North Prairie meets Cavalier — again
Cavalier did North Prairie (Rolla-Rolette-Wolford-Rock Lake) a favor when it knocked off Region 1 top seed Linton-Hazelton-Moffit-Braddock in the first round of the Class A playoffs.
That win by the Tornadoes allowed North Prairie to host the quarterfinal round game this afternoon, Oct. 31 at 2 p.m. in Rolette between the two Region 2 teams.
However, playing at home isn’t going to guarantee another victory.
“They’ll come in a lot hungrier,’ said NP coach Davy Zinke. “We need to prove we want it more.”
NP soundly defeated Cavalier 50-0 three weeks ago, but this is an improved Tornado team that held fourth-ranked Linton-H-M-B to just six points.
It was one of Cavalier’s best defensive efforts of the season and it will need another if it wants to advance. NP’s offense features a number of weapons.
“Over the course of the past five or six games we’ve had six or seven different players who have scored,’ Zinke said. “We’re a different offensive team (than Linton).”
Yes, Cavalier will have to be prepared not only to stop NP’s ground game, but also it’s passing attack. NP quarterback Jaden Pfeifer has enjoyed a breakout season.
The Cougars’ defense was able to keep the Cavalier’s talented quarterback Jared Mack in check in the teams’ first meeting and will have to do so again. Mack is coming off a 200-yard passing performance against Linton.
Zinke said his defense can’t be complacent thinking it’s going to stop them the same way. Cavalier is going to throw in a few wrinkles and NP needs to be prepared to stop them.
Turnovers, field position and special teams always get magnified in a single elimination game. Both North Prairie and Cavalier forced turnovers and won the field position battle in its respective first round games.
While the home field advantage means NP doesn’t have to make a long bus trip, it also means the Cougars will wear their home purple uniforms and Cavalier will wear its road white. And that is an advantage in itself, Zinke points out. “For a team that likes to ball fake like Cavalier it’s easier for the defense to see where the ball is when they are wearing white,’ he said.