Fort Dodge faces North in home opener

A football season will always be filled with adversity and challenges.

It is defined, though, by how a team reacts to those trials and tribulations.

Fort Dodge will find out a lot about itself over these next two weeks, when the Dodgers open the home portion of their schedule against Sioux City North before visiting arch rival Mason City.

Kickoff against the Stars on Friday is set for 7:30 p.m. inside Dodger Stadium.

This immediate stretch may be irrelevant in the district race and playoff picture, but head coach Matt Miller’s squad wants it to be an early rallying cry after last week’s lopsided loss at Cedar Falls.

”We have a lot to prove to ourselves,” Miller said. ”That all starts with something as simple as beating the guy across from us on a consistent basis throughout the course of a ballgame. Can we do that? Because we didn’t (against the Tigers). We have to show the physical and mental toughness to win that battle and go from there.

”Football is a game of emotion. We have to channel and use that emotion to our advantage, and fix what’s going on between the ears. We have enough talent and athleticism to get the job done.”

North is also looking to bounce back from a season-opening loss. The Stars dropped a 29-20 decision last Thursday to Sioux City West despite leading 20-0 at one point in the first quarter.

Junior quarterback Devonta Cobbs had 62- and 45-yard touchdown passes to Cale Conner and Matt Hagan, collectively, to get the Stars rolling early. Caleb Dennis added a scoring run.

Cobbs threw for 173 yards. Jayse Martineck rushed 13 times for 58 yards.

Fort Dodge defeated North in Sioux City last season, 16-0. Miller is hoping a better start on Friday will build some much-needed momentum for a squad trying to find its confidence.

”I’d like to see us get going offensively and put the ball in the end zone,” Miller said. ”North has some good athletes like usual, so we have to try and keep them contained, and again, win the battle at the line of scrimmage.

”We’ve really had a good week of practice and done a great job of focusing on cleaning things up. I think (collectively), we took (the Cedar Falls performance) as an insult. We’re ready to put it behind us, and we can’t wait to get back on our home turf in front of a big Dodger Stadium crowd.”

Senior receiver Tyrnan Lara scored the lone touchdown in FDSH’s opener on a 9-yard pass from junior Drake Miller. Senior Trey Mosley and freshman Dayson Clayton were the squad’s leading receiver and rusher, respectively.

”We got knocked down,” Miller said. ”They took it to us. Now it’s up to us to respond, find that edge, and prove that we’re a lot better than what we showed (in Week 1). These next two weeks may be non-district games, but every win counts. We’re going to play with that sense of urgency.”