• 55°

SHS, RLS, ready for ‘Tiger’ fight tonight

Fans eager for another Straughn and Red Level end-of-the-season showdown tonight don’t have to wait long — it’s only hours away.

This is nothing new for the two teams that have shared a rival game at either the beginning or end of the season each year.

In 2007, they both met at the beginning of the season, where Straughn came out with a 14-12 win.

Last season, Straughn also won in Red Level, 46-0.

“We have always liked to play a game 10 like this,” Straughn coach Trent Taylor said. “There were even some years where Straughn and Red Level were in the same area in Class 2A.

“Regardless of when it’s played — this has been a game that has meant a lot to both schools,” he said.

This year, Red Level will have to travel to face Straughn (6-3, 6-1 in Class 3A, Region 1).

“It winds up our season for us and it’s a big game,” Red Level coach Tony Ingram said. “What more can you say about Straughn? They beat T.R. Miller and Luverne — they’re playing lights out.”

Taylor said even though his team has seen recent success, defeating then-No. 1 T.R. Miller and Luverne back to back, there is a “little concern” heading into tonight’s game.

“We’re a little bit concerned because of the excitement we’ve had the last two weeks,” Taylor said. “We’ve got to be real careful that we don’t dwell too much on what has happened in our previous wins, or look too much in the future as to the playoffs. We’ve got to stay focused on this next one.”

As for the environment on the team, Taylor said his players are anxious to close out the season with a win.

“They are very excited about what they’ve accomplished and (the coaches) are just excited for them,” Taylor said. “It’s our job to keep them grounded a little bit. I think the fact that it is a rival game certainly helps the situation a little bit.

“These kids — a lot of them have played ball together,” he said. “They know each other real well. Anytime you have that situation, you have a lot more emotions on the field.”

Ingram said his players have been working on a motto for the week — “finish strong.”

“Our guys have been busy this week to finish strong,” Ingram said. “We’re going to go over there and roll them out and finish this thing as strong as we can. We know we have our work cut out for us.

“Straughn is playing really good right now,” he said. “Trent has always done a great job, but there is nobody giving up on our team. Everybody has had a good week.”

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