You don't have to remind Veritas Christian football players what happened in the second week of the season.
The 40-0 loss to Topeka Cair Paravel was embarrassing. But since then, Veritas has won five of its last seven games. It just defeated Belton (Mo.) Heartland, 46-0, last week behind five touchdown runs by senior running back Ben Reynolds.
Veritas (5-4) will take that momentum into the first round of the Kansas Christian Athletic Assn. playoffs when it faces Cair Paravel (6-2) at 7 tonight. Kickoff will be at Chandler Stadium in Topeka.
"It's one of those games where it could really have a huge revenge factor," Eagles senior quarterback Ben Balman said. "I think they're coming in there thinking that they're going to put it to us, but we've changed a lot of things, and I think we've gotten a lot better."
A big reason for the Eagles' recent success was the addition of senior tight end/defensive end Craig Bell. Bell joined the team in Week 4, and, since then, Veritas has only lost once. Bell's 6-foot-4 frame has been an easy target for Balman, who threw two touchdown passes his way in Week 5.
"A lot of times in the earlier games, I would be pressured, and there was nowhere I could go," Balman said. "Now, it's nice to have him because I can pretty much throw the ball up in the air and he'll go get it because he's six inches taller than everyone else on the field. He's just a beast and always comes down with the ball."
Bell's immediate impact should come as no surprise. He said he'd known Balman for five years.
Another reason for Veritas' recent success could simply be that players now have more game-time experience.
"At the beginning of the season, I think we had a new player at every position except one on offense, with an entirely new scheme," Balman said. "We've been practicing since August, but until you get game-time experience, that's when it really starts coming together."
Veritas will look to stop Cair Paravel running back Eric Packer. Cair Paravel had six rushing touchdowns - three by Packer - in the first meeting.
"I know we're anxious to play them again," Veritas coach Doug Bennett said. "Anytime someone beats you as handily as they did, you want a chance to prove that you're better than you showed the last outing."
Balman said for that reason it wouldn't be difficult getting the Eagles pumped up to play tonight.
"We're going in with the mindset that we have nothing to lose and everything to play for," Balman said.