BISMARCK —Be Prepared.
Those two words are what the Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin football team is going with leading up to Saturday’s IHSA Class 2A playoff second-round game against Nashville.
BHRA coach Mark Dodd said that the Hornets have a lot to look out for, just like the Blue Devils.
“They put up points a little bit differently than we do. They are all spread, all-shotgun. They have talented receivers and their quarterback can sling it. They are a tough matchup and a talented team.”
Nashville has scored at least 35 points in each game, even in their only defeat — a 41-35 loss to DuQuoin, while BHRA has scored at least 28 in each game.
“They have athletes everywhere and I feel they are similar to us,” Dodd said. “I am not sure their schedule has been good just like a part of our schedule was not good, so some of it is hard to tell. But they are a quality team. They did not get to 9-1 by accident.”
After senior running back Caleb Lahey’s big game from last week, Dodd said that he is back for a second straight week of healthy practice.
“He’s done good. We have a couple of kids that were nicked up last week who will be back, so we are pretty healthy and practice has gone well,” Dodd said. “It is going to turn cold tomorrows and we had been having longer practices in the last couple of days and try to get the game plan in. When you are scrambling around on Saturdays, you only have Sundays to truly prepare a plan, so everything is a work in progress in how we see things on the field.”
Lahey has run for 1,227 yards this season with 241 yards and four touchdowns in last week’s win over Eldorado. Weston Strawser and Jacob Akins has gained over 500 yards on the ground while Avery McConkey has passed for 1,428 yards with 18 touchdowns and Eric Watson had caught 18 passes for 468 yards and three scores and Mason Hackman has caught 19 passes for 410 yards and eight scores.
On defense, Talen Miller has seven sacks, while Paul Paunat has 96 tackles, Chase Benjamin has five sacks and Akins has 72 tackles.
The rare second straight home playoff game for BHRA will hopefully mean a situation where the Hornets might get slowed down on Saturday.
“They play on a turf field and a fast track which is built for their team,” Dodd said. “We got rain and snow last week and our field was pretty soft. Maybe that will be an advantage.”
While Dodd said that while the Blue Devils will stick to what got them to a 9-1 mark of its own, they want to be ready for whatever situation the Hornets will give them.
“We are going to stick with what we have done all year. We are going to have some shotgun packages and things we have rehearsed and then we settle in to the Wing-T,” Dodd said. “Our team is very versatile and we have a lot of kids that can go block and can also catch a pass, so I feel we have just a good of chance as anyone.
“I don’t think either team is used to many three and outs, so you want to put pressure on an opponent and make them panic a little bit. I think we can play two different styles: We can play that fast-paced, run and gun type of game or we can also slow it down and ground and pound. I don’t know what this game will turn into, but I feel that we are pretty well-prepared for it. … It is going to be a heck of a show for anyone to watch.”
The game will start at 2 p.m. and will be broadcast on WHRK-FM 94.9.