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Challenge dealt in Cards: Stillman’s speed a tall order for Comets

The numbers add up quickly when looking at the Stillman Valley football results this season.

By the Cardinals’ third game, they had already scored more than 100 points. Stillman didn’t stop there. In eight of 11 games, the Cardinals have scored more than 40 points.

In two playoff games, they’ve scored 77 – including last week’s 35-0 win over Winnebago. In all, Stillman has scored 421 points while only allowing 106.

Those numbers equal a tall task for the Newman Comets this Saturday in the Class 3A quarterfinals at Roscoe Eades Stadium.

“They’re the best team that we’ve seen for sure,” Newman coach Mike Papoccia said. “Morrison was as quick a team that I’ve seen, but Stillman has that kind of speed and more size.

“They’ll run the ball first, but they can throw it. Defensively, they are very good.”

Tailback Nate Bond (5-7, 155) leads the team with 990 yards. Fullbacks Adam Cox (6-0, 205) and Shawn Cox (6-0, 215) also both get a fair share of carries. Quarterback Dane Green (6-1, 180) has completed 35 of 64 attempts for 787 and 11 touchdowns.

Oregon coach John Bothe was across the field from Newman (8-3) last week when the Comets knocked the Hawks out of the playoffs in a 9-0 game. Two weeks earlier, the Hawks gave Stillman Valley (11-0) its closest game at 15-8.

Bothe feels defense will be the key in the Cardinals and Comets matchup.

“Newman is playing about as well as they can,” Bothe said. “They have a young team that has been getting a little better each week.

“The defense is going to be key. If they can get a few stops early in the game, they’ll keep it close. Stillman’s defense is very good. Newman will have to try and keep control of the ball as much as possible.”

The Comets have allowed only six points in the last three weeks. While points have been hard to come by, with only 18 in two playoff wins, Newman has capitalized on field position and turnovers.

“I think the last couple weeks have really built some confidence,” Papoccia said. “The practices have been really good. I let them out 40 minutes early today [Wednesday] because we ran through our offense so well and then the stuff on defense.

“We always reward them when they show they know the stuff. I think we’re at a point where we really have nothing to lose. “

When: 1 p.m. Saturday

Where: Roscoe Eades Stadium, Sterling

Radio: WZZT-FM (102.7), WLLT-FM (107.7)

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