing for — of course Falls City — but for the real season, district,”
Falls City comes in as a perennial powerhouse in Class 2A football.
“They’re going to play every play extremely hard,” McKinney warned. “They are very well coached.”
But McKinney believes his team plays well after a loss.
“The kids are going to respond, just a matter of continuing to prepare.”
Falls City’s defense will put down a nose guard against the Mustangs, but in general they run a 4-3, similar to Nixon-Smiley.
“It’s going to be a battle for us,” McKinney said, “[but] if you want to try to compete for a district championship, then it’s just par for the course.”
The Mustangs have made some adjustments on their own defense due to a few health issues, though they should be fine long-term.
Tonight’s game is a road game for Nixon-Smiley, with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m.