SPIRIT LAKE - One can look at the season statistics for both Spirit Lake and Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley and be impressed by either squad.
But in the head to head matchup in Week 5 are the more telling stats.
In that game, BHRV was ranked No. 1 and Spirit Lake ranked No. 2. After the Indians' loss, they have sat at No. 5 since.
Spirit Lake’s defense will show how much it’s improved as the Indians will try to slow top-ranked Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley in the teams’ quarterfinal meeting tonight in Hull.
EDN photo by David Swartz
After Spirit Lake took a 10-7 lead in that Week 5 game, the Nighthawks scored 18 unanswered points including a 87-yard run by quarterback Brandt Van Roekel right before half.
"We gave up some big plays defensively and also had too many turnovers," said Spirit Lake coach Josh Bolluyt. "Those are the big things we want to correct this time."
BHRV rushed for 256 yards and three touchdowns while holding the Indians to just 45 yards and one score on the ground.
"I feel like our offensive line has better much better and I hope we do a better job of controlling the line of scrimmage," Bolluyt said.
Spirit Lake had the advantage in the air, throwing for 120 yards compared to 50 by the Nighthawks.
However, the Indians threw two interceptions to three by the Nighthawks. Both teams gave up one fumble as Spirit Lake edged BHRV 4-3 in the turnover department.
Neither team has had much trouble through the first two games. The Nighthawks (11-0) opened the postseason with a 42-14 victory over Clarion-Goldfield and then beat Garner-Hayfield/Ventura 45-7 on Monday. Spirit Lake shut out MOC-Floyd Valley 24-0 in the first-round and defeated Sheldon 43-7 on Monday.
Van Roekel gave Spirit Lake defense the most trouble in the team's first meeting, rushing for 151 yards and two touchdowns including the long run right before the end of the first half.
"I feel like we're a much better team than we were five weeks ago," Bolluyt said. "This is a big game with a big-game atmosphere. It should be a lot of fun."