The Buffalo Ridge Wildcats will be looking for their third straight Southern Plains Football League title Sunday.
The amateur football team out of Lake Benton takes on the Southern Minnesota Indians out of Owatonna at 4 p.m. Sunday in Lake Benton.
Buffalo Ridge shut out the Central Minnesota Hawgs 39-0 last week to advance and Southern Minnesota downed the Dakota Doom to move on.
The Wildcats (8-0) beat Southern Minnesota (6-2) 40-26 on June 8 in the regular season.
Southern Minnesota finished 0-8 last season. To see the Indians advance to the championship game this season is somewhat surprising to Buffalo Ridge head coach/offensive lineman Mike Tiedeman.
"They're a lot better than last year," Tiedeman said. "They have a lot more players this year. That helps a team out in this league no matter what. Their quarterback is a big part of their success. He's improved a lot this year. We have to make him run around. He's a lot like a Brett Favre. He'll throw it right before he gets tackled or will throw it underhanded. If we keep him under wraps, we should do fairly well."
In the earlier game, Tiedeman said Buffalo Ridge was missing several key defensive starters.
"That hurt us in the third and fourth quarters," he said. "The whole second half went back and forth. I know our defense wasn't happy that we gave up that many points. They want a rout this weekend. Putting up a zero would look pretty nice to them."
In the previous game, then-starting quarterback Jared Beck led the Wildcats with a prolific passing game. This time around, Drew Bunkers will get the nod. In his second start of the year last week at quarterback, Bunkers had a solid performance.
"Drew's a good 5- to 10-yard passer," Tiedeman said. "We'll have to mix up shorter passes with the run against Southern Minnesota. We'll try and go 50-50. Our defense doesn't like it when they're on the field a lot so we'll have to chew up the clock."
Buffalo Ridge has won four SPFL championships. This will be the Wildcats' 10th appearance in the league championship game. Buffalo Ridge won SPFL titles in 1999, 2000 and the past two seasons. No team has ever won three SPFL titles in a row. The Wildcats have won 14 games in a row headed into Sunday and are 23-1 in their past 24.
"I'd be disappointed if we lost," Tiedeman said. "I know it means a lot to Southern Minnesota that they just got here. We want it to be three in a row and we want to do it for Beck. When he had to leave (for Marine duty in Africa), that was tough. That's an added incentive for us.
"Southern Minnesota has to drive over here, too. I think that could help us."