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More than just a game

A new playoff format and a loss in the final game of the season set the table for the Pike County Bulldogs to take on the Luverne Tigers in the first round of the AHSAA Class 3A playoffs.

Many people may not know the significance of this matchup, but PCHS head coach Brad Waggoner knows the significance. Before this year, Waggoner was the head coach of the Tigers.

“Luverne will always have a special place in my heart,” Waggoner said. “The last three years have been some of the best in my life and I met a lot of great people over there. They have a lot of tradition over there.”

He compiled a 25-11 record in his three years and had three straight playoff appearances. In his first two years he was 20-5 with two straight region titles.

But Waggoner said the Bulldogs have their own tradition and he is happy to be at the helm of such a great program.

“I am definitely happy here at Pike County and we have our own tradition here,” he said. “And there are five state titles to back up that tradition. These kids understand what to do when they get to the playoffs.”

When the Bulldogs and Tigers meet Waggoner will coach against the man who was his defensive coordinator in Luverne.

“We have tremendous respect for Luverne because they are a good football team and coach (Les) Sanders is a great coach,” Waggoner said. “He was a great defensive coordinator for me and he is also a great friend. I have known him for a while and we will have a tough challenge on our hands Friday.”

Waggoner said no matter what the people are talking about before the game, the Bulldogs would be all business when the game starts.

“This game will have a lot of hype surrounding it, but after the first minute, it will come down to playing football,” Waggoner said. “All the build up will mean nothing and it will come down to playing football.”

The Bulldogs have posted a 5-4 record this year and head to Luverne with a 4-1 record on the road. Waggoner said the stadium should be packed Friday night and he is looking forward to facing a tough opponent.