Tri-Center vs. Underwood

(Neola) -- Two football programs just 10 miles apart will clash in Neola Friday night as Tri-Center hosts Underwood, a game that will be featured as the KMA XStream Game of the Week.

Both teams are off to 2-0 starts this season. Tri-Center has wins over Riverside (35-22) and MVAOCOU (48-0), while Underwood has claimed victories against AHSTW (55-6) and IKM-Manning (42-0). Tri-Center head coach Ryan Schroder tells KMA Sports that he sees a lot of similarities between the two teams.

"We're expecting a dog fight," Schroder said. "They are a heck of a football team. Last year we went down there and turned the ball over six times. Anyone that knows the game of football knows you can't do that and come out on top. We've been working on that all year. These are two teams that do a lot of the same things. I keep telling the boys that it will come down to who wants it more."

Mason Rohatsch & Gaven Heim, Tri-Center.jpg

Pictured: Mason Rohatsch & Gaven Heim, Tri-Center

Tri-Center's defense will be tasked with stopping a powerful Underwood offense that is led by its senior quarterback Nick Ravlin. Through two games, Ravlin is 31-of-55 for 443 yards and six touchdowns. He's completed passes to eight different receivers.

"Nick is a heck of a quarterback," Schroder said. "He's a great athlete all the way across the board. I think he's a lot similar to Bryson (Freeberg). Our defense kind of sees that everyday at practice with Bryson slinging the ball around the same way Nick does. We'll have to get some pressure on him up front. We're working on a few things to try and contain their receivers."

KMA Sports also caught up with Underwood head coach Nate Mechaelsen prior to Friday's game. He says he's looking forward to the rivalry matchup once again, and like Schroder, believes the game will be a battle.

"It's a rivalry that really dates back," Mechaelsen said. "You know I've been here 11 years, and most years we've been fortunate to play. With the schools being so close together it's a definite rivalry. Both teams are 2-0 coming in Friday night and I'm looking forward to a great game."

Nick Ravlin, Underwood Football 2019

Photo: Nick Ravlin, Underwood Football

Like Tri-Center, Mechaelsen says his defense will need to have a big night as Tri-Center's offense has featured two explosive playmakers through two games. Quarterback Bryson Freeberg has 287 passing yards with three scores through the air, with 128 rushing yards and three scores on the ground. Starting tailback Trevor Carlson leads the backfield with 36 carries for 220 yards and six total touchdowns.

"Those two guys played very well against us last year," Mechaelsen said. "The Carlson kid had a really long touchdown run, and the Freeberg kid is a really good athlete who throws the ball well. In scramble situations, he's tough to bring down. Those two are definitely a focus of ours and we'll have to limit what they do in order to be successful."

KMA Sports will have live play-by-play coverage of Friday's Tri-Center/Underwood game on the KMA XStream at kmaland.com beginning with the pregame show around 6:45 p.m. Brent Barnett and Tom Moore have the call. The full interviews with both head coaches can be found below.