Spartans not buying into hype
ST. JOSEPH – St. Joseph-Ogden has every right to think it can just show up at 1 p.m. today and walk all over Rockford Christian Life.
The Spartans have been the top-ranked team in Class 3A all season and cruised to a 9-0 record.
They're the No. 1 seed in their playoff bracket and face No. 16 Rockford Christian Life – the last team included in the playoffs.
But SJ-O coach Dick Duval doesn't want to hear any of that.
"Every team in the playoffs is good," Duval said. "We never talk about being a 1 seed. That means nothing. All that means is that we had more points at 9-0 than anyone else in our bracket."
The thing Duval and the Spartans have going for them is they've been here before. They went 9-0 last year en route to a runner-up finish in Class 3A. This is SJ-O's 17th consecutive trip to the postseason, all under Duval.
"We've obviously been there enough to understand if you don't play well you're done," Duval said. "We know that we've got to be ready to play every week, and I think the northern bracket is going to be a pretty tough one to get out of."
If it was tough before, if got tougher for the Spartans this week when senior Blaize Cumbow broke his ankle in practice. Cumbow's four interceptions is tops on the team. He's also the team's second-leading receiver and has converted on 39 extra-point tries for the Spartans.
"We've got some adjustments to make as far as that goes," Duval said. "We're just going by committee right now."