Roles reversed in playoff matchup
The teams are the same, but the location has changed — WACO hopes that will work to its advantage.
After losing its first-round playoff games at Lynnville-Sully the last two years, WACO finally has a chance to host the Hawks this season.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday in Wayland.
“We’re pretty excited about the fact that they’re at our place,” said WACO head coach Chad Edeker.
Two years ago, WACO was a No. 3 seed and played at No. 2 Lynnville-Sully; last year, WACO was a No. 4 seed and played there again.
“Some of our coaches aren’t too excited about seeing them for the third time, but I look forward to a challenge — they’ve beaten us twice, and now we want to beat them,” Edeker said. “Our kids are excited to be playing.”
Last year, WACO scrapped its whole system and went to Lynnville-Sully with a new playbook — which they had just three days to learn as a team.
This year, Edeker said, there aren’t going to be any surprises.
“We’ve got nothing planned like that,” he said. “Both teams are 5-4 this year, and both teams are pretty predictable. We really mirror each other a lot. They know where we’ll run the ball, and we know where they’ll run the ball. It’s just a matter of who executes better.”
Both teams like to run to the strong side of their formation, and Edeker knows exactly who will be running it for the Hawks — he’s seen them the last two years.
Lynnville-Sully senior Caden Doll and senior Bailee Samson are each three-year starters, and they’ve both had two years of experience playing against WACO in the postseason.
“We’re going to get runs from both of them; they’re the two kids they’re going to feature,” Edeker said.
Doll has a team-high 963 rushing yards this year on 130 tries. He’s scored 12 touchdowns.
Samson has 533 yards on 89 attempts and has scored six times.
Who will play at quarterback for Lynnville-Sully is uncertain. Senior Brandon Dunsbergen had the role through the first four games of the season, but after four losses, sophomore Sage Ehresman took over and the Hawks finished the season with five straight wins.
However, Ehresman suffered an injury in the Hawks’ ninth game, and has a shortened time to recover before the playoffs start tomorrow night.
But no matter who takes the snap, WACO will react the same.
“It doesn’t matter to us who it is, because our game plan won’t change,” Edeker said.
The winner of Wednesday night’s game will play the winner of the game between Class A District 6 No. 1 BGM (9-0) and District 5 No. 4 Van Buren (5-4).
But for now, the Warriors are focused on preparing for their first-round game, and so far, that preparation has been going pretty well.
“The weather’s been great and we’ve had some great practices,” Edeker said. ‘We’ve had a good turnout, and the kids are in good spirits.”