Hartington — Cedar Catholic football prepares to face off Crofton in a classic rivalry game. In fact, it is the Trojans’ oldest rivalry, having started in 1957.
With the Trojans at 6-0 and Crofton at 4-2 this game has the making to be a true showdown.
“This is one of those games that whatever each team has done previously during the season, it doesn’t matter,” said Cedar coach Chad Cattau. “this game is always close and both teams will play as hard as they can. Not only is it a big rivalry game, but this year, they are playing to keep their playoff hopes alive so that alone will create some motivation for them.”
Cedar leads Crofton in the rivalry, 31-23, but Crofton has won 12 of the last 16 meetings. In 1999, Crofton started that streak by winning one of the longest games in Trojan history. It took four overtimes, but Crofton won 31-30, and it renewed the rivalry’s intensity.
Cedar has outscored Crofton 817 to 489 in 54 meetings.
The two teams were both rated in the Top Five in the state when they met last year with Crofton earning the 25-20 win. Cattau even mentioned after the win this week over Lutheran Northeast that Cedar has to go get the trophy that was taken from them the last two years.
This year, Cedar and Crofton have faced five of the same opponents in their six games. That leaves plenty of scouting material for both sides.
“There are some advantages to it because we can see what worked for us against an opponent and possibly see how that might also work against them,” said Cattau. “The things that we look at more than anything are how they run their blocking schemes against similar defense and what types of plays do they run well against defenses that are similar to ours. We use the same strategies when scouting their defenses. If we can have a pretty good grasp on those things going into a Friday night, we feel pretty comfortable in what we want to do.”
Since it is a rivalry game the players should be focused on avenging last year’s loss at home, but Cattau always relays a similar message of doing the little things each day to prepare for each week.
“We are trying to improve each week, and thus far, I believe we have done that. There are always things that we need to improve upon, so we need to make sure we continue to work on those things. If we get complacent and don’t prepare at a high level, then our kids know we won’t play well and we will have a chance to get beat.”
Crofton hopes to keep their playoff hopes alive, while Cedar shoots to remain unbeaten. The game starts at 7 p.m. at Russ Hochstein Field.