Demons look to avoid letdownLocal rival Mt. Pleasant seeks 1st win of 2013 campaign
The entertaining and suspenseful thing about football is you are only as good as your latest win.
Washington will now get their opponents’ best effort after taking over first place in District 7 with a win over Williamsburg.
Washington plays at Mt. Pleasant at 7 p.m. Friday.
The Demons sit at 3-0 halfway through district play. The Raiders were the last unbeaten team.
Senior Tanner Knupp knows this game carries extra weight as local rivals and the recent history.
“That is what we have worked on,” Knupp said. “Three years ago Mt. Pleasant came to our house ranked for Homecoming. Washington wasn’t having a good season but came up and beat them.”
The tables have turned, with the Panthers being able to play pressure free with nothing to lose and Washington putting everything on the line.
Mt. Pleasant is in last place in the district, but a win against Washington would be the perfect dose to ease the Panthers’ pain.
“They are just having a tough time right now,” Schrader said. “They haven’t won a game yet, but this could make their whole season. You don’t want to be somebody’s season, that is for sure.”
Washington made its first appearance in the top 10 of the AP polls with a No. 8 ranking.
This hasn’t led Washington to take anything for granted.
“We are preparing for them this week,”Knupp said. “We don’t come in underestimating them. We come in just like we did against Williamsburg. It is just another game. We need to act like they are ranked and go in and take care of business.”
Knupp said the two teams have a long history but it has little relevance to Friday’s game.
“Mt. Pleasant and Washington have been the biggest rivalry for 50, 60, 70, 100 years. I’m going to go out on a limb and say the record between the schools is 0-0.”
Knupp looks past the Panthers’ 0-6 record and knows they could be due for a breakthrough.
“Starting Monday we came in full focused,” Knupp said. “Their record shows a different team than what they really are. They have some athletes. They have potential, they just haven’t come around. We need to make sure they don’t come around on us. We need to start (strong) and take care of business, and come out healthy.”
Washington has been fortunate to not sustain any major injuries this year. It has fielded the same starting lineup in the past three games.
Washington has had a lot of success out of the gate, outscoring opponents 65-3 in the first quarter this season. This could potentially kill off the game early, crushing any confidence Mt. Pleasant could get.
Head coach Randy Schrader believes his team doesn’t need a lot of motivation for this potential letdown game.
“That is what you guard against,” Schrader said. “This is a rivalry that has been around for so long that you wouldn’t hardly believe that these kids would be ready to play.”
Washington has gone on the road three times, so this will not be an unknown for the group.
Senior tailback Carson Remick is the Panthers’ main threat with 249 yards on the ground, a 4.6 average and two scores.
“They are big, they have good size,” Schrader said. “They run well. They have athletes down there.”
Schrader continues to stress the importance of special teams in practice in hopes of any trickery his opponents might try.
“We work on (special teams) every week,” Schrader. “We got to be ready for anything whether it is a fake punt or an onside kick. I would expect them to. They are going to pull out all the stops.”