Sioux Falls Lincoln climbed to second in the latest South Dakota Prep Media football poll as the Patriots earned a 26-21 win over previously top ranked Brandon Valley.
“We played pretty well, not so much in the first half, but second half we really played well and anytime you go up against Brandon, you know you got to bring a pretty good game because they’re really, really good,” Lincoln Head Coach Jared Fredenburg said.
Harrisburg earned their fifth win of the season as the Tigers overcame a 14 point deficit to Watertown on their way to a 22-14 victory.
“We had to get back in that win column and really get ourselves back in position to make a playoff run here. Obviously we have a gauntlet of teams coming up with Lincoln, Brandon Valley and O’Gorman, but our kids really responded last week. You know you’re going to have your injuries throughout the rest of the season but for the most part, we’re pretty healthy at this time and we look forward to giving a Lincoln a run this week,” Harrisburg Head Coach Brandon White said.
Now the Patriots will gear up to play third-ranked Harrisburg and their offense that is averaging nearly 30 points per contest.
“They like to throw the ball a lot. Kind of watching some film, I’m seeing some trick plays I guess and they’ve got two quarterbacks and one of them is really good as he always throws it on the dot. So we’ve kind of got to watch out for the pass,” Lincoln Senior defensive back Sam Siegel said.
“We’ve just got to get bodies to the ball, you know defensively, I forget what we’re at, but we’re at like plus ten or eleven in the turnover margin, so we usually get a couple fumbles,” Fredenburg said.
The Tiger offense will have their hands full as they prepare to face a Lincoln defense that is allowing only 18 points per game.
“We have to limit our turnovers, we had five last week and still came out with the win. Some of those were attributed to the weather, but this week, we’ve got to take care of the football. We can’t give them any extra possessions. When you give an explosive offense extra possessions, they’re gonna capitalize, that’s just the way it is and we have to turn them over two or three times,” White said.
Lincoln has scored over 130 points in their last four games, which has resulted in a four-game win streak for the Patriots.
“We need to run the ball and so I think everything with us, starts with running the ball, our play action works off of that. Just get people flowing to our run game whether it’s up the middle or outside on fly sweeps with Hunter (Merkley) and that just opens up our play-action game,” Fredenburg said.
“They’re multi dimensional. They like to throw the ball and run the ball. We talk about their speed of their backs and I think if we utilize our 11 guys to the football and try to force them to bounce it one more step or two steps, we’re able to then rally, but if they can hit the hole down hill and not break stride, they’re going to be tough to bring down,” White said.
Both teams have had success running the football this season making the battle in the trenches even more important.
“We’ve just got to take care of it up front. If we can run the ball and then limit their running, especially the way the weather is supposed to be tomorrow night, I think that bodes well to whoever can control the line of scrimmage,” Fredenburg said.
“We’re going to have to be able to control that. Very similar to the Roosevelt game, we didn’t run the ball very well there and we’re going to have to, obviously with the lower temperatures forecasted. For throwing, you’re going to have to take shots and capitalize on those shots, but we’ve got to move the sticks on the ground and so do they. It’s going to be a hard fought match-up,” White said.
The Tigers will look to end the Patriot win streak on Friday and to do so, they will need a short memory.
“It’s high school football, each team is probably going to turn the ball over at some time and whoever has the short-term memory loss and kind of moves on from that and is able to not let that play affect the next two or three in a row. It’s going to be a great football game. Both teams have a lot of explosive athletes. Just have to figure out who wants to win in the fourth quarter,” White said.
Harrisburg and Lincoln will cross paths on Friday at Howard Wood Field. Kick-off is set for 6:00 and highlights can be seen on the KELOLAND Sportszone at 10:30 on KELO-TV.