If there is a week during the season that prep football coaches dread, it's homecoming week.
Not that coaches dislike the activities and school spirit that homecoming engenders; it simply runs counter to football players maintaining the focus they need in practice that week and in the game itself.
Storm Lake High coach Bill McCabe may be more concerned about homecoming's effects on his team given what's gone on in the past two weeks.
Last Friday, the Tornadoes were dumped 54-0 by fifth-ranked LeMars. They practiced Saturday to get rid of the stiffness and bruises, and Sunday, they won the finish of a suspended game two weeks ago at Denison-Schleswig.
With a 1-1 district mark and 3-1 overall, the Tornadoes are still squarely in the running to finish in the top two spots in the district. They'll meet MOC/Floyd Valley Friday night at Tornado Stadium in another district dual.
The question McCabe poses is how will his team react to all that's gone on the last two weeks?
"We're in good shape physically," the SLHS mentor said. "It's more the mental part that I'm concerned with. It's been a long two weeks and with all the activities of homecoming, our guys might be a little mentally tired at this point."
The Tornadoes will need to be sharp against the Dutchmen, who might be the biggest team they'll face this season, McCabe said.
"They run some wishbone but also run a lot of trap plays off tackle," he said. "They're a team that will use power running to wear you down."
McCabe says his team has the ability to wear down the Dutch if things go right and his players stay focused.
"We want to keep making first downs by using a good balance between the run and the pass," he said. "If we have an advantage in time of possession and make them chase us, we'll wear them down."
MOC/FV enters the game 1-3 overall but 1-1 in district action. They opened with a 30-14 loss to Class 2A Central Lyon/George Little Rock, then lost to Boyden Hull/Rock Valley.
In its district opener, the Dutch were trounced 28-0 by Spencer. Last week, they doubled up on Sergeant Bluff Luton, 27-13.
McCabe added that it will be key for his team to get off to a good start.
"Both us and them have to win to stay within reach of a top two finish (and a state playoff berth) in the district," McCabe said. "Two losses would be tough, considering LeMars and Spencer are both 2-0 in the district."
Gametime Friday at Tornado Field is 7:30 p.m.