As the prep football stage hits week three, quality matchups continue to dot the gridiron landscape. This week, the Dakota Bowl, a pair of #1 vs. #2 matchups and other contests involved ranked teams are included in the Focus on Five preview.
Perhaps the most anticipated battle of the weekend is the matchup of #2 Sioux Falls Lincoln and #1 Sioux Falls Roosevelt at Howard Wood Field on Friday night.
On Saturday, Sioux Falls fans will be treated to the 35th annual Bob Burns Dakota Bowl, which is a game that profiles the O'Gorman Knights and serves as an annual fundraiser for the Catholic schools in the city. Over the years, Dakota Bowl activities have raised more than three million dollars. This year, the Knights meet the defending champs in Sioux Falls Washington, which just had a 13-game winning streak end at the hand of top-ranked Sioux Falls Roosevelt. Both teams are itching for a win after losses last week to city foes.
Aside from the Dakota Bowl and the Lincoln/Roosevelt matchups, the Focus on Five preview includes 11AA #1 Pierre against #2 Mitchell; the 11A matchup of #4 Dell Rapids hosting #3 Tea Area and the 9-man battle between 9AA #3 Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan and 9A #2 Howard.
How'd I Do? Last week, I missed the first three games of the weekend and ended up 2-3 which moves the season mark to 6-4. It is a winning mark but not up to expectations (my own). As a result, my overall record improved to 216-46 (.824) record in regular season and playoff contests. In the 2011 regular season, I was 24-16 and I was 28-12 a year ago. In the playoffs, I have put together a 79-7 mark. My picks this week include SF Roosevelt, Pierre, SF Washington, Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan and Tea Area.
Just a reminder. When the games end Friday night, don't forget to tune into KSFY-TV with Sports Director Erik Thorstenson and Matt Peterson for Friday Night Lights. I will join Thor and Matt at the close of the show for some quick analysis on games.
Here is a breakdown of five top area games in our "Focus on Five" preview.
Focus on Five Previews
11AAA #1 SF Roosevelt (2-0) vs. #2 SF Lincoln (2-0), Friday, Sept. 13, HWF
Lincoln Notes: One thing is clear; Lincoln Head Coach Aaron Beavers has a team that can pile up points. With 106 points through two games, he isn't satisfied. "We need to improve every day and see where things fall at the end," he said. With a matchup against #1 Roosevelt up next, Beavers knows it will be a heavily anticipated game but it is one game and a lot of season remains. As he prepares his team for the #1 vs. #2 matchup, the Patriots come in hot, having scored 50 points twice already and 15 times in the last five years. Already this season, they have compiled 928 yards in total offense, including 91 carries for 629 yards on the ground. Led by senior quarterback Connor Burchill (19-of-35-255-3 TDs), the passing game has put up 299 yards. This is a team with a standout receiving corps, led by Dylan Bartow (5-83-2 TDs), Caleb Rector (5-80) and Trevor Naasz (5-67). The Lynx are arguably the top rushing team in 11AAA, led by standout Caden Quintanilla, who has 41 carries for 281 yards and five TDs, and senior Matt Wagner (9-75). Burchill can also tote the rock (7-97) and they have players that can contribute off the bench. As for Quintanilla, he has gone over 2K (2,117) for his career and is approaching 4K in all-purpose yards, needing just 64 yards (3,936, career all-purpose yards). In addition, they are a team that can make big plays on special teams as Ned Sudbeck showed vs. O'Gorman on a 70-yard punt return. "Our run game is where I wanted it to be in week two but we have to continue to get better," said Beavers, whose squad rushed for 353 yards in the President's Bowl 51-20 win over O'Gorman. Overall, he said the team is progressing. "We improved from week one to week two with fewer penalties. Our special teams played better." And, he noted, the defense has shined, led by standout linebacker Matt Wagner, who has 12 tackles, three tackles for loss and a QB sack. "I would not say we have shut down opponents but played fast defense. Our pass coverage must improve especially this week against Roosevelt, who can extend plays very well. We have to control their quarterback. We won't shut him down because he is special." As the Patriots meet the Rough Riders, Beavers message will be to control clock and limit turnovers.
