Defending state champs face offA lot is at stake for the Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan and Canistota football teams in their meeting Friday.
By: Brooke Cersosimo, The Daily Republic
A lot is at stake for the Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan and Canistota football teams in their meeting Friday.
The two undefeated and No. 1-ranked teams face off in what Canistota head coach Lenny Schroeder called “the biggest game of the year” at 7 p.m. Friday at the University of Sioux Falls in Sioux Falls.
“We consider it the biggest game of the year,” Schroeder said. “The reaction we get out of winning a state title is nothing compared to the reaction we get if we beat these guys. This game is a big deal to both teams.”
“It’s a conference game and it’s always nice to have that bragging right,” BEE head coach Jeff VanLeur said. “It’s a friendly rivalry, and it’s a fun game to be a part of.”
Canistota, who is on a 25-game winning streak, edged BEE in last season’s game. Canistota is the reigning 9A state champion and was the 2010 state 9B champion as well.
However, the Hawks aren’t the only team with a state football title.
BEE was crowned the Class 9AA state champion last season.
Both coaches said the key to this game is controlling the line of scrimmage.
Schroeder said his team needs to execute if they want to keep their winning streak alive.
“Last year, we had lots of penalties and gave them way too many opportunities to be comfortable,” he said. “We have to play a perfect game this time around.”
Schroeder said the teams’ friendship is put on hold for one week out of every season.
“There one of the best 9-man teams in South Dakota history,” Schroeder said. “On the weeks we’re not playing them, we’re cheering for them. We share and help with scouting reports, but this week is different. It’s serious and both teams are very focused and want to win.”
VanLeur said Canistota’s program is one of the best, and he’s glad his team gets the opportunity to experience a game like this.
“It’s a great atmosphere to play in such a nice stadium at USF and to play in a game like this,” VanLeur said. “It all plays into the excitement of a big game, and hopefully that will help us down the road if we get another shot at the end of the season.”