Tonight, the Dodge City Red Demons football team takes on the Derby Panthers in Derby, Kansas.

It’ll be the ninth game for the team this season. Unlike previous ones though, if the Red Demons lose this one, they’ll be eliminated from the state playoff tournament. 

If the Red Demons win Friday night, they’ll move on and play the winner of Manhattan High School versus Wichita-East.

That’ll be a tall order for the Red Demons, however, because their opponents are the Derby Panthers, winners of three of the last four 6A state titles, including the last two.

Derby is led by junior quarterback Hunter Igo.

Red Demons head coach Dave Foster said the defense will have to be consistent both on the interior and exterior, which they didn’t always do last week.

“It’ll take a total defensive effort because they’ve got an offense that doesn’t get stopped very often,” Foster said. “They’ve got a lot of quality players on the football team, they’re very similar to us offensively in the spread, they’ll take what people give em and it’ll be important that we play at an extremely high level. You don’t go and beat teams like that without playing your best football of the season.”

Key to the offensive attack, Foster said, will be senior quarterback Dawson Williams.

“We can’t have ask our offense to have a different identity, that is our identity and (the Panthers) understand that,” Foster said.

The success of Williams will be at least partially dependent on the offensive line’s ability to win in the trenches against the Derby defensive line.

“Dawson was never able to shake loose for a huge one last week, but I think that’s going to be important is that we’re able to shake him loose,” Foster said. “We’ve done some good things in the pass game this week that could potentially be open.”

The Red Demons take on the Derby Panthers in Derby, Kansas tonight at 7 p.m.