Fresh off a 44-14 thrashing of North St. Paul on October 5, the South St. Paul Packers football team will bring their unblemished record to Boche Memorial Field in Inver Grove Heights this Friday night against our Spartans (2-3 conference, 3-3 overall).
The Packers, ranked second in the state by the Associated Press, sit atop the Classic Suburban Conference with a perfect 5-0 record. They feature a powerful running attack able to rack up 400+ yards per game, and their stingy defense is giving up just 8.7 ppg. This is one tough, well-coached team.
On paper, the Packers ought to overpower our Spartans this Friday night.
Fortunately, football games are played on the field and not on paper.
Here’s why Simley will win on Friday.
Let’s first talk about the Packers. In spite of their strengths, they have several things working against them. Most concerning for SSP Coach Chad Sexauer has to be getting his players and coaches to focus on the Spartans, and not on their next game against once-beaten St. Thomas Academy, which will likely be for the conference championship. Exacerbating this concern is that the St. Thomas game is scheduled for just five days later, on Wednesday, October 17.
The Packers also have a history this season of struggling some against teams with weaker records, only beating Sibley 13-3 and Tartan 24-14.
For Simley, it is Senior Night, it is a home game, the fans are fired up, and the game is against archrival South St. Paul. The Spartan running game, led by seniors Nick Wanzek and Jake Short, is starting to click, and they throw just often enough to keep opponents off balance. The defense hits like a truck, and head coach Rex King gets his players to believe they can bust through a brick wall. This game has all the makings of an upset win for Simley on Friday.
The key question is, with a number of the Spartan standouts playing both ways, can they last the whole game? I think they can. We’ll find out Friday night.
Prediction: Spartans 14, Packers 12