Roosevelt Notes: Similar to week one, Kim Nelson's Rough Riders played inconsistent offense against Sioux Falls Washington in the first half before turning it on in the third quarter. They put up 14 points against Brandon Valley in week one to put that game (30-0) on ice and then had 23 points in the third against the Warriors in a 30-7 victory. Nelson is pleased the team is making progress. "It is our goal every week to show improvement," he said. As Roosevelt heads into a week three matchup with #2 Lincoln, they have generated 693 yards in total offense, including 247 yards on the ground and 446 yards through the air. Roosevelt is led by junior QB Taryn Christion, who is a dual threat and arguably the state's top prep QB. He has 35 carries for 208 yards and three TDs, including a 78-yard scoring jaunt vs. Washington. Christion has completed 34-of-55 passes for 479 yards and five TDs. Nelson says his team's offense needs more consistency and "our running attack needs to find more balance." The defense is solid led by Korie Lindquist, who has recorded 14 tackles and 4.5 sacks in the two wins. Roosevelt has a solid front wall and an equally talented linebacking corps and secondary. "While our defense has played well, Lincoln is easily the best we have faced so far. We will have to play even better to hang with them. The key will be to keep the ball away from Lincoln, stop the run and try to get turnovers," said nelson.
Coaches: Aaron Beavers, Sioux Falls Lincoln, 10th year, 61-48, .560 at Lincoln; 107-56, .656 overall. Kim Nelson, Roosevelt, 5th year, 38-10 at Roosevelt, 238-118, .672 overall.
Inside Slant: Both teams are explosive which begs the question, who makes the big play or perhaps the most big plays? How will Lincoln defend junior QB Taryn Christion of Roosevelt? Will the Rough Riders defense be able to slow down the powerful Lincoln rush offense? And, if they do, can they also hold down the passing attack, led by Burchill and a talented corps of receivers? Can Roosevelt establish a running game with someone other than Christion?
Series Records: In the last 10 meetings, SF Roosevelt owns a 7-3 series edge over Lincoln. A year ago the teams split games with the Patriots taking the regular season encounter, 36-35. The Rough Riders won the playoff matchup with a 21-3 second round decision. From 2009-11, Roosevelt won three straight, including 45-29 two years ago; 35-21, in 2010; and 45-14 in 2009. Lincoln won both games in 2008 with a 21-6 regular season win and a 21-7 victory in the playoffs. From 2004-07, Roosevelt won four straight games, including 56-0 (2004); 49-6 (2005), 48-26 (2006) and 41-0 (2007).
Bottom-line: This sets up to be a high scoring affair with the two best offenses in 11AAA. However, both teams may have the two top defenses as well which means what? My take is that we will see a game in the 30s decided by less than a TD. Perhaps this is a last possession game. Regardless, this may be the first of two matchups with these two squads. Christion and Quintanilla will be dynamite in this game. We could see a slow start as both teams try to feel each other out but then watch out.
Who Wins? Roosevelt edges by Lincoln, 38-34.
11AAA #3 Sioux Falls Washington (1-1) vs #5 Sioux Falls O'Gorman (1-1), Dakota Bowl, HWF
Sioux Falls O'Gorman Notes: One thing is certain – 2013 has started better for O'Gorman than 2012. The Knights sit 1-1 after opening 0-3 a year ago. Now, O'Gorman would like to put together a string of victories as they did a year ago (seven straight before a loss to Washington in the playoffs). As they face SF Washington in the Dakota Bowl, the Knights will look to continue to make headway, said head coach Steve Keuter, whose team has been outscored 60-54 in two games. "We are making progress – the replacements for our quarterback and running back are coming along well," said Keuter, noting the loss of a pair of talented Knights in QB Taylor Schulte (broken leg) and Eion Donelan (broken hard). Stepping in at QB has been sophomore Luke Fritsch, the son of coach John Fritsch, a former USD head coach. "I have been impressed with Luke Fritsch – he can handle the spot." In two games he has 13 carries for 59 yards and has completed 2-of-5 passes for 39 yards. O'Gorman has compiled 611 yards in total offense, including 540 on the ground. Leading the way is Matt White (28-155-TD) and Ben Briggs (12-127-TD). Aiden Hart (7-56) is also contributing. "Our running game has to continue to improve as we need to develop consistency in that area," said Keuter, who has 271 career wins, the most by an active coach and just 13 away from Max Hawk's all-time SD prep record of 284 while at Yankton. On defense, Keuter feels good, despite allowing too many yards (449) to #2 Lincoln a week ago. "Our defense is playing well but we just have to get more experience in the secondary." Looking ahead to city rival SF Washington, the focus will be to do the things the program has always done well. "We need to run the ball well and play better defense than last week," said Keuter. "They are one of the top teams in 11AAA. Washington has size and speed and we need to eliminate mistakes to be successful. This is a matchup of two good teams," he said.
