In a game filled with postseason implications, DeSales (7-0) will meet Christian Academy (8-0) at 7:30 p.m. at Iroquois.
It’s been three weeks since the DeSales High School football team played a game, and coach Harold Davis isn’t sure how his team will react.
With the biggest contest of the season coming tonight, the uncertainty has Davis a bit on edge.
“We’ll see how we respond, but we don’t like not being able to play,” Davis said. “We’ve never faced something like this in the middle of the season. We won’t know how it affected us until we play.”
In a game filled with postseason implications, DeSales (7-0) will meet Christian Academy (8-0) at 7:30 p.m. at Iroquois. The winner will clinch the regular-season title in Class 2-A, District Four, a first-round bye in the playoffs and home-field advantage through the state semifinals.
“No question, there’s a lot riding on this game,” Christian Academy coach Stefan LeFors said. “It’s not about just the district championship or the rivalry. If you win, it really sets you up for the entire playoffs.”
DeSales will enter with a 14-game winning streak, its last loss coming to Christian Academy, 27-24, during the 2013 regular season. The Colts avenged that defeat, 34-0, in the third round of the playoffs on their way to winning the Class 2-A state championship.
DeSales last played Sept. 26, knocking off Bardstown 39-14. Fort Knox forfeited against DeSales on Oct. 3 because of a lack of players, and the Colts’ regularly scheduled off week followed.
Davis said he didn’t alter the team’s routine since the Bardstown game.
“We’ve been practicing as usual,” he said. “It’s an unfortunate situation, but we can’t control it.”
Senior running back Matt Ruxer leads the DeSales offense in both rushing (507 yards, eight touchdowns) and receiving (10 catches, 224 yards, three TDs). Quarterback Austin Johnson has passed for 681 yards and nine touchdowns and also rushed for four scores.
The defense is allowing just 9.7 points per game. Sophomore safety Alec Brothers leads the team in tackles (35) and interceptions (two). Senior defensive end Bryant Pirtle, who has committed to Western Kentucky, has a team-best 7 ½ sacks.
The Centurions rolled past Fort Knox 43-0 last week as Nick Payne rushed for 86 yards and three touchdowns on eight carries. Payne leads the squad with 749 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns this season.
“He’s just a hard-nosed kid,” Davis said. “He has a lot of experience and obviously know what to do in their offense.”
CAL also has been stingy on defense, allowing just 6.0 points per game. Senior linebacker Bill Jessee leads the team with 51 tackles, and junior defensive back Cody Morton has a team-best five interceptions.
“I think their defense might be better than it was last year,” Davis said. “They’re really physical and get after you.”
Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and followed on Twitter @kyhighs.
GAME OF THE WEEK
• Who: Christian Academy (8-0) vs. DeSales (7-0)
• When/where: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Iroquois.
• Jason’s pick: DeSales 21-17.