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Straughn ready to play Luverne

Fresh off a 28-21 win over No. 1 T.R. Miller last Friday night, Straughn will be vying for the top seed in the Class 3A, Region 1 race as it hosts Luverne tonight.

Last week, the Tigers won with a late touchdown when junior quarterback Josh Dewrell, scored from 8 yards with 1:42 left in the game. Dewrell also rushed for three touchdowns in the win.

Straughn coach Trent Taylor said he is fully aware of the caliber of tonight’s opponent.

“Luverne has a lot of talent everywhere you look,” Taylor said. “They probably have four receivers as good we’ve seen around here in a long time. Their tailback runs real hard. He had about a 55- to 60-yard touchdown against Miller two weeks ago.

“Their quarterback is best known for his play on the baseball field,” he said. “He has a great arm and he’ll play college baseball a year from now. He’s very, very accurate, and along with that, he’s a heck of an athlete.”

Taylor is referring to Luverne quarterback Monterio Ray and tailback Ryan McGhee. Ray connected with McGhee for an 80-yard touchdown pass last week in their team’s 31-21 loss to Bayside Academy. In addition, McGhee had a 58-yard touchdown run.

In that game, Luverne managed 274 yards of total offense while giving up 372 yards to Bayside Academy.

Luverne coach Les Sanders said his team has a big and hard game ahead of them.

“Obviously we have a big task on our hands,” Sanders said. “Last week, we didn’t prepare very well during the week. We didn’t coach very well and we didn’t play very well. So, we’re trying to get those things corrected.”

Sanders said his team has been focused on “intensity” at practice this week.

“The first thing is that we’re going to have to play hard against Straughn,” Sanders said. “Obviously Straughn is big and physical, so if we don’t play physical and with intensity, then we’re not going to have a very good feeling when the game is over.

“We know that Straughn is a well-coached team,” he said. “Coach Taylor and his staff do a great job. We’ll have our hands full to say the least.”

Taylor said his team has done a good job of mentally putting the Miller win behind them, in order to refocus on an equally formidable opponent tonight.

“Our kids know what’s at stake,” Taylor said. “They’ve done a good job of staying focused this week at practice. We told them last Friday night to celebrate the win that night and all day on Saturday. But then, come Sunday, let’s get ready for the next one.”

In 2008, Straughn was 7-1 leading into the Luverne game. Taylor said his team knows they will have to be physical in order to defeat Luverne tonight..

“Last year, we were playing for the No. 2 seed,” Taylor said. “Of course, Luverne won that game and finished second in the region. The Luverne team does a good job and are always going to be well coached and well prepared. You’ve got to get ready for a physical game and to face a great many athletes.”

Kickoff at Straughn’s stadium is at 7 p.m.