Thursday, 6:30 in Happy
This is a rematch of a thrilling 64-63 win by White Deer in Week 5.
With less than two minutes remaining in that game, Kaydon Johnson caught a screen pass from Graysen Freeman and raced 58 yards for the game-winning score. The Bucks were then fortunate to keep the Wolverines out of the end zone on the final series that culminated with Freeman intercepting a pass on the final play to seal the deal.
“We were in a dark place as a team during the time that we last played,” White Deer head coach Justin Rucker said. “Springlake was hard to read because we have never played them before, nor had I coached against their coaches.
“We understand they are quite a bit better now than they were then. We struggled severely with pass coverage that night, and we did not block well offensively. Their quarterback was very hard to contain and we struggled at covering their deep receivers. Defensively, they have a very big and aggressive nose guard that we struggled to block all night.”
Springlake Earth is not just satisfied on making the playoffs in their first season of six-man. The Wolverines are looking to make a deep run and have the talent to do it. But, first, they must avenge this earlier loss.
“Coach Rucker has done a great job with his boys,” Springlake Earth head coach Israel Deleon said. “They are playing lights out defense, great special teams, and have an explosive offense.
“A lot has changed since our first game. We are a different team, but so are they. We have moved kids around and so have they. I expect a great game.”
Making the playoffs in Year 1 is a big deal for Wolverine faithful. It is never easy moving to six-man when you’ve had success in 11-man, albeit a few years back.
“We are all excited about the playoffs,” adds Deleon, a native son. “The support has been amazing. It’s an awesome feeling when people I graduated with in 90’s congratulate us on our season. Our stands are filling up. People stop me in town to talk about the game. I am happy we have something positive to keep our minds off of everything going on in the world.”
In the first game, White Deer managed to get the early defensive stands to take an early lead. Springlake Earth rallied in the second half to level the scoring. In the end, both teams scored nine times and it came down to point-after conversions.
Both teams excel at offense, averaging over 55 points a game. Where this game will likely be won is on defense and special teams. Can either team make a stop and gain a possession here and there? Will the kicking game come back to haunt either team? Those are the questions that need to be answered when two explosive teams face off in a game with so much riding on it.
PREDICTION: Springlake Earth 72 White Deer 68
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