With a Crown Division title, local bragging rights and the potential to earn the district’s top seed on the line, there is no shortage of motivation for Skyline and Issaquah this week in the final regular season football game for both.
Chris Bennett, the head coach of the co-crown division leaders from Issaquah and Shay Dingfelder, one of his senior captains, took some time to chat with the Reporter during practice earlier this week.
Bennett on the challenge presented by the Skyline defense:
They just always look good on defense.
Their kids play hard and the coaches put them in really good positions. This will be the best defense we have played all year.
On the shift in the Spartans’ offensive attack, which has been much more run-focused without All-American quarterback Max Browne:
The first thing that pops out is they are a little different on offense.
The quarterback is super athletic and makes so many plays. That is kind of the first thing we have to stop. Not that they can’t throw it…
On his team’s focus heading into the game, which will be tested by no shortage of distractions including a likely sellout crowd in full Blackout mode, the division title and a chance to take the program to its first ever 4A KingCo title game:
They know each other so well, they have to see each other, some of them live next door to each other on the boundaries.
They have gotten the better of the wins over the years.
We know all the hype that goes with it.
For our kids, they would love to beat Skyline. That is the challenge.
It’s a huge game for the division crown, the winner going to the KingCo championship, automatic to state, then throw the rivalry on top of it.
We just have to stay focused. It is another game, but it isn’t. If we play our best, our best is good enough. That is how we have to approach it.
Dingfelder on the excitement level coming off four straight league wins:
I’m really excited.
All our work has gone towards this. We have had this on our minds all offseason. This is a really tight-knit group and a really dedicated group of guys. It’s going to be a lot of fun.
I don’t think any of us are really satisfied until we progress further and reach our ultimate goals.
Our expectations are very high.
On the chief task for the Eagles’ defense against Kilton Anderson, Rashaad Boddie and the Spartans’ offense:
I definitely respect their quarterback and line play.
I know a lot of those guys up there and they are really good. If we play disciplined, I really think we can do well.
On the lopsided nature of the rivalry in recent years and the potential impact of an Issaquah win: Obviously, it would be a program changing win.
I feel like we’ve been the little brother to Skyline for quite some time.
It would be a big confidence boost for us. It would show the younger guys the tides are turning.