South Tama's football players and coaches will get their much-awaited rematch against rival Grinnell.
Since losing to the Tigers in the final regular season finale, where STC lost the Class 3A District 4 title, South Tama has won a pair of playoff games, as have the Tigers. The longtime rivals will now meet for a second time in the state quarterfinals.
The Trojans and Tigers will play each other Friday at Grinnell. The game will start at 7 p.m.
"We want it really bad this time," STC senior Sam Kuhter said. "We know what's coming at us and we know what we got to do. We are mad that we lost to them the first time, so it should be a good game again."
After losing the district title to the Tigers, South Tama's players and coaches knew this opportunity might come if both teams advanced through the first two rounds of the playoffs. They wanted the rematch after a bitter loss at home on Senior Night.
"We have to take them one at a time, but there's a good chance we could play (Grinnell) again," STC coach Jay Hoskey said after the Oct. 19 game. "I'm hoping we get the second chance."
The first contest was rainy for a half, which affected the Tigers passing game. However, the rain stopped at halftime and the Tigers offense came to life in the second half and they won 26-17.
Grinnell's junior quarterback Eli Dunne completed 15 of 24 passes for 150 yards on the night. He also ran for 32 yards on six carries. The Tigers junior Bryce Lidtka led the ground game with 19 carries for 118 yards and three touchdowns.
"Grinnell throws the ball and spreads the field so well," Hoskey said. "Our pass coverage isn't too bad, but I think our pass rush has to improve. We don't have long to do it. Fortunately, we kind of know what they do."
South Tama's senior Kyle Stephenson rushed the ball 22 times for 127 yards, which is one of his lower outputs on the season. He did have a touchdown for the Trojans. Kuhter completed 5-of-9 passes for 142 yards that night.
The Trojans had a chance to score late in the first game and almost kicked a field goal. Instead, they opted to try a fourth-down run and it failed. Neither team turned the ball over in the contest.
Tonight's game has a bit more than a district title at stake. A berth in the state semifinals and a game at the UNI Dome is on the line tonight.