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Knoxville vs. Pella For the 76th Time Tonight

Bragging rights along the Des Moines River get settled tonight in Pella as Knoxville travels to the Tulip City for a match up with the Little Dutch in Class 3A District 8 football. As in nearly every season, this is also a big district game in the sense the Knoxville needs to win to avoid falling in an 0-2 hole; while Pella is looking for a strong start to their district schedule.

Panthers’ Coach Troy Rider says even after last week’s loss to Winterset the coaching staff did not have to say much to get the players’ focus this week.

“I don’t think we needed to do anything different. We have Pella this week, so it wasn’t one of those we felt we needed to sell to our kids [that] we needed to get back up,” said Rider. “Obviously this is a huge rivalry, so I don’t think this is a hard sell for our kids.”

On the other sideline, Pella High head coach Jay McKinstrey says his team will have their hands full trying to keep Knoxville’s playmakers under wraps.

“They [Knoxville] have got good athletes. It’s going to be quite a challenge, to be quite honest, as far as trying to slow down the Colton Spaurs, the Reid Longs, the Ryan Douglases and their quarterback [Gerrit Davis]. They’ve got some very good players,” said McKinstrey. “We’re going to have to make sure we keep everything in front of us and not give up big plays. Offensively, we’re going to have to try and control the football.”

While the all-time series has Pella with a slight lead of 37 wins to Knoxville’s 34 – and four ties along the way – the Little Dutch have won nine of the last ten games between the rivals. The last Knoxville win was in 2005.

You can hear the play-by-play on AM 1320 KNIA with Derek Cardwell and Mike Cunningham starting at 7:00 p.m. and on 92.1 KRLS with Eric Gotschall and Randy Sikkema – starting at 6:45 p.m. Kickoff from Pella High is at 7:30 p.m. tonight.