After looking like a professional football team against Monrovia last Friday, pounding the Bulldogs, 56-6, the North Putnam football squad look to take its talent to the RCA Dome Saturday at 11 a.m.
Although they are riding high on the momentum from last week, defending West Central Conference Champions Speedway lie ahead. North Putnam coach Dave Pasch knows they will be a challenge.
"Year in and year out, they're a solid football team that's fundamentally sound," Pasch said. "They always manage to come out with some good athletes."
Speedway is second in the WCC in total offense averaging 397.9 yards and 40.1 points per game. The Sparkplugs feature the second leading passer in the WCC and the top rusher. Running back Kevin Ford is averaging 158.9 yards rushing per contest and has 12 touchdowns on the season.
"He's a guy that any play can take it the distance on you," Pasch said.
North Putnam is ranked third in both total offense and defense in the WCC. The Cougars are averaging 351.6 yards per game, while allowing an average of 251.8 yards per game. Quarterback Brayden Dahlstrom is fourth in the WCC in passing, averaging 150.6 yards per game, while running back Adam Vondersaar ran for 146 yards last week.
Pasch hopes to see more of the same production from both this week.
"The thing that we've got to do offensively is be balanced," he said. "The passing game really gives you a vertical threat and we've established an inside running game."
The Cougars are now 4-3 on the season, while Speedway is boasting a 6-1 overall record. The Sparkplugs only loss came to Cascade and they are coming off a 31-28 victory over South Putnam. Pasch said the Sparkplugs don't make many mistakes so the Cougars will have to do things right.
"We've got to be a very fundamental football team," he said. "We're going to have to block and tackle well."
Since the Cougars started playing Speedway in 1999, North Putnam has lost every game. The Cougars closest game came in 2002 when they lost, 31-13. Despite the excitement and hysteria surrounding the trip to the RCA Dome, Pasch said that they have to bear down and focus like it's just another game.
"We think it's a great experience, but our goal is to make it more than that," he said. "In reality, it has to be just another game for us. There's bigger bleachers and a roof over our heads, but when we kick, it off it's just going to opponent."
Pasch can only hope they are able to get beyond the excitement and play like the professionals they look liked last week. With an extra day to prepare for their conference rivals, the Cougars will be utilizing it to the fullest.
"We've had a a good week, he said. "This is a long week of preparation. You get that extra day of preparation so hopefully, it will give is time to pay attention to that extra detail."