The term “must-win game” is thrown around a lot in today’s sports world, but it could not be truer than tonight when Highland visits Green in the Cleveland Browns High School Game of the Week, presented by PNC Bank.
Both squads essentially need to win the final three games of the season for a shot at the playoffs, in addition to winning the Suburban League.
“We know right off the bat for playoff implications, we need to win out,” Highland coach Tom Lombardo said. “Green is somewhat in the same boat as we are, so we know we have to take this one game at a time.”
Highland comes in to the game with a 4-3 record with two of its three losses coming by five points or less. Lombardo knows if Highland is to win, it needs to focus on what is has been doing right.
“We are two plays away from being 6-1,” Lombardo said. “It’s just a matter of putting everything together for a whole game against a quality opponent tonight.”
Green, meanwhile, is 5-2 with both of its losses coming by less than a touchdown. Coach Ed Cybak knows his senior class has played a big role in the team’s success.
“Our senior group has really achieved a very solid leadership role,” Cybak said. “I expected it, but you never know if it’s going to happen or not. They’ve had this goal of being the Suburban League champs and they want to leave this place with something special to build on down the road.”
A good week of practice has Cybak optimistic about his team’s chances tonight.
“We have been really driven,” he said. “They’ve practiced hard, they are focused, and it gives us a great opportunity to be successful tonight.”
The winner of tonight’s game will receive $4,000 for its football program through the Game of the Week program, and the winning coach as well as Game MVP will be honored during the Browns’ game against the San Diego Chargers on Oct. 28.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. in Green.
The Cleveland Browns High School Game of the Week program is presented by PNC Bank, in association with Russell Athletic and The Ohio Army National Guard.