This Friday night St. Joe hosts New Prairie in our Martin's Spotlight Game of the Week. The last time these two teams met was in 2006 with New Prairie coming out on top 34-20 in the opening round of sectionals. This time there is a sectional championship on the line.
The Cougars enter the game 11-0 after completing and undefeated regular season in which they outscored opponents 431-42. On top of that they have put up 102 points in just two games this post season. While they are certainly happy with what they have accomplished this far, head coach Russ Radtke knows there is more to do.
"It is the playoffs right now, you have to play your best football," coach Radtke said. "Its not the team that necessarily that has had the most success that wins these ball games. It is just the one that is hot that night."
While it has been 7 years since these two teams have faced each other coach Radtke says they have been able to get a good look at the Indians. Both teams have played common opponents this year and New Prairie expects a great game Friday night.
"There is only 16 teams left in 4A and that is going to go down to 8 real quick. You are going to see two teams that are going to fight right to the end. It won't matter if you are not scoring points or if both teams are scoring points, it could be either way. I don't see either team blowing the other one out."
The Cougars quarterback echoed his coaches comments when asked about what he was expecting to see on Friday night.
"This will be the best team we have played all year," New Prairie quarterback Zach Brassell said. "This will be a tough challenge. It is always fun to play a hard football game. A lot of the teams we have played this year haven't been exactly challenging, so we are looking forward to the challenge."
That challenge will be in the form of an 8-3 St. Joe team that has won 4 straight coming into Friday nights. While the Indians may not have put up the eye popping numbers the Cougars have they do possess an explosive offense and a defense that has posted two shut outs this season. St. Joe is very aware of the type of game New Prairie likes to run and feel prepared heading into the match-up.
"We have played a lot of teams throughout the year that can either run the ball very well or defend the ball very well, so we have played against teams with similar attacks and similar mentalities," St. Joe head coach Ben Downey said. "Hopefully the lessons we have learned through the regular season can be applied here and we will have our best game plan so we can execute to the best of our ability."
The Indians haven't forgot about what is on the line Friday night either. They are looking for their third sectional championship in four years.
"Its obviously going to be a big game," Senior tight end and linebacker Matthew Madden said. "We are playing for hardware now, so there is going to be a lot, a lot, a lot of emotion there but we have to go out there and not get caught up in the hype."
Kickoff is set for 7:30 Friday night at St. Joe highschool