Rival Rematch: Lincoln and Washington set to battle in quarterfinals

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Lincoln and Washington crossed paths in the 2020 11AAA quarterfinals and as luck would have it, the Warriors and Patriots would be paired again in this year’s quarterfinals.

COVID-19 created some interesting schedule changes in 2020 and one of those changes saw Washington play Lincoln three times, in one season.

“To play our city rivals three times in one year and it was like twice in a matter of three weeks there and then this year we get to play them back to back. Here we go, a good eastside rivalry,” Washington head coach Ryan Evans said.

“It was just a COVID year, you know. It just turned out that we had different games that were cancelled and we’d rather play than sit around,” Lincoln head coach Jared Fredenburg said.

The Patriots and Warriors final meeting of 2020 came in the quarterfinals of the playoffs, where Lincoln picked up a 40-34 win, via a walk-off touchdown from Tommy Thompson to Luke Smith.

“Everybody brings that up and I’m sure they (Washington) don’t care about that right now. We don’t care about it right now and it’s nice to go back and look at videos of it, but we’ve got a game on Thursday with a totally different Warrior team,” Fredenburg said.

“We all remember what happened last year and hats off to them for making a play, but at the same time, yeah, it makes us hungry,” Evans said. “We want to be put in a winning position in a playoff game and our kids are hungry for that feeling.”

Fast forward to 2021 and without any schedule changes, the two eastside rivals will cross paths in back-to-back weeks as they met in the regular season finale last week and now a quarterfinal matchup this week.

“I wouldn’t say it easier by any means. Now the chess match goes into play as to what changes we’ll make and what changes they’re going to make and you kind of try to anticipate each other a little bit,” Evans said.

“How do you think that they’re going to adjust to this and then if we see that, how can we adjust off it and things that they’ve done in past games, that they didn’t show in this past game,” Fredenburg said.

The key for Lincoln will be trying to get out to a fast start. The Patriots have struggled in the first quarter this season, though they’ll look to change that Thursday.

“We haven’t done that much and that’s been a focus in the talks with the coaching staff is, we’ve got to get out of the gate and so, I’m not quite sure, what to attribute that to,” Fredenburg said. “That would be nice if we could get out and actually play with a lead.”

Overcoming adversity can be difficult in a playoff atmosphere, but coach Evans knows that will be key come Thursday.

“Play mistake free, but at the same time know that adversity is going to take place and the team that comes out on top, usually responds to that adversity better,” Evans said.

With the regular season in the rearview, the message from both coaches to their players is quite clear.

“It’s win or go home. You know, do you want to be playing next week at this time or are you making other plans? What’s the deal? Obviously these kids want to play and they have a dream to play their last game at the DakotaDome,” Fredenburg said.

“Playoffs are a new season and you could be one and done or you can be one and zero and move on to the next round,” Evans said. “The mantra of being 1-0 through out the week is something that we talk about throughout the season, but it certainly has to be that way throughout the postseason.”

The Warriors and Patriots will cross paths on Thursday at Howard Wood Field. Kick-off is set for 7 p.m. and you can stream the game on KELOLAND.com.

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