There are certain things that just seem to go together naturally.

There are certain things that just seem to go together naturally.

Peanut butter and jelly, and biscuits and gravy are a couple of things that come to mind.

Another combination which has gone together for many years is the Ringling Blue Devils football program and the playoffs.

At 7:30 p.m. Friday night at Rick Gandy Memorial Stadium, the No. 4 Blue Devils will return back to the postseason, as they host Christian Heritage in the opening round of the Class A playoffs. 

The winner of this contest will take on either Frederick or Thomas Fay-Custer in the second round next week. 

Ringling will be entering the postseason with an undefeated record for the first time since 2015, when the Blue Devils finished 11-1 after making the state semifinals.

As for the present day, the Blue Devils are currently 10-0 and were the district champions in District A-4.  Christian Heritage meanwhile is currently 6-4 on the season and finished as the No. 4 seed out of the tough District A-3 which includes state ranked Cashion, Crossings Christian, and Minco. 

“Christian Heritage will be a solid opponent for us in this first round,” Ringling coach Phil Koons said.  “They run out of a spread formation, as many teams are doing right now. They are good at the spread and other formations which they switch into from time to time.”

“This is a very athletic team,” Koons added. “They have a good quarterback (Zach Hale) running the offense, and he has one or two excellent wide receivers to throw the ball too, and they also have a strong running back that allows them to run and pass with equal efficiency, along with afront line which averages about 220-230 pounds. They are well-built across both the offensive and defensive front.”

The quarterback in question for the Crusaders is none other than senior Zach Hale.

Hale has been very consistent this season, having thrown for 1,647 yards on 119-of-187 passing with 21 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. He’s also the second leading rusher on the team with 552 yards on the ground on 74 carries with five touchdowns.

Christian Heritage’s leading rusher though is Josh Condreay, who has 880 yards on 114 carries this season with eight touchdowns. 

The Crusaders also sport a pair of receivers who have more than 500 yards this season, as Carson Bullard leads the team with 41 catches for 543 yards and eight touchdowns.

His brother, Bridge Bullard is second on the team with 36 catches for 519 yards and eight touchdowns.

Ringling though will be responding with its own solid offensive attack, led by quarterback Sam Vanbuskirk, as well as running backs Ethan Johnson, Kash Lyle and a host of other players.

Last week in the district championship game against Apache, Lyle ran 23 times for 156 yards, while Vanbuskirk had 16 carries for 126 yards. 

Last season when the Blue Devils opened the playoffs at home they were victorious 35-21 against Wynnewood. 

The last time a Blue Devils team lost a first round playoff game at home was in 2016 against Wynnewood when Ringling was defeated 62-21. 

Christian Heritage has not won a playoff game since 2016 when the Crusaders defeated Hennessey in the first round before falling against Davis in round two. 

“We are in pretty good shape right now as far as having everyone healthy and available,” Koons said. “Everyone is excited about the playoffs being at home, and we all understand that Christian Heritage is a good team because they are a playoff team.” 

“I expect the players to be ready physically and emotionally,” Koons added “We will need to line up Friday night and do what we do best. If we continue to get better at what we do and follow our game plan we should be in good shape.”