The defending Class 1A football champs - Akron-Westfield - comes to town here Friday night looking to oust Alta from a state playoff berth.
The Cyclones enter the game at 2-2 in district play and 4-2 overall. Even though chances of gaining a state playoff berth are slim, Alta coach Kevin Hammer said Tuesday night, the Cyclones could possibly qualify as one of seven Class 1A at large teams selected.
"It's a slim chance but it's possible," Hammer said. "We have to win out."
Akron-Westfield enters the game with a 3-1 district mark and 3-3 overall. Two teams in District 1, Class 1A remain undefeated in district play - powerful West Lyon and Marcus.
Akron-Westfield's only district loss was a 19-14 decision at the hands of West Lyon, which bested the Cyclones earlier in the season, 34-14.
"(A-W) is playing awfully well right now," Hammer said. "But if we can finish off our drives and avoid turnovers, we're expecting a very close, hard fought game."
Last week was a case of good and bad news for the Cyclones. They pounded West Sioux 32-0 for their second straight win. but lost quarterback Brad Payne for the season with a broken hand.
Payne had started at quarterback the past two weeks in place of all district returnee Jamie Hammer, who was switched to tailback.
Friday, Coach Hammer said, he may put his son Jamie back at QB or use junior Nick Nesbitt at that position.
"He's very familiar with the position and myself and the team have a lot of confidence in him."
Defense was a key for Alta last week, as it limited West Sioux to just 88 total yards.
Offensively, the Cyclones have been both balanced and potent in 2003. They average 275 yards rushing per game and 80 passing.
"We've had a lot of long, sustained drives this season and that's helped keep the ball away from the other team," coach Hammer said. "That's exactly what we'll have to do against Akron-Westfield.
"One thing we haven't done extremely well is finish off some drives. If we get inside the 20 Friday night, we'll have to push it in if we want to win."
Offensively, Hammer said, Akron-Westfield is quick with a lot of offensive weapons. The Westerners are a big-play offense and can strike quickly, he added.
"If they score against us, we want to make them drive the ball the length of the field," the coach said. "We want to avoid the quick hits."