CHISHOLM — With a number of schools closing down their programs before the playoffs due to COVID-19, a number of athletes won’t get to experience playoff football.
That’s not the case in Chisholm as the Bluestreaks open Section 7A play today with a quarterfinal contest against Deer River, beginning at 6 p.m. in Deer River.
The Bluestreaks are more than happy to be able to play in the postseason.
“That’s one of things we talked about at practice Monday,” Chisholm coach Nick Milani said. “We’re lucky we’re still playing. Hibbing is done, and a lot of teams around the state are done.
“We have to be thankful that we get to play another game.”
Which means Chisholm wants to take every opportunity it can get, and it starts with the Warriors, who beat the Bluestreaks 56-13 on Oct. 23.
Chisholm gets the chance to exact some revenge this time around but in order to do that, the Bluestreaks must slow down Deer River’s running attack.
“We have to stop the run and take care of the ball,” Milani said. “They can run the ball. They ran the ball with a bunch of different guys. They spread it out. They have to know their assignments, stay home and find the ball.”
Milani said his team is down some players due to injuries and quarantine, but Chisholm will have its core players in the lineup.
“What we have left, they’re ready to go,” Milani said. “We had a little bit of success throwing the ball against them, but if we want to be competitive and compete, we have to run the ball better.
“We’ve put in some new looks and some new running plays, with different formations. Our passing game has been good. We have to keep going with those short, quick passes, and hopefully, get into some space and get out of there after the catch.”
All of that depends on the play at the line-of-scrimmage.
The Warriors are a little bigger than the Bluestreaks, so Chisholm has to be quicker off of the ball.
“Our line played well in that when we played before, but we have to be more consistent,” Milani said. “Defensively, our line has to get penetration.”
Deer River finished 4-1, while Chisholm was 0-5, but those records can be thrown out the window at this time of the season.
“That’s what we told them,” Milani said. “It’s a new season. We have the same record. It’s another opportunity to win a ball game.”