Getting the performance they’ve been waiting for all the season, the Napoleon Wildcats begin a tough three-game stretch away from Buckenmeyer Stadium with a matchup against the powerhouse of the Northern Lakes League, the Anthony Wayne Generals.
Napoleon got back to winning in the NLL with a 49-0 whitewashing of Maumee.
“I told the team, and some others, that’s the team I thought we would be,” Napoleon coach Tory Strock said of the effort last week. “You can say Maumee isn’t up to par with some other teams or whatever you, but the bottom line is regardless of who we were playing Friday night, we were clicking on all cylinders. Not just the total yardage or the points we scored, but when you turn the film on and see how we came off the ball, that’s an indication that we played with the urgency we talked about.”
Napoleon got the ground game going in the win over Maumee, totaling 341 yards rushing. The defense had its best mark of the season, holding the Panthers to seven yards on the ground.
“Last week was week six,” added the veteran coach. “It’s time to turn it on.”
With the win, Napoleon improved to 3-3 overall and 2-1 in the NLL.
The Generals come in 6-0 and haven’t allowed a point in league play through three games.
“They’re formidable,” Strock said of the Generals. “When you look across the board, their size is a little abnormal for a Division II school. They have a lot of Division I size on that team.
“They have size up front and their skill guys run well,” added Strock. “They can defend and spread the field pretty well.”
On top of that, Anthony Wayne started the year with wins against Findlay (14-7), St. John’s (56-14) and St. Francis (22-13).
Anthony Wayne comes in on a pair of long winning streaks. The Generals have won 23 straight regular season tilts and are currently on a 17-game winning streak in the NLL. The last time Anthony Wayne dropped a league contest was Oct. 28, 2016, when Springfield ended the season with a 35-28 decision over the Generals.
Anthony Wayne went 5-2 in the NLL that season, with the other loss coming at Napoleon, 14-7. In fact, since Napoleon joined the NLL in 2011, they had the second-most success of any league team against the Generals, going 4-4.
“It’s what we started our scouting report meeting with on Monday,” Strock said of the history between the two teams. “I don’t know how many teams have played them that well over that stretch. That’s proof that it can be done. Some of those wins, we were probably a significant underdog. We wanted to start Monday to lay the foundation of what it was going to take mentally and attitude-wise to compete in this game. If you don’t have the right mindset going into a game like this, X’s and O’s and scheme don’t matter.”
Now is chance to back that up by performing on the field.
“I think we’re playing our best football right now,” stated Strock. “The Maumee game might be a small sample size, but even in the Springfield game, there was a lot to like about that performance. We are where we want to be right now.
“We look at this as a tremendous opportunity. You talk about changing everything and getting momentum on your side, this can change everything. It’s an opportunity for us. We’re excited.”
Games at Perrysburg and Northview follow for the Cats after the tough trip to Anthony Wayne.