Sioux Falls Washington Notes: Coming into the season, SF Washington was coming off a championship season but had been hit hard by graduation, especially on the offensive side of the ball. After two games, the Warriors sit 1-1 with a 13-game winning streak ending in a loss to #1 Roosevelt. Chad Stadem, who took over the program this year after Brian Hermanson stepped down, feels like his team is improving offensively while the defense is shining the Warriors way. "We want to continue to make solid gains on offense. Defensively our guys played very well and they expect to improve their play as well," he said. So far, the Warriors have generated 423 yards in total offense, including 324 yards rushing on 75 carries. Sophomore Jack Schelhaas (13-34-93 passing, 22-64 rushing) is directing the offense and continues to show development. The rushing attack is showing more read options looks and pounding the center of the defense more and more. The running game is led by senior Luke Reiter (39-193-2 TDs) with senior Dan Marlette (14-67) also getting reps. Washington's receiving corps includes Nate Weberg (5-38), Logan Raabe (5-17) and Zac Lupica (3-38). "We are slowly making progress (in our running game). Our backs are really maturing quickly with their reads and it showed last week," said Stadem. As for the defense, it starts with the state's best linebacker in senior Dan Marlette, who has 23 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. Marlette now has 149 tackles, 27.5 TFLs, 8.5 sacks and six forced fumbles in his career. Washington, which has 12 QB sacks, also has solid play from junior Caleb York (9T, 2 sacks) and senior linebacker Matt Schievelbein (10T, 2.5 TFLs, sack, fumble recovery and forced fumble). "We know that defense is our strength and they take great pride in their play," he said. Looking ahead to the Dakota Bowl, Washington has to take advantage of scoring opportunities, said Stadem, noting that twice against Roosevelt, the Warriors had red zone opportunities that fizzled. "That needs to change this week for us to come out on top," he said.
Inside Slant: Both teams struggled offensively last week against the two top teams in 11AAA, so the key question is which running attack will take control? Will defenses dominate the Dakota Bowl? Will the two sophomore QBs continue to progress? Will Marlette make a big play that turns the game? Will a special teams play swing momentum?
Series Records: O'Gorman owns an 8-7 record over Washington since 2003. However the Warriors have a 4-2 edge in the playoffs. A year ago, the Warriors won both games, 24-0, in the regular season and 49-3 in the playoffs. O'Gorman won the 2011 contest, 24-7. In 2010, Washington took both contests, 35-7 (regular season) and 33-7 in the playoffs. The Warriors also won the 2009 game, 35-21. In 2008, the teams split with the Knights winning the regular season game, 22-14, and SFW taking the semifinal verdict, 21-14. From 2003-to-2007, O'Gorman won six of seven, including five straight from 2004-07. The games include: 2003, OG, 28-14 (playoffs), SFW, 21-20 (regular season; 2004, OG, 42-6 (playoffs), 34-7; 2005, OG, 38-0; 2006, OG, 28-6; 2007, OG, 28-14.
Bottom-line: Over the last 15 games, these teams have played even football with O'G owning an 8-7 mark. This game sets up as a ground and pound affair with defenses controlling action. Both teams will have scoring opportunities. It just works out that way in a rivalry game. Therefore, the team that is more opportunistic with better execution will likely be the victor. At this point, Washington's defense is better than O'Gorman while the Knights offense looks to have an advantage over a young Warriors' attack. Look for a low-scoring, grind it out game. Don't be surprised if a special teams play (Zach Freese) or a pass play shifts momentum one way or the other.
Who Wins? SF Washington takes a 16-12 verdict.
