Both teams are coming off needed wins. MICDS broke the stranglehold of John Burroughs' home field win streak, ending it at 35 games with the abruptness of a Bill Belichick press conference (#HesNotADoctor).
So to sum up and end it and not drone on like William Henry Harrison's inaugural address (#ThirtyDayPrez), here are the keys to the game:
(1) Rise above the negatives: MICDS is facing a four-year losing streak to Westminster by an average margin of 19 points per contest. It is true the margin of victory has shrunk from 34 to 20 to 14 to 8, but the Rams know there is a monkey on their back (#WhatDoesThatMeanAnyway), and if they're going into Peter Gabriel mode to shock the monkey, it will take a keen effort to avoid memories of seasons past. No doubt that's a sermon coach Matt Buha will preach this week in practice to the front-running herd of Rams with the fervor of Joel Osteen on amphetamines. For the Wildcats' part, they have just broken a four-game losing streak of their own in the midst of this campaign. The young Cats must put paws up and claws out all over again and be prepared for a more difficult task than last week. Neither team can afford to put their heads down in distress like a wildebeest and allow the savage lion of negativity to tear them limb from limb. The team that keeps its collective head up the most wins this game. (#DoNotBeAWildebeest)
(2) First down fortitude: For each defense, the success at stunting the opposition's drives will be a direct result of how well they limit yardage on first down. Can the triad of Fred Maune, Jayson Love, and Keiondre Jordan force the Wildcats into second- and third-and-longs? Will it be Cooper Moore, Steve Webb, and company stunting the Rams and preventing their "Hear the Crash, See the Flash" style from stretching the field? What happens on first down will pay dividends for the remainder of each offensive series. And that comes down to discipline, containment, and making reads.
(3) Location, location, location: No doubt, compared to all the other games so far this year...this one is the game where field position will be at a premium. Outside of opening day, Westminster has not been in shootout mode, and MICDS has neither scored more than 28 points nor given up more than 24 in any single contest (#Consistency). All of which means that ball control AND WHERE you are controlling said pigskin is of prime importance. In a game that figures to be a grinder, what end of the field gets used most will most likely tip the balance in favor of the winner.
It's the Carnival matchup of dreams, fans. MICDS vs. Westminster in the thirteenth edition of the Ram-Cat Derby. We'll see you for kickoff at 2 pm this Saturday with a huge crowd.