TURNING A CORNER
No. 3 Bulldogs enjoying breakthrough campaign
ALGONA — The Algona football team has something special brewing on the field, and head coach Andy Jacobson’s team is making sure they appreciate everything in the moment.
“We have a great group of kids to work with,” said Jacobson who is 17-27 overall in five seasons at the helm. “They’ve played together and stayed focused.”
Algona, who is ranked third in Class 2A, is off to a 7-0 start — the school’s best opening efforts since the 1972 campaign. With six playoff appearances in school history, the Bulldogs are on the verge of making a return.
Jacobson’s first Bulldog squad was 1-8 in 2014, and the program advanced to the playoffs in 2015 with a 5-5 mark. The Bulldogs have struggled in the last decade overall, though, compiling a 23-69 mark combined in the last 10 years.
Algona did qualify for the playoffs in 2015 and 2008. The program also reached the postseason in 2004, 1995, 1987 and 1984.
The Bulldogs are currently riding an eight-game program winning streak, dating back to the final game last fall.
“We have goals,” Jacobson said. “We just focus on keeping things on a week-to-week basis and controlling the things we can.
“The main thing we need to do is focus on the process and not get ahead of ourselves.”
So far, the transition has been smooth. The Bulldogs have outscored their opponents by a resounding 323-143 margin, and they’ve scored over 60 twice.
In their district games alone, Algona has toppled their opponents by a combined margin of 180-82.
Senior quarterback Matt Grein is one of the top signal-callers in 2A, throwing for 1,427 yards and 17 touchdowns. He is 63-for-105, completing passes at a 63 percent clip.
In the backfield, the Bulldogs have a three-headed rushing attack in senior Jacob Durant (851 yards), junior Wyatt Wegener (480) and senior Skyler Groen (449). The trio has scored 10, nine and six touchdowns respectively.
Wegener and Groen have been Grein’s main targets through the air. Wegener has caught 19 balls for 565 yards, and Groen has 17 grabs for 423. They have six and eight scores, respectively.
Junior Garrett Schmidt leads the defense with 46.5 tackles, and junior Cole Lewis has 44. Senior Cole Johnson has three interceptions, and Wegener has recorded two.
The Bulldogs have recovered nine fumbles and one punt return for a score.
Even with the success on the field, the Bulldogs have been able to maintain their composure and keep things in perspective.
“We always have stuff to improve on,” Jacobson said. “We just focus on our work and try to continually get better.
“It helps that we have a lot of guys that have experience (with 21 letterwinners back), and the kids have expectations for both themselves and each other.”