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Waubonsie Valley looking to secure home playoff game

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Updated: November 20, 2012 11:06AM

On its surface, Friday’s Battle of Eola Road doesn’t appear to have much riding on it when Metea Valley travels south to play neighboring District 204 rival Waubonsie Valley in their regular season finale.

The visiting Mustangs (2-6, 1-5) are playing out the string. Waubonsie Valley (7-1, 4-1), though, is jockeying for playoff position.

“For us, it’s a big game,” Warriors coach Paul Murphy said. “If we go 8-1, we’re probably guaranteed a home game in the playoffs. If we finish 7-2, it’s a crapshoot.

“I want us to have a home game, and I’m sure their coach is saying, ‘This is a playoff game for us to see where we stand.’”

Waubonsie also needs to win to keep its slim UEC Valley title hopes alive. The Warriors could grab a share of the crown if Bartlett were able to upset Neuqua Valley. First-year Metea Valley coach Ben Kleinhans, previously an assistant at Neuqua Valley, is well aware of the challenge that awaits his club.

“(Waubonsie Valley) is athletic and fast where they need to be and big and physical where they need to be,” he said. “Their running game is their bread and butter with (RB Austin) Guido and (QB Dylan) Warden. They’re very good and very talented and the offensive line is very good.”

Guido recently became his school’s career rushing leader and has run for 1,600 yards and 23 TDs this season. If teams key too much on him, Warden can burn them on an option keeper or a play-action pass to the likes of Wisconsin-bound tight end Troy Fumagalli.

Murphy is concerned with never-say-die Metea, which is led by junior QB Blaise Bell (1,515 yards passing) and RB Cameron Wilcox (1,105 yards rushing) and coming off a 61-48 loss to Geneva.

“Bell threw for over 300 yards and has gained a lot of confidence,” said Murphy.

Kleinhans expects his team to battle, like it has all season.

“Our motto the whole year was we’re never out of the fight,” he said. “We’ve played for four quarters. Even though we’ve been down early in some games we’ve fought back. Even the ones where we were overmatched, we kept playing.”

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