11AA #2 Mitchell (2-0) at 11AA #1 Pierre (2-0), Friday, Sept. 13
Mitchell Notes: Arguably the biggest surprise in 11AA football has been the play of the "Cardiac Kernels." Twice this season, Mitchell has won games late in the fourth quarter. In week one, sophomore QB Kanin Nelson threw a TD pass to Beau Brown with 3:16 left to lift the Kernels to a 27-21 win over preseason #1 Yankton. Then, the Kernels blocked a punt late and Jacob Cersosimo recovered the ball in the end zone with less than 30 seconds left to give Mitchell a 21-14 win over Harrisburg. "We are excited about the start of the season," said head coach Kent Van Overschelde, whose team has opened 2-0 for the second time in three seasons. "We are focused on improving each week. We feel that we have room for improvement in many areas, and remain focused on fundamentals and continuation of building. At this point, we are focused on getting better with improved execution," he said. Nelson, who beat out Matt Larson for the QB job in fall practice, has had a great start for the Kernels. He has completed 12-of-27 passes for 209 yards and two TDs with just one pick. He also has 24 carries for 75 yards and a score. Mitchell features a balanced offense with 209 yards passing and 202 yards rushing. Mitchell Johnson has 37 carries for 78 yards and two TDs while Landon Neugebauer has five rushes for 49 yards and four catches for 35 yards. Beau Brown is the key receiver with six catches for 110 yards and a TD. "Our success as a team is dependent on our ability to run the football," said Van Overschelde. "Mitch Johnson has proven to be solid and versatile. Landon Neugebauer, has come on as late; adding a potential weapon to our run game. We look to our offensive line to improve and with that our ability to run the football. In the past, we hoped to be 70/30 run within our offense. Now, we are looking to be more balanced in 2013," he said. On defense, the Kernels are led by Matt Larson (18T) and Preston Skinner (13T). "Being able to prevent the big play has allowed us to have initial success," said Van Overschelde. "We hope to improve defensively, and work to create more turnovers." Looking ahead to Pierre, Mitchell has a big challenge, facing the top team in 11AA and on the road. "We need to contain Pierre's quarterback (Gray). They (Pierre) are really talented across the offensive front, which leads them to wear down opponents," said Van Overschelde. "We will need to avoid the big plays early, and play for consistency and containment of Pierre's explosive offense. We appreciate the opportunity to play Pierre this week," he said.
Pierre Notes: Pierre has opened up 2-0 for the first time since the 9-3 season in 2005. This group of Governors has done big things on offense (817 yards in total offense) through two games in 2013. Already this season they have compiled consecutive total offense outputs of 384 (35-24 win over Watertown) and 434 (28-14 win over Rapid City Central). Head Coach Jayson Poppinga has orchestrated an offense that can run effectively and showcase big-plays in the passing game. In a 28-14 win over Rapid City Central, they rolled up 434 yards in total offense, led by the play of senior QB Alex Gray, who had nine carries for 111 yards and a 73-yard TD run while completing 8-of-14 passes for 230 yards and TD throws of 58 and 67 yards. Garrett Pochup caught four passes for 101 yards and a 58-yard TD. Austin Christopherson had one catch, a 67-yard scoring strike. Gray had four total TDs against Watertown as Pierre won its opener for the first time in six years. The Governors totaled 384 yards in total offense against the Arrows, including 164 on the ground. Gray (career numbers of 120-767-7 TDs rushing; 67-of-158-1,519-19 TDs, career) has been a dual threat this season with 24 carries for 204 yards and two TDs while completing 17-of-30 passes for 450 yards and four TDs. Christopherson has six catches for 180 yards with Garrett Pochup hauling in five catches for 181 yards. While the skills players have shined, the play of the offensive line has been crucial. They are performing at a high level. Now they face a matchup with #2 Mitchell, a team they have defeated six of nine times, including 34-6 a year ago.
Coaches: Jayson Poppinga, Pierre, 1st year, 2-0, 1.000; Kent VanOverschelde, seventh year, 24-36, .400.
Inside Slant: Can the Kernels pull off another last second win? Will Alex Gray continue to shine and make things difficult for the Kernels defense? Will the Kernel's secondary be able to stick with a talented Governor receiving corps? Which running attack takes control? Will Kanin Nelson continue to shine in the big moments?
Series Records: Pierre has won six of the last nine games in the series, taking the 2012 game, 34-6. Two years ago, Mitchell won, 61-6.
Bottom-line: This is a big game for both programs. At this point, Pierre looks like the best team in Class 11AA, with Alex Gray and a horde of skilled players putting up big numbers. Mitchell has been a surprise in the class but they play sound fundamental football and make plays when they count. Can they find the magic against the Governors? With this game in Pierre, Mitchell will have to deal with a home crowd that makes a lot of chatter. It is critical for the Kernels to stick with the Governors early. If it is close late, anything can happen.
Who Wins? Pierre wins, 31-16.
