The football playoffs don't officially start for another 10 days, but tonight's contest between Webster and Aberdeen Roncalli will take on a postseason feel.
The non-conference contest, set for a 5 p.m. kickoff at Swisher Field, will pit two teams that are headed for the playoffs. Roncalli (7-0) is currently the top seed in Region 1 of Class 11B and Webster (5-1) is second.
It's big game for us, said Webster coach Terry Anderson. Not only is it Roncalli, but just in the playoff scenario, we can really do ourselves a big favor by coming away with a win.
Roncalli would love to wrap up a perfect regular season and cap its homecoming week with a victory.
I think our kids have a lot to play for, said Roncalli Terry Dosch. Hopefully, they're understanding the importance of the game in the overall scheme of the homecoming theme.
The Cavaliers are coming off a dominating performance in a 51-point win over Sisseton last week that lasted only one half.
It seemed like a lot of things went well, Dosch said. They turned the ball over and we were able to capitalize on that.
Roncalli will be facing a veteran Bearcats squad that features 14 seniors and 9 juniors.
We have a good group of upperclassmen, Anderson said. Some of those players are three or four-year starters that have given Webster leadership and stability.
We've responded. We've been in trouble a couple of times this year and somehow we've been able to pull together, Anderson said.
Dosch knows that the Bearcats have turned the corner this season and are playing with a bunch of confidence.
A confident football team is always a dangerous football team, Dosch said. They feel good about where they're at and what they've been doing.
Both teams have employed stellar defenses so far this fall. The Cavaliers have four shutouts to their credit and have not allowed more than one touchdown in a game since their opening game of the season.
I think our defense, by and large, has played pretty well the vast majority of the season, Dosch said. We haven't given up a lot of big plays.
Anderson credits his team's defense for the surge in the Webster program.
I can't say enough about defense, Anderson said. Defense has just been a real bright spot for us.
That said, Anderson understands his team will be facing a major test against the Cavaliers this evening.
We're going to have our hands full, Anderson said. We're going to have to play a very good game to be competitive with them. They seem to be getting stronger as the year goes on.
For Dosch, the determining factors to a game always funnel down to two key ingredients.
The line of scrimmage is always huge, Dosch said. Then it boils down to that second thing of execution.