Joe Stellmach and the Pope running game will take centerstage Friday when they host Osborne.

Osborne will be looking for their second win of the season while Pope will be trying to secure a Region 6AAAAAA playoff game when they meet Friday.

This will be the Greyhounds return to the field after having to cancel the last two games because of coronavirus protocols.

“The kids’ spirits are still up,” Cardinals coach Russell Isham said. “They understand the season has gone exactly the way we wanted, but they understand the dynamics that we’re fighting.”

Isham said the Cardinals will have to find a way to slow down the Pope running game if they hope to have a chance to pull out the victory.

“I think they’re going to be a pretty physical football team,” Isham said. “They intend to run the ball a lot downhill and they play great defense. We’ll have our hands full but we’re ready and excited to play. We’re gonna give it our best shot.”

Coming off the two-week hiatus, Pope coach Tab Griffin said it’s taking awhile to get back up to speed.

“The first part of the week was getting our legs back underneath us,” he said. “(Wednesday) and (Thursday) our focus has been on making our practice tempo even faster.”

The Greyhounds have been focusing on having what Griffin calls a “fast finish”. The drills in practice are to help them maintain conditioning through the fourth quarter. It could also be used to help finish the season strong.

“We gotta do a better job of finishing games out,” he said. “We played good for about three and a half quarters in our game against Wheeler, but we have to finish out and play four quarters to maintain control of the game.”

Griffin said his main concern preparing for Osborne is its size on offense, especially after not playing for two weeks.

“They have good skill kids and they’re big up front,” Griffin said. “As a coach, they kind of things can make you nervous when a team has more than one or two guys up front that can run and are pretty fast. For us, it’s just trying to keep everything in front of us and make them earn their drives.”

Pope will utilize the running game led by Joe Stellmach.

“If (Stellmach) is having a good game, all of our guys kind of feed off of him offensively and defensively,” Griffin said. “We did a good job getting him his touches against Wheeler and was able to get over 200 yards rushing.”

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