Veritas Christian football coach Doug Bennett will not have to make a big speech before tonight's contest against St. Mary's Academy.
St. Mary's has beaten Veritas each of the two times the teams have met since Veritas began playing varsity football in 2004.
"With our school, it is not hard to get up for St. Mary's," Bennett said. "When you know a team has got your number the last two years it doesn't take much to fire you up for that game."
Kickoff will be at 7 p.m. at the Youth Sports Inc. complex.
Not only has St. Mary's (4-2) toppled Veritas the last two years, including a 56-22 decision last season, but it has won the Kansas Christian Athletic Assn. state championship each of the last three years.
"They graduated some good players, but every year they bring up a good group of guys that fill those spots," Bennett said.
Veritas has won its last four games after starting the season 0-3. One of the reasons for the turnaround has been the development of senior quarterback Ben Balman, who had never played the position competitively until this season.
"I think our guys realize that the competition the last three weeks has not been that strong," Bennett said. "I think we have grown a lot as a team with chemistry and timing on the offensive side of the ball. It has been dramatically improved since those first couple weeks."
Balman completed all six of his passes for 87 yards and two touchdowns in last week's 64-18 victory over Wichita Word of Life. Balman also ran the ball six times for 100 yards, adding two scores.
Bennett knew it would take time for Balman to feel comfortable at the new position.
"We as coaches thought that he would improve, but he has met our expectations and probably exceeded them in what we thought he could be," Bennett said.
Bennett said he would look to Balman to help Veritas control the football and hoped to get a solid rushing effort from senior Ben Reynolds.
"I think we need to continue to do what we do best," Bennett said. "We need to try to keep things balanced and keep the defense spread."