"We've got to come back and beat them this year because of the taste in our mouths after last year's game," North Andrew quarterback Nate Atkins said. "We remember that and we're going to remember it going into this game."
Jonathan Schoonover's compiled a 22-1 record since taking over at North Andrew, but that one loss kept the Cardinals from an 8-man state championship. Now they get their chance to repay the favor.
"You always want to play the best team and they're the best team on that side," Schoonover said. "I feel the guys are more prepared, they know the situation, and they're ready to go."
Both Stanberry and North Andrew have gone undefeated since last year's meeting, with the Cardinals posting seven shutouts and giving up just 60 points overall. No team has hung points on them like the Bulldogs who used a 30-point outburst in the first quarter last year to shell-shock the banged up Cards.
"It was kind of crazy last year scoring all those points in the first half," Stanberry running back Nathan Luke said. "Our defense stepped up in the second half."
"We're just going to have to match that, come out and hit them in the mouth first," North Andrew running back Quayde Bauman said. "That's what we've been doing all year so we're going to keep it going."
Save for a couple key pieces like North Andrew's Zach Officer and Stanberry's Reid Osborn, both schools bring largely the same teams from last year back to the dome, which should guarantee for another high-octane performance.
"They're going to present us with some problems, but the guys have seen similar offenses this year outside the option, I think we'll be okay," Stanberry head coach Dan Collins said.
"Time of possession is very important in a big game like this," Schoonover said. "We've got a few things up our sleeves, so hopefully we can execute."
North Andrew's looking for its first state title in 16 years, while Stanberry shoots for its second crown -- the seniors know this is their last chance to leave their mark.
"We're trying to get back to that level," Atkins said. "Back-to-back appearances, but we've got to come out and win this."
"We want to keep working that into our school," Luke said of Stanberry. "Every year we want to be that team that everybody wants to get."
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