Even prior to starting his first year as head coach at Erie, Chad Cooper pointed out two big games on the schedule as 'target games' — contests that they would be sure to play up whether they were in playoff position or not.
Well, Week 9 has Erie right in the mix for the postseason at 5-3, and after coming up short against Holy Family in what was the first of those target games a couple weeks ago, the Tigers will travel to Mead tonight to take on the 5-3 Mavericks.
Both teams have winnable games in Week 10 — Erie will face Frederick and Mead takes on Berthoud — and considering where they both rank in the RPI, this week's contest has a lot riding on the outcome.
Here's a quick glimpse into the 7 p.m. game:
Erie (5-3, 1-2) at Mead (5-3, 2-1), 7 p.m.
Factoring in a balmy October temperatures and two teams that get it done offensively (and not so much defensively), this has the makings of a fireworks display tonight. Mead and Erie are two of the top 13 scoring offenses in 3A while sitting in the bottom half among scoring defenses. I can see both teams reaching 40 points rather easily.
Erie is reeling having lost three of four games coming in, including last week's 31-28 heartbreaker to Roosevelt. Even in back-to-back losses the Tigers have had at least 330 yards of offense, and against the RoughRiders got back to being a balanced offense (238 passing, 145 rushing), though only six kids touched the football. The Tigers have to keep feeding Noah Roper and Quintin Hyrup, but varying looks and getting the push up front will be crucial for EHS — who sits 13th in the RPI with two weeks remaining.
Mead's playoff hopes seem secure as it sits 10th in RPI, but the Mavericks sure could use a win after losing to Holy Family by a single score (43-35). Mead ran 89 plays in the game (whoa!) and the phenomenal Nathan Mackey tallied 297 total yards and three TD's, but 527 total yards wasn't enough to unseat Stone Samaras and Co. at Mike G. Gabriel Stadium. I get the feeling 500-plus yards will mean good things for the home team this week, so it's up to Erie's defensive group to keep disciplined against the no-huddle madness that is MHS football.
I'll do my best to keep up on Twitter tonight!