Thursday, November 22, 2007

Akron, Limon set for frigid 1A title showdown

Akron, Limon set for frigid 1A title showdown

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Written by: Jesse Horne ,
Sports Reporter created: 11/21/2007 9:55:30 PM
Last updated: 11/21/2007 10:15:16 PM

They know each other very well. There are no secrets. No hidden agendas.

When Akron and Limon square off, there's always something on the line. Saturday's showdown, the 39th between the two teams, will once again be for something special – the CHSAA 1A state championship.

The two programs represent the last six 1A state champs. Twice before, the teams battled each other for the gold ball. Both times – in 2003 and 2005 – Limon came away as victors.

"Any time can go out and play an Akron team – I don't care if it's in the regular season, a playoff game or state championship game – you better go out there and play," Limon coach Mike O'Dwyer said. "You always love to play quality opponents and Akron is definitely that."

This season, Akron has proven to be not just a quality opponent, but perhaps the most dominating team in all of 1A. The defending state champs have trounced opponents by a combined 489-38, with the toughest test coming Aug. 31 – a 14-10 win over Yuma in the season-opener.

Considering how easily the Rams have seemed to win, coach Brian Christensen said it's easy for some to think his team – which has won 25 straight – is coming into Saturday with a false sense of confidence.

"I think any time, as a coach, you think 'Gosh, are we getting tested enough?' and 'Are we going through enough adversity?'" he said. "I think we are. I think the kids have and, at different times, I think we've faced some of that. The kids just keep working hard and that's what I attribute our success to."

A good chunk of the success has come from the Rams' use of the single-wing offense, which has racked up 3,523 yards and 55 rushing touchdowns. The single wing is accentuated with Akron's desire to display "deception in the backfield," according to O'Dwyer.

"We've got to be fundamentally sound in what we're doing have a gap-responsible defense," he said. "We can't get to excited and must stay and take care of your own stuff."

Success is something the visiting Badgers know all about. Limon's loss to Lyons in last season's state semifinal snapped a 50-game win streak – the longest in Colorado high school history.

That loss, which denied the team a fourth-straight state title, seemed to give the Badgers their mission for 2007.

"We all know how it felt last year losing," Limon running back Zach Scherrer said. "None of us want to feel that again. So, that gave us all the more reason to work hard this season."

Scherrer has helped spearhead the Badgers to their 11-1 record. He led the team with 1,113 rushing yards to go with seven touchdowns. Scherrer also racked up 10 catches for 166 yards and three touchdowns as a receiver.

There is one intangible which may figure into Saturday's game – the weather. 9News is forecasting temperatures in the mid-30s for the 1 p.m. kickoff. This, after a week of below-normal highs and the state's first real snowfall of the season.

"This week will avoid you the luxury of – and I don't know how much of a luxury it is – getting out and practicing in those elements," Christensen said. "That's going to help, especially with the receivers catching the ball."

On Saturday, both teams will be looking to catch a gold ball in Akron.

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