The Muskies can now set their sites on the NorWOSSA final here Nov. 8 after clinching first place with a 27-3 win over the Dryden Eagles last Thursday at Westfort.
The hard part will be staying focused for the rest of the way given the black-and-gold are now in the midst of a schedule that will see them play only two games in a 23-day span.
One of those games is this Friday when the Kenora Broncos (1-3) ride into town for a 2:30 p.m. contest at Westfort. Then the Muskies will round out the regular season Nov. 1 with a game in Dryden.
While that final game of the regular season may decide whether Dryden or Kenora makes the trip here Nov. 8, the Muskies have made it clear their focus will strictly consist of preparing for the NorWOSSA final.
“We’ve prepared for the game [scheduled] Nov. 8 since the start of the season and we expect to have a victory,” said defensive co-ordinator Brent DeBenedet, whose defence has surrendered just 41 points in four games so far this season.
“All three teams are competitive, and we’re going to continue to perfect what we’ve been doing and we’re going to throw in some surprises to keep our opponents off guard,” he added.
And the fact the Muskies have clinched top spot so early will allow head coach Bob Swing to rest some of his key starters while giving many of his backup players more playing time down the stretch.
What they don’t want at this point is an injury to a key player.
“We’re going to keep the intensity up in practice and we’re going to use the break as a chance for our guys to heal,” DeBenedet stressed.
“I think the layoff will make the players anticipate and get more excited for the game.”
But with fewer daylight hours and the colder weather fast approaching, Swing admitted the lack of playing time may have an affect on his team’s preparation.
“Right now, we’re probably healthier than we have been all year," he noted. ”But the last time we had a bye week, we ended up banging ourselves up pretty good.
“We’re fortunate that we’re peaking right now and we want to be ready by Nov. 8,” he added.