For the second time in school history, the Cloverdale varsity football team will play South Vermillion Friday in the first round of the football sectional.
The Clovers are currently 4-5 on the season. A win on Friday will put them at 5-5 -- something that Cloverdale coach Jamie Steffy would like to see.
"We're 4-5 right now and that is after we replaced eight starters from last year's team. And I'm not just talking about eight kids that started that year. I am talking about eight kids who had started three or more years. And if we can go 5-5, then that just shows how well this coaching staff and team have done considering the loss we had," Steffy said.
For the Clovers to break even on the season, they have to first defeat South Vermillion who is currently 1-8 on the season. Although the Wildcats didn't have much success in the regular season, Steffy isn't underscoring his opponent.
"You can not be mislead by their 1-8 record. They are not a 1-8 team," he said. "They are the fourth biggest Class 2A school and they play a pretty tough schedule. And they are a lot better than their record shows.
"They have a real good running back, who we saw two years ago when he was sophomore. He's back again this year as a senior. So we will be working on stopping him," Steffy said.
The Clovers will be going up against a South Vermillion 3-5 defense, which Steffy knows will be taking some things away from the Clovers' offense.
"Their defense poses a lot of different situations to us. It will give us a few opportunities for us to run the ball like we have all year and it will also take some of those possibilities away too. But it will also give us some opportunities to throw the ball as well," Steffy said. "Their defense is lot of give and take, and you just have to work with what you're given."
The Clovers have been pretty successful this season at stopping the run, but have struggled against the pass somewhat. The Clovers have only given up 974 yards on the ground, which is the lowest in the West Central Conference, and have the third best defense in the county, allowing only 22.8 points per game.
Offensively, Cloverdale averages 18.4 points per game.
"Our team is fully aware of what South Vermillion can do. We have our work cut out for us," he said. "This defense they run will pose some new challenges for us, and we will need to be ready from the start of the game."
The Clovers will be heading into this game off the heels of 42-13 loss to North Putnam last Friday, while the Wildcats lost to Edgewood, 51-14, last Friday.
For the first time in three weeks, Cloverdale will have everybody on the field, dressed and ready to play.
With everyone healthy, Steffy is confident about Friday.
"Our struggles this year have really come form us turning the ball over. And when we don't turn the ball over as much in games, we put ourselves in the position to win some football games."
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at South Vermillion.