Roosevelt (5-0) vs. Brookings (3-2)
WHEN/WHERE: 5 p.m. Friday at Howard Wood Field
COACHES: Roosevelt – Kim Nelson (seventh year with Riders, 37th overall; 259-122); Brookings – Lee Schmidt (fourth season; 19-17)
SEASON TO DATE: The Rough Riders toasted Rapid City Stevens 40-9 last Friday, which represented the fourth time this season Roosevelt held opponents to less than 10 points. In every one of those games, the Riders have scored 40 or more points. Brookings defeated Huron 54-12 last week on the heels of a thrilling 28-22 over defending ‘11AAA’ champs Lincoln. The Bobcats have won three straight after starting the season 0-2 with losses to Yankton and top-ranked Pierre.
CLASH OF FRONTS: Brookings bullied the Patriots up front a few weeks ago with a big offensive line and bruising runs from Gerald Maxwell. The senior tailback rushed for 225 yards in that contest and added 162 more against Huron. At 5-foot-10, 210 pounds, Maxwell has speed to match power and is the best pure runner the Riders have faced this season. But there will be little guessing as to how the Bobcats plan to move the ball. Brookings runs almost exclusively, while the Riders’ offense is almost perfectly balanced and capable of big-play strikes on the ground and through the air.
WHAT TO EXPECT: Roosevelt’s defense has been as stout as any this season, across classes. The Riders are yet to face an offense as one-dimensional as that from Brookings, but the Bobcats do what they do for a reason. Roosevelt will be without defensive end Piercen Evans, who suffered a scary injury against Stevens last week. Evans left the field in an ambulance after losing feeling in his extremities. Thankfully, Evans regained feeling and avoided any major scares with what was ultimately a bad stinger. Evans is expected to return to action, but not Friday. The Riders’ fast-flowing defense might be tested, but if they tackle well and push the pace with their own offense, they likely come away 6-0.