Rice Lake (WQOW) — For the second straight season, Rice Lake football has advanced to Level 4 of the playoffs. They’re just one win away from getting back to Camp Randall, and defending their state title.
The Warrior’s offense has picked up where they left off in the regular season, averaging 41 points in the three postseason games. However, they might face their toughest test yet Friday night against undefeated West De Pere, as the Phantom’s defense has only given up 81 points all season, including only 23 so far in the playoffs. But despite the stingy numbers, Rice Lake is still focused on what they can do and executing their game plan.
“They’re an awesome defense, they’re an awesome offense,” says head coach Dan Hill. “I mean they’re 12-0, and that’s their. But our focus has to be on what we do. We don’t control what they do or how they do it, the only thing we control is what we do.”
The Warriors are coming off a 42-31 win in Level 3 over Sparta, and are currently on a five-game winning streak.
“If we can run our stuff, it’s going to be a great fight on Friday,” senior wide receiver and defensive back Braeden Verbsky says. “We just have to get our keys, get everything that we do right, and we can’t control what they do.”
For a lot of players on the Rice Lake roster, playing in the semifinals is familiar. Being part of the state championship run in 2017, has given them great experience and confidence in big games this season. However, at the same time, this group wants to write their own script.
“I think it helps it, but yet you still have the fact that kids are saying, now it’s my turn and they have watched other people do it,” says Hill. “But they still have the anxieties and the excitement that come with, hey it’s my turn to do this now. You know every time that you come out on top, it helps build that confidence.
“There’s definitely a little bit more of a sure feeling, like this isn’t new territory for us,” junior lineman Adam Strouf says. “But at the same time, you’re seeing a quality team that you don’t see throughout the year at this point. A lot of talent, and they want to knock us off.”
Kickoff is schedule for 7 P.M. Friday night at Stiehm Stadium in D.C Everest.