Battle Creek (6-1, 3-0) at
Cedar Catholic (4-3, 3-0)
7 p.m. Friday
Cedar beat Crofton, 13-7; Battle Creek beat Norfolk Catholic, 30-0.
It’s all about defense for the Trojans.
The first three games of district play have been a boon for that side of the ball as they have allowed a modest 14 points over 12 quarters, including a lone touchdown in last week’s slobber knocker win at Crofton.
Head coach Chad Cattau has seen his team recover from the first two games of the season where they gave up 88 points compared to the last five where the Trojans surrendered a mere 53 points since the beginning of week three.
“Early on we struggled, and we made some changes and moved some kids around,” Cattau said. “Kids have also brought-in a little more in terms of their effort and we are way better fundamentally. We are playing a lot more physically and tackling a lot better.
“We gave up a lot of big plays the first few games and we have shored that up a lot.”
The defense held up in another street fight with Crofton.
“It always is when we play,” Cattau said. “If you can make them throw the ball, you can do some good things on defense and you can put their backs up against the wall.”
Crofton scored on its first drive and from there were limited to watching the Trojans take over the game.
“Our kids started making plays early and we started doing some good things after that first drive,” Cattau said.
All this will come in handy against Battle Creek, as the two teams will play for the district title Friday. The winner assures itself of the crown, as these District co-leaders are two games ahead of the third-place team in district, thus rendering any challenge outside this pair moot.
“This is the kind of game that has been close and low scoring recently,” Cattau said. “We expect it to be the same way. They play the same way, lining up and trying to run it at you. They will take some shots deep. They play almost the same exact defense as we do.”
Last year, the hosts Battle Creek won this encounter 13-7.
“We need to be better on our offensive line,” Cattau said. “Watching our game on Friday, we were a block away from making a big play. We need to work to make that extra play.”