MANCHESTER - The Burr & Burton Academy football team is headed to the playoffs and will face a tough test when they travel to South Burlington to take on No. 1 ranked Rice Memorial High School (9-0) on Saturday at 1 p.m.

BBA secured a playoff spot last Saturday after their 45-15 rout of U-32 last Friday night and Rice's 26-20 overtime win over Lyndon Institute (5-4) last Saturday.

In an interview on Tuesday, BBA Head Coach Jason Thomas indicated that Saturday's game should be a good one.

"They're really good on the defensive side of the ball, but we match up well because we're very good offensively," said Thomas. "They do enough on offense to keep you off balance, running and throwing, but they're primarily a run team."

Thomas said BBA would not only have to contain the run, but keep turnovers and penalties to minimum - which he said were two things that played a role in the Bulldogs (6-3) three losses to Milton, Bellows Falls and Fair Haven earlier this year.

Though Rice is a good defensive team, Thomas was confident in his team's ability to put points on the board.

"I don't care who we're playing I think we're going to score points," he said. "We've got a challenge in front of us certainly, but I think the kids on that side of the ball are ready for whatever. We've seen a lot of different looks. We've seen man, we've seen press, we've seen zone, we've seen blitzing, we've seen just about everything.


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So, whatever they have we'll be ready for I feel, as long as we can protect our quarterback and then make sure that we're looking the ball in and gaining possession."

In spite of the confidence Thomas has in his team's ability to score points, he also said that it would be critical for the defense to play well in order for the team to not only defeat Rice, but to win a championship.

"It's not cliche to say defense wins championships because it certainly does," said Thomas. "You need some stops in order to gain possession for your offense and keep you in a game. I think our defense, what I've seen, and again our schedule has been a little bit softer towards the end of the season, but our defense is noticeably better and I think that's a positive thing to see. "

Thomas said it would also be important to make sure running back Eric Cerra - who rushed for 139 yards on 12 carries last week against U-32 - got off to a good start and had a good game as well. If Cerra is successful in running the football against Rice, Thomas said that it would open up the passing lanes for quarterback Jake Stalcup and the BBA receivers.

"I think what happens sometimes you know people just drop everybody to cover our pass and it clogs up some lanes down the field," Thomas said. "If you're able to keep some sort of balance defenses have to commit enough people to the run game so we're able to throw because we're a little different than some teams. We throw to set up the run."

In last week's matchup against U-32, Stalcup went 13-21 and threw for 203 yards with three touchdowns. BBA wide receiver Chris Redding had three touchdowns in the game - two rushing and one receiving.