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North Andrew’s Hayden Ecker rushes past South Holt/Nodaway-Holt’s Gannon Phelan during last week’s district championship game.

ROSENDALE, Mo. — When North Andrew faced Stanberry in Week 6 of the season, Cardinals sophomore Jacob Chittum said he felt the game was a lot closer than the 36-6 scoreline suggested.

“It’s going to be a physical game, we already know that,” Chittum said. “They’re a tough team.”

The Cardinals will have another shot to take down the Bulldogs in the 8-man Semifinals Friday night.

“They know what we do, we know what they do,” North Andrew senior Brewer Wheeler said. “We just got to come out and be more physical.”

The undefeated Cardinals took down Stanberry in Rosendale on Oct. 2, giving the Bulldogs their only loss of the season.

This time, the Cardinals travel to Stanberry with a trip to the state championship game on the line.

Chittum said the Cardinals have been preparing hard for the Bulldogs’ attack.

“Just film and more film,” Chittum said. “Scout team O has got to step up and play their role this week and recreate their plays they run in game… If we work on them, it should help us in the game.”

For Stanberry, the semifinal matchup acts as an opportunity for redemption after falling to North Andrew earlier in the season.

“They pretty well kicked our butts,” Stanberry head coach Shane Hilton said. “We went away from what we do well, went away from our identity.”

Since then, the Bulldogs have won six games in a row, including an overtime win over East Atchison for the district title last week.

Hilton said the Bulldogs’ success has come from finding their identity as a team.

“We’re in tight, we’ve found our running backs and our quarterback that can pull off the option game,” Hilton said. “It’s taking care of the ball and not committing all those constant penalties, and it’s kind of come all together the last five or six weeks.”

After a win over South Holt/Nodaway-Holt in the district championship game, Wheeler said the Cardinals are expecting a tough game every week.

“Just taking things one step at a time against a physical team every week,” he said. “It’s just a big win every week.”

After a 3-8 season in 2019, Hilton said he’s confident in the Bulldogs’ ability to stick to their identity and continue their turnaround season deeper into the playoffs.

“We’re not really built to put up a ton of points,” Hilton said, “but as long as we can take care of the ball and stay ahead of the sticks, we can do good things.”

Chittum and the Cardinals are confident as well, and he said they have to match the Bulldogs’ physicality up front in order to get the job done.

“Most of the games, we’ve played in the three-yard line of scrimmage,” he said. “You win the first few yards, you win the game. That’s how I think this game is going to go.”

North Andrew travels to Stanberry at 7 p.m. Friday.