ESPN 99.1 Game of Week: Harrisburg vs. Brandon Valley Battle
The road to the DakotaDome will start soon, but before the quest begins, teams have one more obstacle to overcome.
Harrisburg (3-4) visits Brandon Valley (5-2) in the featured ESPN 99.1 Game of the Week, as the high school football regular season wraps tonight in South Dakota.
Last week, Harrisburg made a statement with a 26-18 win over Class 11AA No. 1 Yankton. The Tigers used a dominant run game, and a late interception to seal the victory over the Bucks. Christian Trainor ran for 119 yards, while Jonathan Kabambi rushed for 100 yards and two scores. Head coach Brandon White says the Tigers stressed the importance of the run game in practice, and carried it into last Friday's win.
"We had a will to run, and knew we had to be successful in the run game. Our kids did a good job of buying into it and we saw results," says White.
The victory over Yankton was a big win for the Harrisburg football program, considering the Tigers are in their first year on Class 11AA. "It was huge for the program, kids and community. To beat a school with such great tradition, hopefully it's a spark for our young program."
The Tigers played last week with a chip on their shoulder, and enter tonight's road contest with the Lynx, seeking another big win. A win would give the Tigers momentum and confidence heading into the playoffs .
"We have to take care of the football, create two or three turnovers, and have big sacks on third downs. On offense, we want to run the football, and sustain long drives. Finally, on special teams, we want to break a punt for a score. I think if we do these, we will be there until the end," adds White.
While Harrisburg comes into tonight fresh off a victory, the Lynx are trying to overcome a difficult 16-0 loss to Pierre last week. Brandon Valley was held to just 44 yards on offense, and couldn't muster any offense against the second-ranked Governors. The Lynx used last week as a learning experience, says head coach Chad Garrow.
"We need to show an ability to run the football to take pressure off the pass game. On defense, our front seven has been good, and we need to work on defending the pass game," says Garrow.
Tonight's game will be important for Brandon Valley not to overlook Harrisburg, as the playoffs loom. Garrow says the Lynx just need to focus on the match-up.
"They have a good run game, and it will be interesting to see if they stick with it, since our guys have been good in the run. On offense, it will depend on how many points is scored and how fast we score. We have to take advantage of every drive and put them in a hole, so they are not in grind mode at the end of the game."
As Brandon Valley focuses on this week, the Lynx also know momentum is important for their confidence, as a win would get them back on track for next week's playoffs.
"We don't want to come off a loss, We had a bye last year, and will be playing this year. Whatever we do tonight will be fresh in our mind," says Garrow.