The Valley Football Association coaches from top to bottom have a common theme when discussing each week's opponent.
There are no easy weeks in this conference.
Now that the non-conference games are done, it get serious this week and it doesn't get anymore serious than for the D.C. Everest Evergreens. Everest is coming off its come-from-behind 17-14 win over Wisconsin Rapids, which saw the Evergreens stop Rapids deep in Everest's territory, then take the ball the length of the field for the winning score with less than a minute to go.
Everest entertains powerhouse Appleton North at 7 p.m. Friday night at Stiehm Stadium. The Lightning have won 17 straight regular season games and don't seem to be slowing down with 37-12 and 27-16 victories this season. To stay close Everest will need to bring its offense ready to put points on the board, in addition to a defense that can make some stops.
Quarterback Nick Sierakowski, who sustained a sprained ankle in the opener, said last Friday he hoped to be ready for the Appleton North game. The latest report is the senior QB is doubtful for the game, but backup Michael Nicklaus ran the offense calmly and efficiently in the victory over Rapids.
In last week's game, Wyatt Brown, who finished with 155 yards on 25 carries, ran in from 2 yards out with less than 30 seconds to play provide the margin of victory over Rapids.
Everest coach Luke Coenen, however, had high praise for the work of his scout team the week leading up to the game.
"Our Scout Team made a big difference tonight,'' Coenen said. "They worked hard and had a profound effect on the game.''
No one had a bigger impact than running back Nathan Reedy. Reedy, a member of the scout team, was rushed into action when Brown had to come out of the game for a play after suffering a minor injury. All Reedy did was take a handoff on his first place and race 64 yards to the end zone to put Everest in front. Even though the Evergreens fell behind again, that TD loomed large as Everest rallied for the win.
Look for more on other key matchups, at all levels, in Friday's blog.