And now, there is no time to think any further about it.
The South Central football team had the ball four times inside the Western Reserve 10-yard line in last week’s Firelands Conference game in Greenwich. The Trojans only scored once in those four trips, and gave up a blocked punt for a touchdown in a 21-7 loss to the Roughriders.
Now, the Trojans (4-2, 2-1) need a win to not only stay alive in the FC, but also in the state playoff picture. And that certainly won’t be easy with a trip to Norwalk at 7 p.m. Saturday to face state-ranked St. Paul (6-0, 3-0) at Whitney Field.
The Flyers are ranked No. 4 in the latest Division VII Associated Press state poll, have won 49 straight FC games — and have beaten the Trojans 29 straight times dating back to 1991.
“You can’t be upset or fret about it for too long,” South Central coach Corey Fickiesen said of last week’s loss. “We have to turn around and get ready for a huge task. The kids have adjusted well. We had a couple good practices so far, and we get the extra day this week with playing on Saturday. Hopefully we get some of those little things fixed that hurt us. We’ll prepare the best we can and play as hard as we can.”
South Central limited the Western Reserve offense and standout running back Cody Benesh to 14 points. But it was a difficult task getting into the end zone on offense.
“We just weren’t able to capitalize on offense,” Fickiesen said. “Credit to Western and Coach (Ty) Stevenson for taking some things away from our offense. We just have to be better and more efficient in the red zone, the run game, and all the areas where we didn’t make plays.”
On the other side, longtime St. Paul coach John Livengood knows he’s facing a team more than capable of putting four quarters together on Saturday.
“They are a very good team with a lot of talented athletes, very well-coached,” Livengood said. “You can start with Evan Legg at quarterback, who does a nice job of distributing the ball all around him. I know there is a lot of hype around (David) Lamoreaux — and he deserves it — he is one of the best athletes in the league. A tough matchup, and he runs like a deer. But they have other good receivers as well, and Legg is able to find them. They do a nice job there.”
Legg is 74-of-144 passing for 1,188 yards and 14 TDs in six games. Lamoreaux has caught 25 passes for 543 yards and 10 TDs, while Timmy Jayes has 22 catches for 268 yards and a TD, and Jackson McCormack adds 16 catches for 213 yards and 2 TDs.
Livengood noted he was impressed with the Trojans on defense, as they play a very aggressive style.
“Their linebackers and safeties play downhill, and they do a nice job attacking the run,” he said. “It’s a good team all the way around.”
The Flyers are coming off a 52-6 victory at winless Mapleton. St. Paul jumped on the Mounties early and never let up.
“I think we’re becoming more balanced offensively in two ways,” Livengood said. “Our passing game made more strides and Myron (Stoll) did a great job running the ball as well. We’ve got the running backs with (Cam) Caizzo, (Justin) Butler and (Ethan) Blair, but now you add Myron to that ... we’ve made great strides there.
“Defensively we played well all game other than a drive that we made a couple mistakes on with a fake punt — and we took a bad angle on a pass play,” he added. “Mapleton took advantage of that and were able to punch one in on us.
The challenge of being the first FC team in seven years to beat St. Paul isn’t lost on Fickiesen.
“It’s my sixth year here, and they’ve never lost a league game in that time because of the consistency that Coach Livengood gets out of his kids every single week,” he said. “He gets them to play so physical and fast, regardless of size or who is on the field. No matter who is out there, they are coming at you. They are the standard in the Firelands Conference, and it’s been earned.
“You have to try and match their physicality and intensity on both sides of the ball,” he added. “They play at that consistent level all four quarters. You might be able to do it for a quarter or two, but if it’s not for four quarters, chances are you won’t beat them. It’s a mindset you have to continue to bring to this game.”
St. Paul enters the game outscoring six opponents by a 227-20 margin (37.8-3.3 average). The Flyers average 326.8 yards of offense per game while limiting opponents to just 105.3 yards per contest.
Caizzo has 670 yards and eight touchdowns on 102 attempts (6.6 average), while Butler adds 439 yards and 9 TDs on 58 attempts (7.6 average).
Stoll has 197 yards and 4 TDs on 35 attempts, and Ethan Blair adds 154 yards and 2 TDs on 37 rushes. Stoll is 19-of-32 passing for 291 yards and 4 TDs and one interception.
Steven Deleon has six catches for 65 yards, while Lars Livengood has five catches for 42 yards — three which have gone for TDs.
Defensively, Will Stieber has 54 tackles (7 for loss) with two sacks, three fumble recoveries and an interception. Butler adds 46 tackles and two sacks, while Ben Meyer has 28 tackles and five sacks, and Livengood has 4 INTs.
“Some of those younger, newer kids who are stepping into those positions are doing well,” Livengood said. “I thought Ryan Hedrick had a nice game at center and played good defense. Zach Pocos saw some time on the offensive line as well and did a nice job.
“We made some good strides there and are hoping to get a little healthier this week and continue to make improvement,” he added. “But we’re going to have to play a really good game against a very good South Central team.”