I remember sitting on my couch while in high school watching the Championships Wimbledon finals between Roger Federer and Andy Roddick.
Roddick was the fiery American player with a booming serve and Federer was on his way to becoming the best tennis player of all time.
Roddick was a good player, who had the chance to be great, but there was one man always standing in his way when it came to winning Grand Slam tournaments, Mr. Federer. Roddick simply couldn’t beat him.
The media around the professional tennis world started to label Federer as Roddick’s biggest rival. At one of his news conferences, Roddick scoffed at that and said, “How can he be my rival if I never beat him?”
The same might be said for Yukon and Mustang on the football field. The Broncos have dominated the Millers in the past four years and there is no hiding from it. The scoreboard has proven it.
It’s time for Yukon to do to Mustang what Roddick couldn’t do to Federer, and that is to end the streak.
I believe the Millers will accomplish that goal on Friday when they go to battle with the Broncos at 7 p.m. in Miller Stadium.
Why you ask?
Simply put, Yukon is just the better team this year.
Isn’t that the main reason a football team beats an opponent? Because one team is just better? As a matter of fact, yes.
Mustang has owned the talent level from top to bottom in this series over the past four years. Jeremy Dombek is not waiving some magic wand that gives his team an unfair advantage over its nemesis north of Interstate 40. He has had a deeper roster and he has had better teams.
In 2018, Jeremy Reed has the deeper roster and the better team. Reed is in his second year as the face of the Miller football program and is in his second year of installing the flexbone system offensively. Yukon’s players are comfortable with their offense and have a deep understanding of what they are supposed to do.
Mustang is breaking in a new offensive system under offensive coordinator Aso Pogi. Does this mean Pogi’s offense won’t eventually work at Mustang? Absolutely not. More than likely, it will down the road, but in game one? I don’t buy it. There will be mistakes and miscues that will cost the Broncos in this game.
Defensively speaking there are not many differences between the two teams. Both are experienced, have strong front sevens and play fast and physical.
I believe the difference in the game will come in special teams. The Millers make special teams a high priority and will make a momentum-swinging play in that facet of the game that will allow Yukon an opening to seize the contest from Mustang.
In rivalry games, it is hard to predict an outcome. This game will be a match up of two teams that are similar. I believe we will see a barn-burner of a game unlike the past four years.
However, unlike Roddick and Federer, Yukon will end the streak and stake claim as the kings of Canadian County in 2018.