Luverne has regained its role as a juggernaut in southwestern Minnesota, but Friday brings a tough road game against Marshall, which fell to the Cardinals 5-1 in last year's Class 1A, Section 3 final.
Both teams looked poised to be contenders again, which makes this matchup a postseason primer, and both are in the thick of a Big South Conference title chase.
Anchored by the state’s top scorer in Mason Plante (38-13-51), Marshall (17-5-1, 12-2-1) trails Luverne by one point in the league standings and aims to upend the No. 19-1A Cardinals in the second of the teams' two regular-season matchups.
Luverne (16-5, 13-0) can hold off Marshall by winning its final three conference games, but all are on the road.
The Cardinals, however, boast the state's third-leading scorer in Kasyn Kruse (36-18-54). The senior forward played a hand in all three Luverne goals in a 3-1 win over Marshall earlier this season, a victory that helped the Cardinals extend their conference winning streak to 19 games (dating back to last season).