11A #3 Tea Area (1-0) at #4 Dell Rapids (0-1), Friday, Sept. 13
Dell Rapids Notes: The three-time defending 11A champions ran into a buzz saw in their season opener at Madison. The #2 Madison Bulldogs scored the first 26 points or the game and took a 39-12 win over the Quarriers. It was Dell Rapids' first loss in an opener on the road since the 2005 season, when Madison also took the win in a 22-14 decision. Head Coach Steve Hansen knows his team has some growing up to do, especially with just four returning starters. "I would say that we are inexperienced and still learning," said Hansen. "I feel that we have good players and will be ok if we keep working to get better each week. The big key for us on offense is the offensive line. If we can get some continuity and some drive, we will hopefully be able to move the ball. On defense, we have to get more fundamental. We need to do our jobs and not play out of position," he said. In the opener, the Quarriers put together just 235 yards in total offense on 46 plays or 5.1 yards per play. They ran the ball effectively with 191 yards on 29 carries, which is a 6.5 average. But as Hansen noted, they have to find consistency on offense. The opening week loss by the Quarriers isn't part of the norm in Dell Rapids, a team that has gone 34-2 over the past three seasons with three straight state championships. Prior to Friday night, they had not lost to a Class 11A team since a 35-6 loss to Milbank in the final game of the 2009 season. Straight ahead for Dell Rapids is a matchup with an explosive Tea Area team, which Dell Rapids defeated a year ago in a shootout, 49-34. Hansen knows his team has to get better in a hurry. "Tea is a very good football team, we will need to try and coral their speed and make them march the ball on us," said Hansen. "Offensively we will need to sustain some drive and make them play defense for a longer period of time than 3 and out. I would just like to see us play better football than last week and obviously we don't want to start out 0-2," he said.
Tea Area Notes: Tea Area opened fast with a 46-6 win over Elk Point-Jefferson as senior RB Cooper Hansen had three rushing TDs (48, 56, 61) and 167 yards on the ground. Senior QB Taylor Roeman threw three TD passes, including twice to Tarin Smallfield. The combo hit on a 63-yard TD strike among those scores. Senior RB Gunnar Ensz, who had 16 TDs a year ago, had 80 yards rushing and a TD. It was a good start, said fifth-year coach Craig Clayberg. "We played a good game against Elk Point Jefferson. It was nice to play a game to see where we were at. We have a lot of mistakes to correct and just want to get better each week," he said. Now Tea Area, which outgained EPJ, 413-to-232, including 310-to-219 on the ground, faces the three-time defending champion Dell Rapids on the road. "We need to perform well in the offensive line and take care of the football. That is a key point for us this year - limit our number of turnovers and get more takeaways," said Clayberg, whose team has lost four straight to the Quarriers. Clayberg calls Dell Rapids a talented defensive unit and the Titans will need to limit 3 and outs. "We need to be solid up front against Dells. They have some new guys on their offensive line and will be much improved since last week. We have really stressed reading your keys and getting to the football," he said. "Dells is a well-coached team and will be much improved. We need to be able to stop their power running game and expect play-action at any time. Offensively we need to maintain blocks longer and communicate to be successful."
Inside Slant: Will the Quarriers be able to handle an explosive Tea Area team that has an experienced and talented backfield? Tea Area, which has six starters back from 2012 on defense, shut down Elk-Point-Jefferson in the opener, can they do it a second straight game? Will Joe Robbie Award winner Riley Schmidt find openings to make some big plays? Will Cooper Hansen and Gunnar Ensz rip up big chunks of yardage again? Will Tea Area QB Taylor Roeman be a difference maker?
Coaches: Steve Hansen, Dell Rapids, 19th season, 125-63, .667. Craig Clayberg, fourth year, 17-14, .548.
Series Records: The two teams have met four times with Dell Rapids own a 4-0 edge. The Quarriers defeated Tea Area, 49-34, a year ago and had two wins in 2011 – 42-21 in the regular season and 41-13 in the playoffs. In 2010, Dell Rapids won, 41-6.
Bottom-line: Tea Area features an explosive offense led by Roeman and the backfield of Hansen and Ensz. The Quarriers defense has to get better in a hurry. It will help that Dell Rapids is playing at home where the comfort level will be greater. Look for Tea Area to move the ball. Expect the Quarriers to put up some points, either with Bret Nichols, or Schmidt providing a big play. It would help the Quarriers if they can break a big play on special teams or defense. At this point, Tea Area appears to be the better team.
Who Will Win? Tea Area prevails in another shootout, 33-27.
