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Red Devils looking to punch playoff ticket

SPRING VALLEY — After taking a year off, the Hall Red Devils and Princeton Tigers will do battle once again on the gridiron.

Hall made its departure a year early to the former Big Rivers football conference in 2012 and Princeton followed with the league expansion of the Three Rivers Conference, which brought back football.

Not only does the BCR Game of the Week renew an ages old rivalry that Bureau County fans circle on their calendars, it comes with playoff implications and seeding for Hall.

The Red Devils have become playoff eligible by winning their last two games over St. Bede and Kewanee to improve to 5-3. They would like to seal the deal with win No. 6, though they likely would have enough playoff points to get there with five wins.

“We have talked to the kids all week about how important it is to keep the momentum going into the playoffs, that we really need to get that sixth win and take a four-game win streak into week 10,” Hall coach Randy Tieman said. “I believe that we will come ready to play. We didn’t get to play Princeton last year and that has always been a big rivalry game for us. Our guys are looking forward to starting the rivalry up again.”

Second-year Princeton head coach Jesse Snyder, who was a Tiger assistant the last time the teams met, said it’s exciting to have the opportunity to renew the rivalry.

“Rivalries create great atmosphere and tradition,” he said.

The Red Devils will face a Princeton team who has lost 19 straight games and been outscored 381-76 this year. The Tigers, however, showed much renewal last week, outscoring undefeated and state-ranked Rockridge 22-12 in the second half.

While it was a good step in the right direction, Snyder said the Tigers have to continue to build upon the successes they’ve had the last two weeks.

“It may not seem like it in the public eye, but we work every week to be that much better than we were the day before. Should we be satisfied with those successes? Absolutely not. We have to continue to work for our team, school and community,” said Snyder, whose Tigers will come into the game a little banged up.

The last time they met, both teams brought in 0-6 records for the very first time in the century-old rivalry. Princeton won the meeting 33-26, their last win before embarking on its current 19-game skid.

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