SPRINGHILL – A familiar face stands in front of the North Webster Knights’ path to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The Amite Warriors (6-5) have knocked the Knights out of the Class 3A playoffs two consecutive seasons, but both of those games were played at Amite.
This year, the Warriors will make the long trip, while the Knights lick their chops in anticipation of redemption.
“We’re excited about the opportunity to play them,” North Webster coach John Ware said.
“The fans know the significance of it, as do the players. It’s been a good week of preparation and our kids know what’s expected of them.”
The Knights were forced indoors for their Monday and Tuesday practices, but got to practice outdoors on turf at Southern Arkansas University on Wednesday.
According to Ware, his team looks sharp ahead of the biggest game of their season.
“The kids handled the weather well,” Ware said. “It’s been a good week.”
Amite went on to play in the state championship last year after knocking out North Webster in the semi-finals. Many of the same players will take the field this year, and Ware said the Warriors will be a tough out as usual.
“They have a new coach this year, so they look a little different,” Ware said. “They have tradition though. They’ve been to the Dome several times, a lot of those kids have played in a state championship, so they expect to win.”
In the previous two matchups with Amite, North Webster has been sharp defensively, but offense has been hard to come by. The Knights will have to find some offensive consistency if they expect a different result than in years past.
“That’s the one thing we haven’t done in two years against them,” Ware said. “We’ve played pretty good defense, but just couldn’t move the football. We’re probably going to have to play well in the passing game again. You have to pick your spots to go for big plays. They’re big up front and have good athletes on the field, so when you get a chance to make a play, you have to make it.”
Big plays are something Amite knows well.
“They throw balls up in the air and let their big receivers go make plays,” Ware said. “If we can limit those plays we have a great shot.”
A win over the Warriors would certainly give North Webster all the confidence they would need for a run to the Dome.
“We have the opportunity to play these guys at home,” Ware said. “To get past this team and make it to Thanksgiving weekend is very important to us.”
The Knights and Warriors will kickoff at 7 p.m. in Springhill.