KX Sports’ game of the week Friday night features the Mandan Braves against the St. Mary’s Saints, a rivalry renewed last season for the first time in 13 years. After a tough loss in 2021, the Braves are hoping to turn things around in the series.

The Mandan Braves are hoping to bounce back from a loss two weeks ago as the number one team in the state, and bounce back in a rematch against a St. Mary’s team that beat the Braves by a field goal last season. It’s this type of matchup that will prepare them for the future

“These games set up playoff games,” senior wide receiver Karsyn Jablonski said. “We’re going to have to play every snap as hard as you can, and it’s going to be a dog fight no matter what. I think this is a really good set up for our future.”

The Braves are known for their offense, averaging nearly 35 points per game this season with a team that returns nine starters, but even with that experience, the Braves are still evolving. That’s something they learned the hard way against Minot.

“Make sure we’re attacking every part of the field, and then do the fundamental things right,” Braves’ head coach Todd Sheldon said. “I think that’s what we skipped over in the Minot game. There was a lot of fundamental — going back to, ‘Hey this is the base thing that we need to take care of.’ and ‘First things first.’ and that was a big part of it.”

The Braves are only looking ahead now and focusing first on being themselves and staying disciplined.

“We’ll go through a couple different scenarios as far as what their base defense is and what their base offense is, and what they’ve seen success with this year, and then mold ourselves around that,” Sheldon said.

Braves’ players say even though they carry the weight of being a ranked team, they have to treat every game like the playoffs without undermining any team, and they know the Saints will give them their best shot

“St. Mary’s has a great coaching staff and they know what they’re doing, so we just have to stay disciplined and do our job, and I think that will show what we got,” Jablonski said.

KX will have a live broadcast of the Mandan vs St. Mary’s game on Friday night starting at 6:20 p.m. You can find that on the Dakota’s CW, or on KXnet.com.