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Game of the Week: Three items to watch between Canistota/Freeman and Bon Homme

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Bon Homme's Nate Scieszinski (4) carries the ball against Hanson's Reggie Slaba (2) on Sept. 20 in Alexandria.

When/Where: 7 p.m. today in Tyndall.

Coaches: Canistota/Freeman’s James Strang; Bon Homme’s Byron Pudwill.

Forecast: The temperature will be 35 degrees at kickoff and northwest winds at 18 mph.

Records: Canistota/Freeman is 6-0 and No. 2 in Class 9A; Bon Homme is 7-0 and No. 1 in Class 9AA.

Here are three items to watch for in tonight’s Daily Republic Game of the Week between Canistota/Freeman and Bon Homme:

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No. 1 against No. 2

Nine-man pundits will have their eye on this one.

It will pit Class 9AA No. 1 Bon Homme against Class 9A No. 2 Canistota/Freeman against each other, while both teams won state championships a season ago.

“It’s going to be a good night for Friday night lights and football,” Bon Homme coach Byron Pudwill said. “It’s kind of a game you dream about.”

They are also both undefeated and the teams jockeying for playoff positions. Bon Homme is 7-0 and today’s game is its regular-season finale before the postseason. Canistota/Freeman is 6-0 and today’s game is the first of two tough tasks to end of the season. The Pride will likely play Viborg-Hurley for the Cornbelt Conference title on Oct. 18. Viborg-Hurley is currently No. 2 in Class 9AA.

“To be where we want to be for the 9A playoffs when those roll around, we need to make sure we are focused on controlling what we can control and going out and trying to win a football game,” Canistota/Freeman coach James Strang said.

Weather conditions

Today calls for cold and windy conditions.

It will only add to the intrigue and the playoff atmosphere, while placing a premium on running the ball and controlling the clock.

“It has that potential and if it gets in that situation, hopefully we can control the ball and have it last,” Strang said.

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Pudwill also preaches to his team be ready for these kind of conditions late in the season.

“At some point you are going to have to run the ball and defend against the run,” Pudwill said. “It’s just critical and field position I think is going to be huge.”

Both coaches anticipate a low-scoring affair as they both hang their hat on defense. Canistota/Freeman has pitched three shutouts and has given up just 34 points. The Cavaliers have held high-scoring Kimball/White Lake and Gregory in check the past two weeks. They only gave up 18 against KWL and allowed just seven against the Gorillas.

Players to watch

There will be no shortage of dynamic playmakers on the gridiron.

Canistota/Freeman brothers -- Trey and Tyce Ortman -- form a lethal 1-2 punch on offense. Junior running back Tyce Ortman has rushed for 782 yards and eight touchdowns. He’s rushed for 100 or more yards in five of six games this season. Senior quarterback Trey Ortman has passed for 390 yards and five touchdowns, while rushing for 120 yards and five scores. Senior fullback Bailey Sage has racked up 351 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground. He also has 40 tackles from his linebacker position.

“Trey does a great job at the quarterback positon and is able to distribute the ball,” Strang said. “Tyce has had a few big games running the ball, but I think Bailey Sage has done a great job for us at linebacker and fullback really setting our tempo and creating opps for Tyce to find lanes.”

For the Cavaliers, Joshua Crownover has stepped into the quarterback role and Pudwill said, “defensively he’s my coach on the field,” from his linebacker spot. He’s coming off 117 rushing yards and 110 passing yards against Gregory last week.

Seniors Nate Scieszinski and Cole Bares have also been key pieces this season. Scieszinski put up 93 receiving yards and one touchdown in a recent win over Kimball/White Lake. Bares is coming off nine tackles and one sack against the Gorillas.

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