Sherrard hosting Sterling (Newman) Saturday

Robert Blackford/Editor

The Sherrard Tigers (3) will play host to Sterling (Newman Central Catholic) (6) in the first round of the Class 3A state football playoffs Saturday, Oct. 31 at 3 p.m.

The Tigers finished the season with an 8-1 record and won the Olympic Conference Championship in this, the conference's final season. The Tigers went undefeated in the conference and didn't lose until the last week of the season to Walther Lutheran.

"We didn't play the way we were supposed to," said Sherrard head coach Jason Kirby. "Better in week nine than week 10."

The Tigers are banged up heading into the playoffs as Justin Miller has a broken leg and Ryan Wilkerson is out for three weeks. "Our kids will recover from that," said Kirby.

This is Sherrard's first playoff appearance since the 2005-06 season.

Kirby said "Our kids played great defensively all year. We did the little things you have to do to be successful. We are excited about being in the playoffs."

Sterling Newman placed fourth in the Big Rivers Conference behind Morrison, Amboy and Bureau Valley.

Sterling went 8-3 in 2008.

Sterling Newman is coached by Mike Papoccia who has coached at Sterling for the past 30 years. He is 235-86 in that time span. Sterling has made the playoffs for the last nine years and 15 of the last 16 seasons.

Sterling won state titles in 1990, 94 and 2005 under Papoccia and placed second in the state in 1998 and 1994.

Sherrard is averaging 33.7 points offensively per game and allowing only 11.2 per game for a difference of 22.4

Sterling (Newman) is averaging 30.8 points per game on offense and allowing only 13.8 defensively for a difference of 17.0.