Two 2-0 teams.
Two teams battling for sectional seeding.
Two teams that split last season.
One that knocked the other out of the playoffs. One that knocked the other out of the conference race.
Yeah, there are a few things on the line when Monticello travels to St. Michael-Albertville to take on the Knights at 7 p.m. tonight.
And while a lot has changed since STMA ended Monticello’s season with a 10-0 knockout in the second round of the section playoffs, there is plenty of carry over too.
The Knights return their top running back Chris Kartes, who is averaging 125 yards per game through the first two weeks, among others. Their offense will likely rely a little less on quarterback runs, after graduating their athletic quarterback from last season, but the Knights still make an effort to mix up the pass and run.
“They’re pretty balanced,” said Magic Coach Jason Telecky. “This will be a good test for us.”
Through two games, wins over Buffalo and St. Francis, the Knights are averaging 24.5 points per game, while giving up just 7.5.
Facing a talented offense and stout defense, Monticello knows they can ill afford to dig themselves another hole as they have the first two weeks of the season.
“That’s been the theme of our practices all week,” said Telecky. “Tempo, tempo, tempo. We’ve got to do something to come out of the gates better.”
With the two teams in different divisions within the conference, the result of tonight’s game won’t affect either conference race. But it could have a huge impact on section seeding. While Rogers looks like a frontrunner for the section’s top seed, seeds two through six could all be up for grabs. With the Magic aiming for a top four seed, Telecky believes the three games against STMA, Buffalo and Rogers will go along way toward determining where the Magic end up.
“My goal every year is to host a home playoff game,” said Telecky. “I really feel like we have to win two out of three section games if we want to host.”
With that on the line, and revenge on their mind after last year’s season finale, the Magic figure to be fired up for tonight’s rivalry game.
“This is one of those games that we marked on our calendar a long time ago,” said Telecky.
The game will be played at the St. Michael-Albertville Middle School West. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.