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After a 47-30 defeat to Class 5A No. 3 Cathedral last Friday, Bishop Dwenger wasted no time in turning the page to a huge SAC rival.
“As soon as we got back (to school) on Friday, we started talking about this week (at Snider),” Saints coach Chris Svarczkopf said. “There are no moral victories in our program. We were disgusted with how the last game turned out. We expected to win and we came up short and were not happy.”
Class 5A No. 7 Snider (5-2) is coming off a better week after routing Elkhart Central 42-7.
But coach Kurt Tippmann knows all about the Bishop Dwenger rivalry and what it entails, with two of the last three games being decided in overtime.
“It is a rivalry that is full of tradition and passion and we will have no problem getting up for it,” Tippmann said. “We have tremendous respect for everything Bishop Dwenger does as a program.”
Both teams are looking for more consistency heading into Week 8, meaning it would not be out of the question to see one team show up and the other struggle.
Snider's defense had not been its dominant self over the month or so before the Elkhart Central game.
Meanwhile, Class 4A No. 10 Bishop Dwenger (5-2) surrendered 389 yards passing to Cathedral a week ago.
“There is so much room for improvement, (pass defense) being the glaring one,” Svarczkopf said. “We have done some restructuring and re-emphasizing in that area.”
Svarczkopf mentioned the secondary's problems against Cathedral, which included not lining up right or having players completely out of position.
“That is on the head coach,” Svarczkopf said regarding the players out of position. “But we looked at some personnel issues … we wanted to get back to basics and it's been that kind of a week (in practice).”
The Panthers rushed for 259 yards in last week's win. Couple Snider's running back by committee with quarterback Colton Painter being a threat in the play-action and Svarczkopf has plenty to worry about.
“Snider will want to run the football, so we have to be really hard-nosed on defense while not giving up the play-action pass in the process,” Svarczkopf said.
Friday's game has massive ramifications in the SAC race. If the Saints win, they will stay in first with just one loss in the conference while holding the tiebreaker over North Side, which also enters Friday with a 4-1 conference record.
If Snider can win, it will remain in first but will need help from either South Side or Bishop Luers, which each play North Side over the final two weeks. The Redskins hold the tiebreaker over the Panthers.
But before the outcome of who rings the SAC bell is decided, two powerhouses will collide Friday at Spuller Stadium.
“Every offensive drive has to have a goal and every drive has to be productive,” Svarczkopf said. “Snider does not turn the ball over and we have to be at our best at trying to slow down what they like to do."