Madison (5-0) vs. Sioux Falls Christian (5-0)
WHEN/WHERE: 7 p.m. Friday in Madison
COACHES: Madison – Max Hodgen (sixth year with Bulldogs; 52-30); Sioux Falls Christian – Jake Pettengill (fourth year; 13-17)
SEASON TO DATE: At a combined 10-0, the Bulldogs and Chargers haven’t had much in the way of close games. That tends to be the case when you score a lot while keeping the other team out of the end zone. Madison has averaged nearly 44 points a game while allowing less than 13, and their 28-7 win over West Central remains their closest contest this season in terms of margin of victory. Last week the Bulldogs routed Vermillion 48-16. Sioux Falls has held opponents scoreless twice, including last week’s 43-0 win over Flandreau. On the season the Chargers have allowed 34 points. They’ve scored 36 or more points in four of five games.
CONTRASTING STYLES: SFC plays a punishing style that’s predicated on running and stopping the run. Keegan Van Egdom has already topped the century mark (121 carries for 1,054 yards and 11 TDs) and is averaging 8.7 yards a tote. Madison has an impressive ground game itself, with Brodie Frederiksen (80 carries, 555 yards, 12 TDs) coming off a season-best 168-yard, five-touchdown output against Vermillion. At quarterback, 13 of Mitch Hansen’s 45 completions have gone for scores. He’s thrown for 938 yards with just one interception, while adding 374 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Mason Leighton has six TD catches on the season. The Chargers will run it; the Bulldogs are more versatile.
WHAT TO EXPECT: Three of Madison’s opponents – Dell Rapids, Dakota Valley and Vermillion – are a combined 2-13, but the Bulldogs won impressively over No. 3 West Central and No. 5 Lennox. Sioux Falls Christian, by contrast, has yet to square off against an ‘11A’ opponent. The Chargers’ step up in competition Friday shouldn’t be overlooked. Madison is the best team they’ve faced by a longshot and then some. Can the Charger ground attack muddy up this postseason prelude? Possibly, but not probably.