ESPN 99.1 Game of Week: Roosevelt vs. O’Gorman, and Lincoln vs. Washington
The weather is changing, and there’s a sense of urgency for all four Sioux Falls schools.
Lincoln, Roosevelt, O’Gorman, and Washington all square off one last time in the regular season this Friday before the road to the Dome begins. (O’Gorman still has one game remaining at Rapid City Central due to the blizzard earlier in October).
O’Gorman plays Roosevelt in the first game, while Lincoln and Washington battle in the nightcap. In the ESPN 99.1/KELO-TV/KBHB high school football rankings, Lincoln reigns at No. 1 again with a 7-0 record. Roosevelt follows at No. 2, O’Gorman at No. 5 and Washington is unranked.
As Roosevelt (6-1) prepares to play O’Gorman (2-4) in the first game, the Riders cannot overlook the Knights, and have to stay focused on picking up another win to finish out the regular season before the playoffs start.
“It’s a city rivalry. We’re surprised they are 2-4, and we have to take care of business. We have to play well to have a high seed and to play at home in the playoffs. There’s a lot of history in favor of O’Gorman, and we have to play hard for four quarters because a win could give them fire,” says head coach Kim Nelson.
Meanwhile, head coach Steve Kueter has never had a losing season at O’Gorman, and the Knights are trying to focus on their goals. “We have to get wins, and help our seeding. Our goal is to win it all, and we need to do that.”
Roosevelt is coming off a 44-0 win over Rapid City Stevens. The Riders got off to a fast start, as the defense played exceptional. The Riders forced a safety early, which gave their offense great field position early, and held the Raiders to (-9) yards in the first quarter. Moving forward to this week, Nelson says the Riders will have their hands full with O'Gorman.
"The Knights spread the ball around with quarterback Luke Fritsch, they have good speed on the edges, and are quick up front. We need to be on our toes, play our positions, and assignments, and move the ball on offense so our defense doesn't have to win the game."
O'Gorman lost a heartbreaking game to Watertown, in which the Arrows scored 29 unanswered points from the end of the third quarter. Kueter hopes to get momentum back on the Knights side as the season is coming to end.
"We want to play well and we are. We're getting better. We're getting three two-way starters back. If we can survive the good teams, it will help prepare us for stretch runs in the playoffs."
In the nightcap, the undefeated Lincoln Patriots play a struggling Washington Warriors (3-4) team that has been frustrated by mistakes that have cost themselves a couple wins. Washington lost 13-9 to Rapid City Central last week despite outgaining the Cobblers 325 to 163.
"We had some bad snaps, and sacks. We didn't have them for awhile, either. Our center worked hard, they came back and now, he's working on it again. We're just not getting breaks to go our way, " says head coach Chad Stadem.
The Warriors have lost two of three, but Stadem says his team needs to have a short memory, and focus on the Patriots and the playoffs.
"You cannot replay last week's loss. It's part of the learning curve."
The Patriots will be a tough opponent, but Stadem is confident and says the Warriors need to play their style.
"Lincoln is good. We need to stop the run, and not give up big plays. On offense, we cannot put our defense in positions and we have to move ball and not turn the ball over."
The Patriots have not been frustrated much this year, as they take their undefeated (7-0) record into Friday's game. Last week, the Patriots struggled to get going, as they were tied 0-0 at halftime on the road in Harrisburg. In the second half, the Patriots found their stride, winning 23-0.
Head coach Aaron Beavers says Harrisburg just outplayed Lincoln in the first half, but the Patriots made some second half adjustments that made the difference in the game.
"On defense, we played the ends wider. On offense, we had a heavier formation to pick up the strong safety, and the defense set-up our touchdowns."
Against Washington, Beavers wants the Patriots to have less penalties, to take care of the ball, run down the clock, and to play fast and tough defense. If the Patriots do all these things, then they will be in a good position for the rest of the season.
"There's a lot of importance. There's home field, staying No. 1, a city title, and a conference title all on the line."