PREP FB PREVIEW: Luverne, JCC set to play in battle of state-ranked teams

LUVERNE -- There's a little sense of d?j? vu for Luverne head coach Todd Oye. He is just hoping for a different outcome. A year ago, his Cardinal football team was 2-0 heading into Week 3. They were playing a tough Jackson County Central team, wh...

LUVERNE -- There's a little sense of déjà vu for Luverne head coach Todd Oye.

He is just hoping for a different outcome.

A year ago, his Cardinal football team was 2-0 heading into Week 3. They were playing a tough Jackson County Central team, which also sported an undefeated record.

That night, the Huskies came away with a 20-7 home victory.

Tonight, the same two teams battle in what is billed as one of the top games in the state.


"It's a lot like last year, coming in the third game of the season," Oye said. "Both teams are 2-0. Unfortunately we lost at their place last year. Obviously, conference is one thing, but more importantly section playoff points are in line."

Luverne hasn't had the opportunity to play at home yet, but tonight's home opener provides a key game in the conference, section and state.

Both teams are 2-0 and rated in the top 10 in Class AA, with Luverne at No. 3 and JCC at No. 9.

The Cardinals defeated Martin County West in their opener, 42-12. Last week, the Cardinals downed Redwood Valley, 41-6.

JCC, meanwhile, rallied for a 26-12 win at New Ulm before a convincing 51-21 win against Worthington last week, meaning the teams have combined to outscore their opponents 160-51.

"There's no doubt what they want to do," Oye said. "They want to physically dominate the line of scrimmage. They want to control the tempo of the game."

A year ago, a strong, physical JCC defense held the Cardinals to 140 yards of total offense.

"That's one thing we focused on this offseason," Oye said. "We felt that they were a lot stronger than us last year. That was one of our goals to improve on as a team this year on our strength. We need to improve on both sides of the ball and meet what they have."


Luverne exacted a bit of revenge late in the season, however. Playing in the Section 3AA finals, the Cardinals scored in the final seconds to advance to state and end JCC's season.

"Last year, they were a physically very strong team," Oye said. "They graduated some pretty good players, but they are still a solid team with a lot of strength and playmakers. We'll have to play well, execute, minimize our mistakes and hopefully score one more point than them."

In other Southwest Conference games, Worthington (0-2, 0-1) hosts Pipestone Area (0-2, 0-1) in the Trojans' Homecoming game.

Windom (2-0, 1-0) travels to New Ulm (1-1) in a non-conference game on Saturday.

In Little Sioux action, Adrian (2-0) looks to build off last week's victory when Ortonville (0-2) comes to town.

Tracy-Milroy-Balaton (2-0) hopes to keep its record untarnished when the Panthers visit Canby (2-0) in a key conference clash.

Murray County Central (0-2) searches for its first victory against rival Fulda (1-1) in other Little Sioux action.

In the Southern Confederacy, fourth-ranked Edgerton/Ellsworth (2-0) travels to Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton. So far this season, the Flying Dutchmen have scored 60 and 62 points in their two victories.


Hills-Beaver Creek (2-0) will attempt to stay undefeated at winless Cleveland (0-2).

Westbrook-Walnut Grove (1-1) recovered after a season-opening loss with a 36-8 win against Alden-Conger. The Chargers will try for a two-game winning streak at Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Martin Luther in a Southern Confederacy contest.

Mountain Lake/Butterfield-Odin (1-1) visits Southwestern United (0-2) to highlight area Southern Minnesota games.

Red Rock Central (1-1) faces ninth-ranked Wabasso (2-0).

In Iowa games, Estherville Lincoln Central (1-2, 0-1) travels to Central Lyon/George-Little Rock (2-1, 1-0) in a Class 2A, District 1 game.

Sheldon (3-0, 1-0) looks to stay undefeated in district play when Spirit Lake (2-1, 0-1) visits.

In Class 1A, Sibley-Ocheyedan (2-1, 0-1) travels to Sioux Central (1-2, 0-1) in a District 2 game.

Harris-Lake Park (1-2, 0-1) hosts Corwith-Wesley-Luverne (1-2, 0-1) in an 8-player, District 2 game.

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