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Mustangs, Steamers set for crucial game

This one’s for more than a shoe

Published: Friday, Oct. 12, 2012 12:35 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Oct. 12, 2012 12:35 a.m. CDT
(Alex T. Paschal/
Morrison's Matt Wilkens fires a pass in the first half against Riverdale last Friday. Wilkens and the Mustangs visit Fulton tonight in the annual Wooden Shoe Bowl.

It's most certainly not just another game. It's Fulton vs. Morrison. It's the Wooden Shoe Bowl, and a lot more.

"There's a whole lot on the line," Morrison coach Cory Bielema said. "It's their Senior Night. They're battling for the playoffs. We're battling for the playoffs. It's for the wooden shoe. There's a lot of subplots."

It's a must-win for Fulton (3-4) to have any chance at the playoffs, while Morrison (4-3) can assure itself a playoff berth by winning its last two games.

The Steamers have not won the Wooden Shoe Bowl since 2003, and none of the matchups since then has been decided by less than 20 points.

"It's going to be a lot different this time," said Morrison's Danny Willis, the Mustangs' leading rusher (550 yards) and receiver (251 yards). "They have a pretty good team this year. It will be more challenging than in recent years."

Austin Regenwether, the Steamers' leading rusher (663 yards), thinks Morrison, which has won two of the last three Class 2A state titles, including last year's, is more human this season.

"They don't have the talent they've had in the past," Regenwether said. "This time we're going to show them."

The season has not gone how the Mustangs had hoped, but quarterback Matt Wilkens, who has thrown for 520 yards, is not disappointed.

"In high school, people graduate," he said. "It's a new team every year. This team is still growing and learning. I think we've learned our lesson.

"Every game is a challenge in this conference [the Big Rivers]. That's a fact. This conference is the football king in 2A. You can never underestimate one team."

Fulton is fresh off a rousing 34-18 win at Bureau Valley.

"It's a good game to come off of. I know we surprised some people," said Steamers quarterback Ethan Jones, who has rushed for 347 yards and passed for 328. "If we play like that, we'll be good."

Both coaches know they're in for a heavyweight fight.

"I don't think we look at them as more beatable. That's still a very good football team," Fulton coach Patrick Lower said. "We have a lot of respect for them."

"I've been impressed with their tenacity," Bielema said of the Steamers. "They fight and fight all the way through. That's a proud group they have over there. It's a monster that won't die."

When: 7:30 p.m.

Where: Fulton High School

Radio: 1390 AM

Twitter: Follow Larry Brennan (@LarryBrennan) for live updates

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