Braasch a major focus for Week 3

September 9, 2018

The Columbus High School Discoverers football team will take on the Elkhorn Antlers at 7 tonight on the road.

Both teams are coming off a victory in Week 2 that evened their records after a loss in Week 1.

The Discoverers defeated North Platte (0-2), due in large part to junior running back Joey Braasch, who carried the ball nine times for 146 yards and scored four touchdowns.

Head coach Craig Williams said the team has been practicing hard this week and has higher expectations after the win over the Bulldogs.

“We told our kids after the game that after wins we’re usually going to be tougher on you than after losses, and we’ve been tough on them this week,” he said. “We raised expectations after a performance that we fought for the whole game and came out on top. We kind of shook that bug off from Norfolk (the week before), because we didn’t finish that football game.”

One of the major hurdles Columbus will face in making it two wins in a row is an aggressive Elkhorn offensive line.

“I think the biggest challenge they (Elkhorn) pose is they do the things that they do so well,” Williams said. “They’ve been doing it for so many years, and they’ve been successful with it. They’re very aggressive up front. That’s going to be our biggest challenge. Getting our younger guys to learn how to play against a team that’s really going to get off the ball every single play. We have to be able to get our guys to match that intensity.”

But athletically, Williams said he sees it as an even matchup.

“We like our athleticism,” he said. “They have some very good athletes, and I don’t know if we have an advantage in that area, but we’ve certainly closed the gap in that area as compared to the offensive and defensive lines.”

One player who Columbus will hope has another big game again is Braasch, who, according to Williams is just now reaching his potential.

“We talk to him all the time,” he said. “Joey is as good as Joey wants to be. He has the capability to be a very good football player. I think he’s starting to realize how good he can be. He’s working harder every day in practice.

“Us as coaches sometimes have to get out of his way, and sometimes push him in the right direction to keep getting better every day. When that happens he’s going to be fun to watch.”

Braasch’s sudden success is sure to attract attention in opponent’s game plans, and though that could potentially open up opportunities for other players, the Discoverers will still find ways to keep their new weapon involved.

“Other teams are going to start keying on him,” Williams said. “It’s going to be tougher sledding for Joey as we go forward, but we have to continue to find ways to use him in the offense and be creative in how we use him in the offense, and at times use him as a decoy to get someone else going.”

Peter Huguenin is a sports reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at sports@columbustelegram.com

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