The North Putnam High School football team may be in for its biggest challenge of the season Friday when it hosts Cascade.
And the stakes are high. Very high.
With a sectional championship on the line, the Cougars will try to improve to 12-0 on the season while the Cadets will be looking to avenge their only loss of the 2006 campaign.
North Putnam defeated Cascade 28-13 in the regular season meeting, a victory that propelled the Cougars into the Associated Press' top-10 Indiana high school football teams for Class 2A.
During the two teams' first encounter this season, the Cougars went into the halftime break trailing 13-0.
But the Cadets committed four turnovers in the second half after missing a pair of field goals in the first half.
They also surrendered four second-half touchdowns to North Putnam.
Cascade has not lost a game since its defeat at the hands of the Cougars.
Much of the credit for the Cadets' 10-1 record this season belongs to its defense, which has shut out its last three opponents and has blanked five teams overall this season.
The Cougars' own defense gives up only 9.3 points per game and surrendered a mere six points to the North Montgomery Chargers in last week's sectional semifinal.
But they'll have their hands full with the Cadets, who average 41.3 points per game.
The Cadets' most potent offensive weapons are their senior twins, Josh and Jordan Stephenson.
Josh has rushed for 1,168 yards and scored 17 touchdowns at running back this season, and quarterback Jordan has passed for 1,501 yards and 14 touchdowns.
North Putnam enters Friday's match-up averaging 32.3 points per game.
And the Cougars also have some formidable offensive weapons in their arsenal.
Senior quarterback Brayden Dahlstrom has passed for 987 yards in 11 games this season, although he threw only one pass last week against the Chargers for 43 yards.
Adam Vondersaar carried the Cougars' rushing game last week, carrying the ball 29 times for a gain of 176 yards.
The Cougars and Cadets will face off with the Class 2A Sectional 29 championship at stake Friday at North Putnam with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m.