Monona Grove defeated Portage, 49-13, in a nonconference matchup to open the regular season. Jaden Gault and his fellow first-teamers played the entire first half and one series in the second half.
Being the first game of the season for as a team, we really didn't have much of a scrimmage during camp to know how great we were going to be. Going in we were kind of nervous to see how we were going to play against someone's first team. Going out and being able to come in to halftime with a 42-0 score was pretty positive, obviously.
Our offensive goal was no three-and-outs when the first-teamers were in and we had one, so that was kind of frustrating. We were setting high goals and having yourself at a high bar was what I try to do. You don't want to hit every goal your first game, I guess, so that's how I looked at it.
What did Monona Grove do well as a team?
Offensively we were able to run the ball pretty much every single time against Portage. Our coach tried to run to the right side a lot instead of the left side so he could show teams that we could run both ways, so we were able to do that, which was cool. Overall the positive from offense was being able to run the ball as well as we did.
How did you play individually?
I set a high bar and I didn't reach every goal of mine, but I thought I played well. One-on-one when I was able to run block, that is going to be one of my positives this season. I think I am solid in the run-blocking game when I am able to go one-on-one. Pass blocking wise we didn't give up any sacks at all, so that was really good for our offense.
What do you need to do better going into next week's game?
I would say offensively passing the ball a little better. Blocking wise I feel we can get a lot more yards than we did. We had 295 rushing yards, but we ran the ball 20 times. Being able to pass the ball more. We didn't pass too much in the first game. We want to be even in run and pass to have that two-headed monster.
What do you need to better individually to grow from week one to week two?
Just taking each rep at 100 percent during practice. I have been trying to work on little things like the foot placement, hand placement, make the right steps on each play. What I am going to focus on this week is the edge blocking because we have tosses and pitches where I need to get in open space and block the linebacker. Working on that stuff this week is going to be my key.
With a nonconference road game at Baraboo next week, how will they challenge you as an offense?
From watching film, they blitz the linebackers quite a bit from what I've noticed. That's the thing I am really focusing on with our pass-block and run-block recognition, trying to get our calls right across the line. Communication upfront is huge and I think we're doing really well at that, but continuing to improve will be huge against Baraboo.