With last Saturday’s 45-30 victory over Franklin & Marshall, the No. 8 Johns Hopkins football team captured its third straight Centennial Conference title and the program’s ninth championship.
So does that make Saturday’s regular-season finale at McDaniel meaningless? Not to coach Jim Margraff.
“You look at each game to win,” he said Wednesday morning. “I know exactly what you’re asking. ... I’ve talked to our guys already. They’re excited and they want to get rolling.”
The Blue Jays (9-0 overall and 8-0 in the conference) figure to be prohibitive favorites against the Green Terror (2-7, 2-6), who have lost the last 12 games against Johns Hopkins. But the Blue Jays can complete an undefeated regular season for the second time in Margraff’s tenure.
Still, Johns Hopkins has already earned a berth in the NCAA playoffs (which will be announced Sunday at 6 p.m.), which might lead some to wonder if it would be wise to avoid risking starters to injuries. Margraff acknowledged that line of thinking, but also said there is a desire to carry the team’s momentum in the regular season into the postseason.
“It’s a bit of a conundrum,” he said. “You want to stay healthy, you want to be ready for the playoffs. At the same point, you want to keep a sharp, competitive mental edge and you never want to give an appearance to your team that one game is less important than another. It’s not. You only play 10, and I think each one of them has to be important.”
The only tinkering that fans may see Saturday is the appearance of the team’s 20 seniors, who will start in some fashion, according to Margraff. Other players who are too sore to play capably will get limited reps, he said.
“If guys are bumped up, we’ve got good players behind them,” Margraff said. “So there might be a couple guys that might have their reps limited. But we’re not going in with any type of plan to rest people.”