Staffer predicts outcome of BV vs. Salina South football game

Matt Antonic, Sports Editor

Blue Valley Tigers (1-1) at Salina South High School (1-1)
Salina, Kan.
Friday, Sept. 20, 2013 at  7 p.m.

Last Week:
Maize 40-28 Salina South — The Cougars played gritty for a half in a tough road game, but let the game get away from them in the 3rd quarter with a letdown defensive effort and eventually caved.
Bishop Miege 24-15 Blue Valley — A fired up home crowd and an early safety couldn’t save the Tigers, who turned the ball over four times and scored only one touchdown in the frustrating loss.

Last Meeting: 2012
Salina South 28-7 Blue Valley: Last year’s Homecoming game turned ugly rather quickly for Blue Valley as a bigger and faster Cougars squad came in and delivered a crushing blow to the Tigers in a game that was not as close as the final score indicated, keeping the Tigers off the board until late in the 4th quarter.

What’s at stake: For both teams, confidence. Neither team wants to lose two straight games, and have to sit at 1-2 heading into district play. After rather dispiriting losses last week, both teams will want this game badly to keep their seasons in relatively smooth sailing. Both teams will be out for vengeance after letting winnable  games slip away from them last week.

Blue Valley will win if: They play mistake-free football, including not turning the ball over or dropping catchable passes. They will need to have a free flowing offense. The Tigers will also have a better chance to win by delivering the first blow and by taking the home crowd out of the game. They simply cannot afford to allow the Cougar receivers the same amount of catches as they did for the Bishop Miege receivers. Third down defense in this game will be crucial.

Blue Valley will lose if: They play like they did last week: unprepared. The Tigers looked disjointed, having trouble moving the ball and playing consistent pass defense, allowing big gains for Miege receivers on second and third down. Passes were dropped, an interception was returned for a touchdown and four turnovers were committed, two on the goal line. You will not win a game, home or away, in 6A football against a good team by committing four turnovers. Period.

Prediction: Salina South 38 – Blue Valley 24
There will be a packed house for Salina, who is playing in its home-opener, and the Tigers will face a very difficult first road test on Friday. Salina will not hesitate to take it to Blue Valley early, and will look to exploit Blue Valley’s vulnerable pass defense. The Tigers and Cougars will match each other for a while, but the experience, talent and crowd-boosted Cougars will pull away in the second half for victory.