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The Bureau Valley football team is hoping to avoid that Saturday.
After the Storm fell in a heartbreaking Three Rivers Conference crossover last week, Bureau Valley will open Three Rivers Conference North Division play at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Sterling Newman, which started the season ranked No. 1 in Class 2A.
The Storm know that in order to be the best they have to beat the best in Newman, which was picked by many as the preseason conference favorite, won the last three conference titles and advanced to the state semifinals last year.
Getting an early season win over the Comets would be big for the Storm.
“If you can get a win right away in the division, it’s going to be huge,” BV coach Jeff Ohlson said. “Newman has been the conference champion the last couple of years and, if they aren’t the conference champions, they have been in the top 3. It’s a situation where you want to start off on the right foot. It’s a big game for an early season game because if you win that game, you have a lot of momentum going into the rest of the conference schedule.”
It may also propel the winner to a conference crown.
“With this conference — especially now with the crossovers — you better show up every week,” Newman coach Mike Papoccia said. “I think everybody is going to be pretty tough.”
Both teams will get an extra day of preparation as the TRC North showdown will be played on a Saturday night at Sterling High School’s Roscoe Eades Stadium.
The Storm (1-1) are looking for their first win over the Comets (1-1) since 2009.
In order to get it, BV will need to slow senior running back Jake Snow, a state champion wrestler who last week rushed for 134 yards and three first quarter touchdowns in a win at Princeton.
Newman, which lost to Rockridge in Week 1 but is ranked No. 8 in Class 2A, also features senior running back Mac Olson — who ran for two touchdowns last week — as well as up to four other backs who can carry the ball.
“There’s not a lot of change (in what we do from past seasons), but it just depends on what team shows up,” Papoccia said. “Our first game, we didn’t play with much passion at all. This past week we played much better and we played like we wanted to play. Hopefully, we can keep that up, and we’re going to need that in order to compete with BV.”
The Storm, who Ohlson said are healthy outside of normal bumps and bruises, are coming off a heartbreaking loss to St. Bede last week in which BV allowed 15 points in the game’s final 6:58 and had negative-14 yards of offense in the fourth quarter.
“It better not linger with us. You can’t afford to let losses linger in this conference,” Ohlson said. “We’ve talked about it and wrapped everything up on film (on Monday) and we put it to bed. We can’t go back and change it.”
A win over Newman would fully put the loss in the past.
“It’s a big rivalry,” Ohlson said. “I know the Newman kids get excited to play Bureau Valley and the Bureau Valley kids get excited to play Newman. They are very well coached and very disciplined. Watching them on film this year and in years past, they are going to do what they do and it’s up to you to try to stop it.”
Jared Bell can be reached at 220-6938, or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsJared.
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