What has to happen for the Buhach Colony football team to beat Merced?
Kevin Swartwood's answer has been the same each year.
"We have to play perfectly and they have to make a lot of mistakes," the Buhach Colony coach said.
The two teams play tonight, with kickoff at 7:30 p.m. at Merced College.
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Can you play better than perfect?
Swartwood's boys may have to, because they'll once again be without their top offensive threat.
Sophomore running back Corey Chapman will miss his third straight game with an injured shoulder.
"He's unavailable indefinitely," said Swartwood, whose team is 0-2 in the Central California Conference and 2-4 overall.
"I was hoping there was the possibility he could play. But deep down, I knew it would be a little longer.
"Indefinitely may mean it just may not happen for him this year."
Stopping Merced's running game -- Stephon Mathis, Bernard Bolden and quarterback Allen Huddleston -- will be a tough task.
Both Mathis and Huddleston topped 100 yards in Merced's 35-28 win over Los Banos.
Merced is averaging 266 yards on the ground per game.
"We're a little bit of a different animal than we've been in the past," said Merced coach Rob Scheidt, whose team is 1-0, 4-1.
"I think even our fans have had a hard time adjusting. We're not a team that is going to put our foot down on the third or fifth step and throw.
"We've attacked teams in different ways, and I think we've presented new problems for defenses."
Scheidt does expect to have receiver-safety Eddie Beavers active tonight.
Beavers sprained an ankle and watched the bulk of the second half of the Los Banos game on crutches.
"He's looked pretty good," Scheidt said. "We were worried about him last week.
"I think he'll play."
Tonight's football menu also features Dennis Stubbs vs Golden Valley II.
GV (0-2, 0-6) travels to Los Banos (1-1, 3-3) and a match against its former coach.
"It's different than last year, in that I felt like I left that senior class," Stubbs said.
"These seniors have been with the new coaching staff for two years and were with me for two years.
"It's definitely getting tougher as game time approaches, though."
Atwater (2-0, 3-2) will host its homecoming game against Sacramento Hiram Johnson.
Tonight also marks the start of conference play in the Western Athletic Conference and Southern League.
In the WAC, Hilmar (5-0) hosts rival Livingston (3-2).
The top game in the SL features Mariposa (4-1) squaring off against defending champions Turlock Christian (2-3).
Shawn Jansen is a Sun-Star sports reporter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.