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While a loss won’t kill the bulldogs playoff aspirations, a win at Ringling on Friday would be monumental for the program.
Empire (6-1, 4-0) saw a lot of positives watching last year’s film of its game against the Blue Devils (5-1, 4-0), but it still lost 42-14. Bulldog coach Tony Roberts stressed the importance of playing four quarters as his team watched a 21-14 late third-quarter defecit turn into that blowout score.
“We went out and proved a lot of things last year,” Roberts said. “We had a fumble that gave them the opportunity to go up by two scores. When we did that, it kind of broke our back.”
Those mistakes could cost Empire big time as it takes on the reigning Class A state champs in a game that will likely decide the district champion. If the Bulldogs can pull off the upset, they would win the district outright with a win next week at Velma-Alma. The Comets (5-2, 3-1) are still in the mix if that happens, but it would be difficult given their 21-0 loss aganist Ringling on Sept. 27.
All implications aside, this win would mean a lot for the Empire players. Junior Dillon Twigg will be the focal point on offense again this week, but Roberts pointed out that it will be his offensive line that needs to step up.
“If we can seal them off and get creases for him to hit, then we’ll have opportunities to move the ball,” Roberts said. “I don’t know if he’ll have those 60 to 70-yard runs like he’s had, but if he can have 10 to 11-yard runs or seven to eight-yard runs... then that’s more in our favor.”