GERALDINE — Geraldine will be the sight of a top-five showdown in 6-Man football on Saturday afternoon.
No. 2 Geraldine-Highwood (3-1) hosts No. 3 Richey-Lambert (4-0) in a rare mid-season non-conference game. Geraldine-Highwood was scheduled to play Augusta this week, but the Elks were unable to field a team, opening up an extra non-conference game for the Rivals.
“Over the course of the summer, we had a bug in an ear with some other teams with who could open this week up,” Geraldine-Highwood co-head coach Brandon Gondeiro said. “Richey-Lambert was really looking for a game, so the East jumbled their schedule around to make this work and make this game a possibility. … We can’t thank them enough to be willing to come our way after we went to Wibaux to open the year.”
Richey-Lambert brings in one of the most explosive offenses in 6-Man, averaging just north of 66 points per game. A philosophical switch in the offseason triggered the offensive outburst from the Fusion.
The spread offense coupled with Richey-Lambert’s team speed has been giving teams in the East fits this season. Most recently, the Fusion upended defending state champion Westby-Grenora, hanging 52 points on the Thunder, the most Westby-Grenora has given up since the 2016 state championship against Hot Springs.
“Anytime you’re playing 6-Man football, you’re worried about the speed element,” Gondeiro said. “When kids get the ball in space, and there’s going to be space because you can’t take it all away, that’s what makes us as defensive coaches bang our heads against the wall late at night. Anytime you play a spread team, it’s important to get as much exposure to the spread as you can.”
Geraldine-Highwood will need to rely on its depth to slow down the Fusion offense. Having 11 upperclassmen has allowed Gondeiro and co-head coach Rod Tweet to mix and match players depending on the opposing offense’s style.
For Richey-Lambert, this game presents the opportunity to knock off two top-five teams in the span of two games. However, Geraldine-Highwood has a program rich in tradition looking to add another win to its gaudy resume.
“Our kids know that each play you have to be at your best, and they’ve embraced that. This is another great set of athletes to keep you honest and accountable, because come November, it’s the little things that put you where you want to be,” Gondeiro said. “They’re going to give us fits at times, but hopefully we can make adjustments along the way and slow them down.”
Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon in Geraldine.