Sacred Heart has already secured its district title and top seed in the playoffs, but the Tigers will have to face an old nemesis before they can turn their attention to the playoffs.
The Tigers will host Dallas First Baptist on Friday, Nov. 8, in a rematch of last year’s playoff game that saw the Saints emerge with the 32-0 win to end the Tigers’ season.
Despite the Saints holding just a 2-7 record on the season, Sacred Heart head coach Dale Schilling quickly reminded his team following its district-title clinching win over Fort Worth Lake Country to not get too comfortable.
“We can’t let our guard down,” Schilling said. “I talked about it Saturday morning in film because we have a bye week in the first round of the playoffs. First Baptist is very, very dangerous. They’re better than their record shows. They’ve got a ton of speed. We have to continue to run the ball and control the clock.”
Schilling said the Saints’ offense is the strength of the team and that the Tigers’ defense would have to be in the right places to deal with their speed.
Hopefully, the Tigers can replicate their performance against Lake Country.
“We just have to make sure we stay in our zones,” Schilling said. “We have to be disciplined in the secondary and get pressure on the quarterback. We fought through adversity and were able to hold on against Lake Country. They showed so much heart and they did what they had to do. They’re playing with a lot of swagger and confidence and I think they’ve done that because they’re prepared and have worked hard.”
With the Tigers getting a bye to open playoffs, the importance of this game is more than just revenge from last season. Keeping their undefeated season is still on the line and the Tigers want to be playing well headed into the playoffs.
“We’re going to get some kids back and that’s big, but First Baptist beat us twice last year,” Schilling said. “It will be somewhat of a revenge factor, but to be honest, we’re more worried about us than them. I’ve got some mind games I can play with the team and I’ll tell them to not let this be a trap game. It’s going to be tough. We could easily be flat, but it’s my job to keep them up. We can’t leave one stone unturned. We can’t let off the gas now.”
The Tigers still want to improve on tackling and finishing plays against First Baptist.
“We have to finish the blocks, carry out the fakes and finishing the runs,” Schilling said. “It’s the little details.”
Patrick Hayslip can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @PatrickHayslip