SHERIDAN — Big Horn and Tongue River high schools will share the football field Friday night, and both teams will have a McCafferty wearing No. 12 quarterbacking the offenses.
This is about the only similarity between the two schools that are in the same district.
Offensively, the Eagles run an old-school, “try and stop us if you can” offense, Tongue River head coach Steve Hanson said. The Eagles triple option offense is all about ball control and winning the time of possession.
Under center for the Eagles is senior Braden McCafferty. He said he needs to make the right decisions on offense in the option game and expects to carry the ball more than the average quarterback.
McCafferty said he does not feel like his quarterback position is different or more important than another position on the field. He is a football player.
The Eagles have playmakers and have the ability to create a big play, McCafferty continued, but they do not have a flashy offense.
The Rams like to spread the ball out, opening up big plays for their athletic players, Big Horn head coach Kirk McLaughlin said. The Rams run a balanced offense, using the run and the pass to move the ball down the field.
Operating as quarterback for the high scoring offense is Quinn McCafferty, who is in charge of making the correct read on whether to hand the ball off or pass it. He said there is always added energy to the week and the Rams need to take care of business, not overlooking any team. He said the goal is to take everything week by week.
Hanson said the Eagles defense will try to do something another team for this season has been unable to do: slow down the Big Horn offense. The goal will be for the Eagles defense to prevent the big play hitting Rams runners Will Pelissier and Carson Bates early and often while containing Quinn McCafferty and the passing game. Win, lose or draw, Hanson wants to make sure the Rams earn every yard they gain.
Braden McCafferty said the offense needs to take care of the ball and have long drives, grinding down the Rams defense.
McLaughlin said the Eagles offense can grind down a defense and requires the Rams to remain disciplined. He thinks the Eagles have the size advantage and looks to use the Rams’ speed advantage against the Eagles.
Tongue River needs to avoid a shoot out. Hanson and McLaughlin are both track coaches at their respective schools and Big Horn usually has the advantage on the track, Hanson said.
The Rams enter the game on a winning streak that dates back to the start of last season while early season victories for the Eagles have not lasted. In the past two weeks, the Eagles have lost close games that were both winnable, Hanson said.
Big Horn looks to maintain the No. 1 seed for the playoffs and Tongue River does not see a playoff berth in the near future. Hansen said this provides an advantage for the Eagles. All the pressure is on Big Horn and the Eagles have nothing to lose.
McLaughlin said he expects Tongue River to throw everything they have at Big Horn. He knows the Eagles are always excited for the game and will play their best football; the Rams need to respond with their best football as well.
Hanson and McLaughlin said the game provides the coaches and players bragging rights for the next year during any interaction within the district.
Hanson said a win over Big Horn can help change the way a season is viewed, even if it is the only win of the season.
McLaughlin said every week the coaches exchange information about the opponents each team will face. This week no information has been exchanged between the coaches.
Big Horn hosts the game this year and kickoff is at 6 p.m.