That was the buzz word this week throughout the Quincy Notre Dame football team.
The Raiders and QND coach Bill Connell haven’t forgotten how they felt after losing 27-0 to Helias last season in Jefferson City, Mo.
“I think embarrassed is the correct word to use,” Connell said. “When we take the field as a Raider football team, we expect to win football games and to be competitive. When you go back to that ballgame, they outplayed us and they outcoached us. … They beat us in all aspects of the game. We’ve had a year to think about it, a year to put together a game plan, a year to think about the things that we would change. I can tell you this, we’re not going into it with the same game plan we had last year.”
QND will be seeking atonement at 7 p.m. Friday, when it faces Helias at 10th and Jackson.
“New game, new year and hopefully at the end of the day a new end result,” Connell said.
The Raiders (2-0) enter the game with the No. 8 ranking in Class 4A. Helias (1-1) is ranked No. 3 in Class 4. Its loss was a 22-21 setback in Week 1 to Harrisonville, ranked No. 2 in Class 4.
Here are three things to watch for during Friday’s game:
1. Does QND handle the Helias spread attack better this time around?
Helias quarterback Wyatt Porter and his spread attack picked QND apart last season. Porter was 14-of-26 passing for 173 yards, and he added 76 rushing yards on 13 carries.
He’s got junior tight end Hale Hentges, a Division I recruit, at his disposal.
Connell and his Raiders have said they’ve made some defensive adjustments based off of last year’s game and plan to approach the spread differently, although they didn’t get into specifics.
Thus far, QND’s defense has been stout, surrendering 6.5 points and 122.5 yards per game. Yet, QND’s first two opponents have been run-oriented teams. Helias will pose a different sort of challenge.
2. Does Joe McCaughey’s improved play extend through Friday?
McCaughey, QND’s senior quarterback, has been very good so far. He was superb last week, when he completed 11 of 20 passes for 301 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. For the season, he’s 20-of-38 passing for 396 yards, six TDs and no INTs.
It’s now time to see if he can exorcise the demons of last year’s Helias game. It marked the lowlight of McCaughey’s junior season. He completed 10 of 25 passes against Helias for 113 yards with three interceptions. McCaughey didn’t shy away from his mistakes in that game. Instead, he spent the offseason studying the film of that contest in an effort to try to improve his decision-making.
3. Can QND make some game-changing plays?
There’s no denying QND is the underdog in this game. So how does it win? In addition to the points above, the Raiders could really benefit from some game-altering plays.
Can the Raiders block a punt? Or rip off a long kick/punt return? Maybe return a turnover for a touchdown?
Unless QND can deliver a couple big plays, winning this game will be awfully tough.
Check back on Topp’s Tips early Saturday morning for answers to these pregame questions based off of Friday’s game and for additional postgame analysis.
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- Postgame: Helias 51, QND 12 : Topp's Tips | September 14, 2013