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BALL FIVE: Football Friday nights getting interesting

It’s getting to that point where there are some pretty interesting matchups coming every Friday night in high school football. There are games pitting ranked teams against each other. There are games with postseason implications. There are games where one team is going home no longer having a zero in the loss column.
Of course, the most intriguing game in our neck of the woods is taking place right here at Tiger Stadium when the Groton Area Tigers try to invade our space. At 3-2, Groton Area is the top seed in Region 1B. The Tigers are third with 3-1 McLaughlin in second. The game is big for a number of reasons. The winner will take command of the top spots in the region, but also, the Black and Orange Tigers simply need to beat the Black and Gold Tigers and exorcise that demon just as they did with the Roncalli demon two weeks ago. Groton has beaten the Tigers 13 straight times. Friday seems like the perfect night to put an end to that. It would also be nice to have that “Eye of the Tiger” trophy shining in the halls of MHPS where it truly belongs.
A win would also give the Tigers a 3-2 record with three winnable games left. After Friday, the Tigers travel to Cheyenne-Eagle Butte, come home for Sisseton and end the regular season in McLaughlin. The Tigers haven’t hosted a home playoff game since the Dome team in 2010. It’s never too soon to host another one.
The other big game in 11B is third-ranked, 5-0 Mt. Vernon/Plankinton at fifth-ranked 3-1 Winner. Next week number one Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan is at number two Canton, but that’s next week.
There are several interesting games around the state on the 9-man front, starting with the undefeated North Border Titans (or Eureka/Bowdle as a TV station I won’t chastise by name still has them listed even though they are in their second year as North Border) host the 4-1 Faulkton Area Trojans. Both teams are on the also receiving votes (ARV) list, North Border in 9AA and Faulkton Area in 9B. Both teams are fighting for the right to host a playoff game. The Titans trail Wolsey-Wessington and Webster Area in 9AA Region 1, while the Trojans trail Sully Buttes in 9B Region 1.
Here are the other games of extreme interest in 9-man football. Most of them involve 9AA teams. The best matchup is top-ranked 4-0 Gregory at third-ranked 4-1 Bon Homme. Fourth-ranked 4-0 Baltic is hosting ARV 4-0 Garretson and fifth-ranked 4-1 Irene-Wakonda is hosting Canistota/Freeman, 5-0 and ranked third in 9A.
Speaking of 9A, how about this matchup? Number one 4-0 Britton-Hecla is hosting number two 5-0 Clark/Willow Lake. Not only is this a 1-2 in the rankings game, these two teams are both in 9A Region 1. Also in the region is fourth-ranked 4-1 Warner.
Class 9A’s fifth-ranked 4-0 Alcester-Hudson Cubs present the only problem for the best of the 9B teams this week. Alcester-Hudson is playing at Colome on Friday. Colome is 4-0 and ranked third in Class 9B.
And those are the most important things happening on Friday in South Dakota this week, that is until next Friday when a whole bunch of games will mean a lot more.