Nate Nelson doesn't want to take any chances entering his team's second round 9-man playoff game against North Star on Saturday.
With the Bearcats passing game poised to do what its done all season, the Divide County co-coach wants to assist Mother Nature in whatever way possible to make throwing the ball difficult for North Star quarterback Jacob Hagler.
"We have trees and if we get a wind from the west we may cut them down," Nelson said. "Anything to get a little more breeze across the field. ... We're praying for wind and lots of it. In fact, a tornado would be the best-case scenario."
Hagler has essentially dominated every game he's played this season. The senior quarterback has passed for more than 2,000 yards and has thrown 34 touchdowns to only three interceptions.
Hagler had four touchdown passes in last year's meeting, when North Star (8-1) topped the Maroons 32-28 to advance to the Dakota Bowl.
"He can throw the touch pass and he can throw the hard pass that he has to to get it in there," Bearcats coach Bryan Haugen said. "He just studies to make sure he throws the right pass."
Said Nelson: "I hope we don't see anybody better than him because if we do that guy's pretty damn good. He's one of the better guys I've ever seen throw the ball at the high school level."
The senior signal caller's favorite target this year has been classmate Daniel Grande. Grande has team-highs of 48 receptions, 941 receiving yards and 12 receiving touchdowns. Hagler and Grande are also teammates in basketball and baseball.
"Hopefully nobody will be able to stop him," Hagler said. "He runs good routes for the most part and always seems to find a way to get open and catch the ball."
Divide County (10-0) will likely rely on its ground game for success with senior quarterback Lance Knudson and junior fullback Isaac Jacobs. Knudson and Jacobs combined for five rushing touchdowns against St. John in the first round of the playoffs Saturday.
"They're bigger, they're more physical up front in their line," Haugen said. "Their scheme is to just pound it down their throat and that's what they do. (We need to) plug up the middle and hope. It's going to be tough. They're so big and physical they push you right down the field. Stopping them is going to be a challenge."
Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. Saturday in Crosby.