FREEDOM (WLUK) -- Freedom has not been challenged much so far this season, outscoring its first three opponents by 100 combined points, but the ease of winning games should change Friday.
That's when the Irish hosts rival Little Chute in the annual battle for County Highway N, the road that connects the two communities.
Freedom is the defending North Eastern Conference champ and the Mustangs won the crown in 2018, but is coming off a tough 9-6 loss to 2017 champion Wrightstown in Week 3.
"It's a big game, but at the end of the day it's just two teams," Freedom senior Jackson Higgins said. "We just have to play our game. It's a big one for us, they're always at the top of the conference every year so we have to come focused and ready."
A win would likely knock Little Chute out of the conference race, while Freedom would once again be in great position, but that's not the approach the Irish is taking.
"I would say there are certain games you don't have to emphasize but we try very hard not to get into the looking down the road thing," coach Frank Mattia said. "If you ever disrespect who's right in front of you, then you're going to find out in a hurry down the road doesn't matter so much anymore because nobody cares what you do now.
"We don't ever get into that game, we don't look at what's next or the week after. What's in front if us is a great challenge."
Last year, Freedom topped Little Chute 23-0, so it has had bragging rights for actually more than 12 months. And with these teams being separated by about seven miles, winning this game takes on more meaning as the players do see each other when they are not tackling each other.
"There's noting to eat here at Freedom, so we will go Culvers and McDonalds and stuff over there," Higgins said. "We'll always run into those kids and talk to them a little bit. We know those kids pretty well."
Nevertheless, Friday night Little Chute will be on the menu, not a hamburger.
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay