RANDOLPH - The Cardinals will host another playoff football game on Wednesday, with 5 seed Falls City Sacred Heart coming to town to face 4 seed Randolph at 3 pm.
The Irish come to town after just defeating Randolph District foe Wynot in the first round 42-0. Wynot was held to just over 150 yards of total offense in the shutout.
‘The fact that they played Wynot helps us get a gauge on their athletes,” said Randolph coach Mark Lech. “We can see how they matched up against a familiar opponent as we did. Wynot runs a different scheme than we do on offense, so the correlation isn’t exact, but you can find what worked and what didn’t against them.”
Randolph had a much tougher match against Wynot earlier this season, winning 14-8.
Looking ahead to this week though, Randolph has a tough test despite being the higher seed. Falls City Sacred Heart has just one loss on the season. It came in the final regular-season matchup against Johnson-Brock.
Lech says the Irish have a handful of strong players to prepare for, including senior quarterback, Drew Bippes, sophomore running back/linebacker Del Casteel, junior receiver Jake Hoy, and junior linemen Sloan Lenard and Branson Darveau.
These two teams have recent history in the playoffs as well. Seniors on both teams may remember playing each other as freshmen in the second round of the playoffs. Randolph traveled to Falls City that year and lost 34-26.
Randolph hasn’t made it past the second round since the Cardinals were an 8 seed in 2013 and upset top seed Bruning-Davenport/Shickley in the second round. That game was also on the road.
“We feel like it is an advantage to host,” said Lech. “We have been on the road a lot in round two and usually a great distance. The fact that we don’t have to leave early and sit on a bus for hours we feel will help our kids be ready to play. There are also fewer factors that we coaches have to deal with such as transportation and meals. We still have to execute and playing in the middle of the afternoon is different, but we would rather be at home with our home crowd.”
The game has a 3 pm start time and is also on a Wednesday. These are both unusual in the regular season, but for the playoffs it is typical and a welcomed added challenge typically. Lech says practice did not change much but was all moved up a bit.
“We started on Friday. We had an easy stretch practice to make sure everyone was healthy and to work out any injuries. We also discussed the upcoming week of practices and the opponent. We then practiced on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday to make it feel like a regular week. We do a lot more brain work this time of year and less physical because of the shortened times.”
The 4 seed Randolph Cardinals host the 5 seed Falls City Sacred Heart Irish on Wednesday at 3 pm. With it being Halloween will there be a trick or a treat for the home team?