Senior defensive lineman Jared Haug may not be ready for the Weather Channel, but he is willing to make one prediction.
He knows the Mandan football team is going to show up at Faris Field on Friday night with ears laid back and blood in the eye.
"(Mandan) has been a big game all the way through since middle school," said Haug, a 6-foot-6, 230-pounder. "... I'm assuming they'll be ready. They've always been a rival."
There's going to be more on the line on Friday than there was in middle school, however. Bismarck and Mandan are ranked first and second, respectively in the state Class AAA poll. They've occupied those positions the last three weeks for good reason. They're the last two AAA unbeatens and they're tied for the lead in the West Region at 3-0.
Those are mere trimmings to Haug. To him it's a personal thing.
"There's a lot of pride that's going on the line. We've got a pretty good defense and they've got a pretty good offense. It should be interesting to see how it turns out," he said. "... I'd definitely buy a ticket."
A look at the internal matchups makes the contest all the more intriguing.
Mandan leads the West Region in scoring (46.2 points per game) and is second in defense (10.2). BHS tops the region in defense (7.5) and ranks second in offense (43.8). Bismarck is No. 1 in rushing offense, rushing defense and total defensive yardage. The Braves top the charts in passing offense and total offense.
Individually, Mandan boasts three regional statistical leaders in quarterback Devin Coyle, wide receiver Aaron Janz and running back Seth Westby. Coyle leads the West in passing offense, total offense and TD passes. Westby is the rushing leader and Janz leads all receivers.
BHS tailback Layne Johs has scored 17 touchdowns for the regional scoring lead. He trails Westby by just four yards in the regional rushing rankings.
Haug is one of several returning veterans on a BHS defensive unit with a tradition to uphold. So far, so good.
"I really didn't know what to expect. Bismarck has always been known for defense and as the season has progressed we've started to look pretty good," Haug said. "A lot of juniors are coming through. Some of them played last year. We've needed them because our senior class isn't the biggest."
Going into the season, Haug knew the Century and Mandan games would be major tests.
"At the beginning of the year we all knew Mandan would be pretty good. We figured it would be between Century, Mandan and us," Haug said.
The Demons passed the Century test three weeks ago by a 27-19 margin before a huge crowd at the Community Bowl.
Haug is looking forward to taking on the Braves at what is expected to be a sold-out Faris Field.
"It's a Friday night game under the lights. Those are the games I look forward to," Haug said. "I like the bigger games because there are a lot more people there and it makes it that much more intense. It makes you want to play that much harder."
Haug said no one will be holding anything back on Friday.
"We've got to come out with a chip on our shoulder. ... We've got to play with intensity and determination," he said. "With the game being on their field it ... gives that extra oomph."
NOTES: Century is at Williston and Dickinson visits Minot in Friday's other West Region games. Jamestown travels to Grand Forks Central for a nonregional contest. All four games are scheduled for 7 p.m. ... Ticket gates at Faris Field will open at 4:15 p.m. ... Mandan plays host to Century next week.