HIGHLAND — Rehearsals are over. The real show begins with sectionals next week. There are no retakes, no teleprompters.
You snooze, you lose.
Times No. 8 Andrean and Highland used Friday night's Northwest Crossroads Conference finale as a tuneup. If these were two race-car engines, they'd be sputtering and backfiring.
Neither squad looked very sharp despite Andrean cruising 41-6.
"We made a lot of changes on the offensive line," Andrean coach Chris Skinner said. "Only one of the five guys who played tonight was in that position last week.
"We need to be working as a unit the whole game, which we hadn't been doing."
Andrean's Zack Merrill threw for 202 yards and touchdowns to Joe Rycerz, Nick Flesher and Tyler Thomas.
Teely Rhyne ran for 75 yards and a score, Kennard Jarrett had a 56-yard fumble return for a touchdown and JJ Wadas added field goals of 42 and 28 yards to go with four PAT kicks.
"You just got to take every kick the same whether it's a PAT or a field goal," Wadas said.
Rhyne had the bulk of carries for Andrean (6-3, 3-2) with 21 and will again be the man come sectional time.
"He's got a nice combination of size and speed, with good vision," Skinner said. "He's our guy."
Andrean plays Hanover Central in 3A Sectional 25 and is seeking its first title since 2014. Highland (3-6, 1-4) has Gavit in 4A Sectional 17 and last won a championship in 1987.
The Trojans had eight costly penalties Friday night, including six in just the first three minutes. They were held to 80 first-half total yards and had 12 plays for negative yardage.
"We got to get our offense going, the defense is playing pretty well," Highland skipper Trent Grider said. "Run-wise, our defense is pretty good. But pass-wise, only so-so.
"We don't get our heads turned around and run fast enough on coverage."