The Cavaliers (5-0) play host to Sisseton (1-3) in an NEC contest at Swisher Field. Roncalli, which leads Redfield-Doland by a game in the loss column in the league standings, can grab a share of the conference title with a victory.
“That’s always something that you take some pride in,” said Roncalli coach Terry Dosch. “We’d not only like to have a share, we’d like to have the whole thing.”
While Redfield-Doland is done with its NEC slate, the Cavaliers still have Milbank remaining on their schedule.
Roncalli is coming off a dominating 68-0 performance over Tiospa Zina last week in a game that ended at the half.
“There’s some things that we worked on pretty hard in practice and I thought we were better at,” Dosch said.
Meanwhile, Sisseton has a tough time lately going up against a pair of rated Class A foes. The Redmen are scoreless in their last two contests.
“We knew this was a tough three-week stretch,” said Sisseton coach Nate Wood, of having played Madison, the top-ranked Class 11A team, Tea Area rated fourth in 11A, and now Roncalli, the top-ranked Class 11B squad. He said despite the recent setbacks, the players are still competing hard in practice. “The intensity has been good.”
Wood said that the Cavaliers present a variety of challenges this evening.
“Across the board, they’re going to be quick and athletic and always well coached,” Wood noted, “so it will be a challenge.”
While Sisseton has struggled to put points on the board, Roncalli has been proficient at not allowing opponents to put big numbers on the board. The Cavaliers added five more takeaways last week to run its season total to 19.
“I think we’ve been playing better defensively,” Dosch said. “We’ve been doing a little better job up front, getting penetration.”
Dosch said line play and turnovers will continue to play a key role this evening.
“The line of scrimmage will be very big for us,” he said. “We want to continue to take the ball away and not give it up.”
Wood said facing the Cavaliers is a bit different than getting ready for other opponents.
“Roncalli is a tough team to prepare for,” Wood said, noting that Sisseton has binders from previous years on all its past foes and “Roncalli’s is probably double the size. They do a lot of different stuff.”
For now, Wood is just concerned about getting his squad back on track and making progress the rest of the season before the playoffs start.
“Our focus right now is just to get better every play and forget what happens the play before,” Wood said. “Win the next play and get better.”
Game notes: For the first time ever, Roncalli will have a bye week during the middle of the season. The Cavaliers are off next week. In the past, Roncalli’s bye has either been the first or last week on the schedule . . . Roncalli returns to action on Oct. 18, when it travels to Volga to take on Sioux Valley . . . Sisseton hosts Tiospa Zina next Friday . . . Roncalli is one of three remaining unbeaten teams in Class 11B. The other two are Winner and St. Thomas More, who play each other this evening . . . Tonight’s game will be streamed live at AberdeenNews.com/sports and will also be broadcast on Pheasant Country 103.7 FM.