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October 30, 2013

Indians in must-win situation for playoff spot

COMANCHE — Essentially a playoff game, Friday’s tussle between Comanche and Frederick will have a lot of implications.

Two straight shutout losses struck a blow to the Indians’ (3-5, 2-3) playoff bid, but there is still hope. Frederick (4-5, 3-2) rides into the game carrying a three-game win streak, but even that hasn’t assured it postseason football.

With a home crowd backing them and a must-win game against Hobart waiting in the future should the Bombers lose, Comanche coach Steve Justus knows he is going to get all Frederick can muster.

“They’re are going to load up everything they got for this Friday night, and we’re going to have to be prepared for every bit of that,” Justus said.

When he says everything, he means everything.

“If they’ve been working on something tricky all year long, oh, it’s time to pull it out right now,” Justus said. “There’s no need in saving something that you’ve been working on all year long, because there might not be next week.”

In last week’s 45-0 loss to Hobart, it wasn’t deception that beat the Indians. It was just pure power. Coach Justus said the inability to control the offensive and defensive lines due to Hobart’s size advantage meant no chance for anyone to move the ball.

“They were just way bigger than us and way more physical,” Justus said. “It was evident from the first snap, and it did not work out for us at all.”

Without leading rusher and passer, quarterback Hunter Rice, things only got worse. Rice, who hasn’t been 100 percent since injuring his ankle in the game against Washington, has received a large amount of the snaps in practice, and Justus anticipates him being able to play.

Rice gives the team a more dynamic option at quarterback than sophomore Alex Hinshaw, Justus said, but last week’s performance wasn’t his fault.

“It’s not that Alex did a poor job last week by any means,” Justus said. “We just got physically whooped.”

Turning its attention from the last two weeks to this game, the Indians know they have to stop Frederick’s team speed. Last year, the Bombers flew past Comanche 53-0, but with large roster turnover — 19 seniors were lost to graduation — it won’t be the same Frederick team on the field Friday. In 2012, Frederick scored all of its 53 points before halftime. This year, it will be two teams struggling to cement their playoff position, and nothing will be held back.

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