Bishop Heelan practices at the Long Lines Family Center in Sioux City on Monday.
Bishop Heelan's football history is as storied as anyone's in the state of Iowa. The Crusaders have won three state titles, are now fourth all-time in playoff appearances and fifth in all-time playoff wins.
Heelan will look for one more win in the Class 3A championship game on Thursday.
It's not the UNI-Dome, but the Crusaders were practicing indoors Monday at the Long Lines Family Center.
Heelan's already beaten the second, seventh and eighth ranked teams in the playoffs, but will take it up a notch when they face number-1 and undefeated Decorah in the championship.
But as they say, 'to be the best, you have to beat the best'.
"In a big game like this you gotta go in confident," said Bishop Heelan junior Philip Jacobson. "You can't come out playing scared. We just gotta keep doing what we've been doing well all season."
"We just gotta look at it like the last game. Last game, we came out in the first five minutes and put up a bunch of points. That just kind of took off the nerves," said Bishop Heelan junior Connor Niles. "If we can get through those first two drives, offense and defense, I think we got a good shot to get all those nerves out."
Heelan is ranked fifth in Class 3A, with a 12-1 record. The Crusaders seem to be peaking at the right time, after blasting second-ranked Grinnell, 42-14 in the semifinals.
Being in the title game is exciting, but Heelan is trying to take a 'business as usual' approach during their preparations.
"We really don't talk about it that much. We really try to do the same things that we would do in a normal week," said Bishop Heelan head coach Roger Jansen. "These guys know. This is a once in a lifetime. When you're a little kid, you dream about playing in the dome. Not very many get that opportunity and we just tell them, hey, you gotta make the best of this opportunity."
Heelan and Decorah play at 7:00 o'clock on Thursday night in Cedar Falls.
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