Will shootout ensue?
Looking at how teams fared against the same opponents is one way to forecast the outcome of a game.
Neither team in today’s quarterfinal in Rugby is taking much stock in that predictor. Region 3 champion and No. 1 seed Rugby High School hosts Region 4 runner-up and No. 2 seed Killdeer at 2 p.m.Harvey-Wells County is the only team the Panthers (9-0) and Cowboys (7-1) have both faced. Killdeer advanced to today’s game with a 40-6 win over the Hornets. Rugby, a team that has outscored opponents 378 to 89, had its closest margin victory in a week 3 win over H-WC. The Panthers completed a last-minute Hail Mary to win 30-24. (The next closest margin was 14 against Region 2 champ Larimore in the season opener.)
“We played well against Harvey,” Killdeer coach Louis Dobitz said, “but I watched the Rugby versus Harvey game, and it was a play here and there that went Harvey’s way, but the momentum went back to Rugby.”
Both teams watched film this week and nearly saw mirror images of themselves. Both teams are loaded with speed and have swarming defenses.
“One thing that surprised us is they don’t run outside a ton,” RHS coach Scott Grochow said. “They want to run inside and then bounce it out.”
Killdeer may bring the biggest offensive line the Panthers have seen this season. Controlling the line scrimmage will be key, but the RHS?linebackers have stuffed the run much of the year.
“They’re gonna be mostly run, but they can pass it if they need,” RHS senior linebacker Bennie Mygland said. “They’re not like any teams we played this year, but they’ll definitely be the fastest team we’ve played and the most physical.”
The Panthers will have to limit the Cowboys’ leading rusher in 6-foot, 175-pound senior Lewis Dobitz, who leads the team with 681 yards on 88 carries. Dobitz is well supported by senior quarterback Trenton Rohr’s 482 yards and senior John Knopik’s 406 yards.
“We returned a lot of our skill guys – our quarterback, our running backs – and so we had some consistenty in the backfield. We have really had some big question marks at the beginnng of the year of who would play offensive line. They’ve really answered and done a good job blocking.”
Said Grochow: “They do a lot of little things well. They don’t do a lot of different things, but they do what they do well.”
The Killdeer defense has allowed just 91 points and will force Rugby to be balanced, something it proved it can do last week in a 49-2 win over New-Salem Glen Ullin.
“We have to be versatile,” Grochow said. “We have to stay balanced and go from there.”