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PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW: E/E, H-BC set for battle in matchup of top 10 teams

EDGERTON -- A year ago, only two teams beat Hills-Beaver Creek.

This year, the Patriot football team has already exacted revenge on one of those teams.

They will get a chance at the other tonight.

H-BC is fresh off a 40-14 victory against then-ranked No. 2 Nicollet, one team to beat H-BC last year. Tonight, the Patriots are up against No. 1 ranked Edgerton/Ellsworth -- who beat them twice last year.

"Playing Edgerton, it's been a good rival of ours for I don't know how many years," H-BC coach Rex Metzger said. "Coming off this game, I think our guys are looking forward to play Edgerton again. They've kind of had our number here for the last few years. They're a well-balanced team. I think we'll be up for the challenge. I think coming off this win against Nicollet, hopefully they prepared us for another game like this against Edgerton.

"Last year, Nicollet and Edgerton were the two teams that beat us and it was a chance for us to try to make a statement and get a little confidence going into the game against Edgerton."

Both teams are 5-0 coming into tonight's game in Edgerton. The Dutchmen are the top-ranked team in the state, while the Patriots are No. 4 in the latest 9-man polls.

"For us, the next game is always the biggest game and this is the next game," E/E head coach Andrew Fleischman said. "We're really excited about it. We're excited about playing Hills, they are a rival of ours and we do understand there is a lot on the line."

More than likely, the Southern Confederacy title is on the line, as well as a potential No. 1 seed in the upcoming playoffs.

"There's a good shot that we could meet up with them early, even second round if we can get by our first-round game," Metzger said. "The last couple of years, we always meet up with them in that second-round game. Obviously, you have to win your first game. But how important is it? I just want us to play well and know that we can compete with a team like Edgerton with their capabilities. It's a big game, but would I say lose and go home? It's not one of those situations. We have a long season ahead of us yet. It's a big game, but it doesn't mean everything."

E/E has been an offensive juggernaut so far this season. The Flying Dutchmen have 1,686 yards on the ground and 895 yards in the air. Quarterback Isaac Heard is 40-for-55 passing for 895 yards with 14 touchdowns and no interceptions. Casey Schilling leads E/E with 558 yards receiving.

On the ground, Devin Hulstein has 356 yards on a mere 19 carries (18 yards per carry), while Derek Voge has 312 yards rushing.

"They put up big numbers," Metzger said. "They average 60 points a game and 600 yards of offense. They come at you in so many different ways. They are balanced running and passing. They will sweep on you, they will counter on you, they'll power on you and they'll throw on you. They do so many different things, you have to be disciplined and you have to tackle well. As a defense, you can't sit back on your heels."

Meanwhile, the Patriots average 47.2 points per game and have allowed 6.6 ppg.

Dalton Bass leads the conference with 709 yards rushing on 72 carries, including 14 touchdowns. Taylor Leuthold has added 323 yards on the ground.

Quarterback Jordan Larson has thrown for 614 yards, 11 touchdowns and no interceptions.

"That's what makes them so good," Fleischman said. "They have a good quarterback and they have excellent running backs and they have a good, big line. They have good receivers. We'd be pretty foolish to try to take away everything. We're going to have to take some chances and hopefully put ourselves in some good situations. We have to line up and hope we can make things a little uncomfortable for them. They are very good and we're definitely going to have to play well and tackle well and fly around the football to have a chance."