When it comes to a high school football game in Michiana, it doesn't get any bigger than Penn versus Mishawaka.
But this Friday night, the stakes are even higher as the two arch rivals duke it out in the regular season finale. Both teams are undefeated in Northern Indiana Conference play, meaning the winner of this game will be the outright NIC champions.
"It's exciting, that's the way it should be I guess," Kingsmen football coach Cory Yeoman says.
"Rivalries are always a sweet win but putting conference champions on top of it, adds more to it," Kingsmen senior running back Khalil Fleming says with a smile.
The Cavemen agree.
"To the seniors it means a lot," Mishawaka senior linebacker Cameron Thomas says. "It's a big rivalry of course and to come out and be able to win would mean a lot to us."
Mishawaka's Steele Stadium will be the setting Friday night at 7pm as the Cavemen look to snap a 2-game losing streak in the series to a Penn squad that is ranked #1 in the state.
"Kids dream about this Mishawaka-Penn game where they get to play in front of 7-10 thousand people and it's a neat experience, a neat atmosphere for them," Mishawaka coach Bart Curtis says. "And now there's a piece of hardware on the line, so that makes it fun."
The Cavemen played for the 4A State championship last year behind the play of now graduated quarterback Sam Schrader. Mishawaka struggled to start the year, losing the first two games of the season. Since then, the Cavemen have won six straight contests.
"They've had a great season and it should be an unbelievable atmosphere Friday night," Yeoman says of Mishawaka.
It's just the latest installment in the Backyard Brawl and it's our Martin's Spotlight Game of the Week on Friday Night.