9AA #3 Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan (2-0) at 9A #2 Howard (2-0), Friday, Sept. 13,
Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan Notes: Week by week, Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan, a traditional 9-man power, has ironed out the kicks and built momentum. As they face Howard on Friday, they have wins over Mt. Vernon-Plankinton (44-27) and previously 9B #1 Canistota (38-14), ending the Hawks 37-game winning streak. "Our experience level is getting better each week and we need to continue that progress," said head coach Jeff VanLeur, whose 215 career wins ranks second nationally for active 9-man coaches. The start is noteworthy given the fact that the Seahawks had to break in a new quarterback (Blake Bartscher), due to a serious injury suffered this summer by former Joe Robbie Award winner Jace Connor. While Connor continues to help on the sideline, Bartscher has shined with 14 carries for 117 yards and hit 6-of-7 passes for 43 yards. The backfield has been solid with Wade Miller compiling 307 yards on 45 carries with seven TDs. Jordon Grosdidier has 30 carries for 180 yards and two TDs. Key to the success, notes VanLeur, is the play of the line on both sides of the ball. Senior Tyler Myers (6-3, 225) has been the group's leader. "Our running game depends on our upfront people and as they gain experience, that area will develop," said Van Leur. Overall, BEE has a 637-to-380 advantage in rushing yards and a 746-to-474 edge in total offense. It is a team doing its bidding early, outscoring opponents 56-6 in the first half, including 32-0 in the second quarter. "Right now our players are playing hard and being aggressive. We still need to work on our responsibilities and be more disciplined. Our objective is always to take care of the ball and keep penalties minimal. Winning the battle in the trenches will be key, as we move forward," he said.
Howard Notes: Howard, the 9AA runner-up a year ago in a 9-3 campaign, has moved to 9A with similar high-achieving results. The Tigers opened the season with a 57-6 win over Chester. Head Coach Pat Ruml is happy with the opening week success but says it is hard to know how his young team is progressing. "I would say we played pretty well in a lot of areas of the game. After breaking down the film, we still have a few things we need to clean up and improve on," he said. A year ago, the Tigers rolled up 4,820 yards in total offense (5th all-time) and had 4,098 rushing yards (3rd all-time). Already, they are pounding away at the opponents with a strong rushing outfit. Led by Luke Loudenberg, Howard produced 559 yards in total offense (top-10 all-time) with 571 yards in total offense against Chester. Loudenberg, who is the leading rusher back from a year ago (1,785 yards), opened the season with 14 carries for 239 yards and four TDs (19, 67, 61, 34). Dating back to the playoffs last year, Loudenberg has 1,139 yards in five games, including four games over 200 yards. Junior running back Jordan Kuhle added six carries for 170 yards and two TDs (55, 79). Senior Isaiah Glanzer added 95 yards on three carries. "Our running backs are probably the strength of the team right now. They are explosive and made a lot of things happen in game one. They are hitting the holes hard and breaking tackles," said Ruml, who also felt good about the efforts of the defense. "We gave up only 170 total yards so I feel we played well. However, we have to tighten it up defensively against BEE's power running game. They are a straight head and hard-nosed team." Ruml knows his team will have to be physical to defeat the Seahawks. "We have to match their physicality on both sides of the ball. They are well-coaches and don't make a lot of mistakes. We have developed a little rivalry with BEE in the past five years, so it would be nice to getting on the winning side for a chance. Our guys are excited for this challenge."
Coaches: Jeff VanLeur, 215-99 (.665); Pat Ruml, Howard, 38-16, .704 .
Inside Slant: Both teams have strong running attacks – which one takes control in this game? Howard and BEE also have new QBs under center -- will both players continue to shine? Can either team stop the other team as both teams have powerful running attacks? Will Howard's line be able to match BEE's physical play led by Myers?
Series Records: Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan leads, 3-1, with Howard's lone win coming against then Emery/Ethan in 2009 by a score of 34-22. BEE has won three straight in its current co-op. A year ago, they won a tight contest, 28-26, and also have a 50-14 win in 2011 and a 34-7 decision in 2010.
Bottom-line: This should be another physical matchup between two football powers. Howard opened with a nice win and an impressive performance. However, they go against a team that seems to be on a roll right now. Miller and Loudenberg will shine again. This game will be determined by the line play as well as the team that makes the fewest mistakes. This game should go down to the wire.
Who Wins? BEE is the pick, 27-25.