Doane football coach Matt Franzen says his team is healthy and has momentum heading into Saturday’s NAIA Playoff opener against Eastern Oregon. The Tigers are making back-to-back trips to the playoffs for the first time in school history and this will be the first playoff game the Tigers have hosted since 1997.
“Being able to play at home is a big deal because last year we were happy to qualify and went on the road and lost a close game in the first round”, said Franzen. “Obviously the home field advantage is there no matter when you play but in the playoffs against a team we have never played before the home field advantage may be even a bigger deal.”
The Tigers enter the playoffs on a roll that has seen them win their final three games by an average margin of just over 37 points. The Tigers are ranked seventh in the latest NAIA Poll.
This is Eastern Oregon’s first playoff bid and the Mountaineers are 8-2 and ranked ninth after finishing second in the Frontier Conference. Franzen says Eastern Oregon features a balanced offense but the goal for the Doane defense all season has been to shut down the run game first.
A victory on Saturday would be Doane’s first playoff win since a 59-20 win over Evangel in the quarterfinal round of the 1999 playoffs.
“Obviously everybody has a smile on their face when you win”, added Franzen. “It has been a good year and it is a good group of young men and hopefully we can do this for another week after Saturday.”