TEA AREA (5-2) vs. MADISON (7-0)
WHEN/WHERE: 7 p.m. Friday at Tea
COACHES: Tea Area — Craig Clayberg (seventh season; 30-26); Madison — Max Hodgen (sixth year with Bulldogs; 54-30)
SEASON TO DATE: Tea Area’s only losses have come against Lennox (5-2) and fourth-ranked West Central. Getting the Trojans and Bulldogs back-to-back is no easy task, but these are the types of matchups that may benefit Tea when the postseason gets here. Right now the Titans aren’t a lock for the playoffs and sit in the eighth and final spot in seed points. They face Canton on the road to close the season. Those same C-Hawks gave Madison trouble last week for three quarters before the Bulldogs got going and ripped off 34 points in the final stanza. The Bulldogs also trailed the week before against third-ranked Sioux Falls Christian but found a way to win that one in overtime, 32-26.
BALANCED ATTACKS: Both the Bulldogs and Titans possess the ability to run and pass, while many of their ‘11A’ counterparts trend one-sided on offense. Few teams in the state do it as well as Madison. With quarterback Mitch Hansen as a dual threat, split end Mason Leighton a receiving threat, and rusher Brodie Frederiksen a bulldozing threat, the Bulldogs have a lot of ways to beat you. Tea Area will lean on the play of quarterback Payton Conrad and receiver Adam Heien.
WHAT TO EXPECT: The Titans may have felt rightfully snubbed from the rankings after starting the season 5-1, but they’ll remain on the outside looking in with tough late-season games against some of the best teams ‘11A’ has to offer. A win over Madison would not only move them up in seed points but act as a big shot in the arm with the playoffs around the corner. Madison has scored 40 or more points in five of seven games. The Bulldogs are the most complete offense Tea will have faced, and the final score likely reflects that when it’s done.