Pack football prepares to host playoff opener

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If the CSU-Pueblo ThunderWolves are nervous to host their first playoff game since 2015, it's impossible to tell from their attitude.

Pack players were in a relaxed, dancing mood Thursday at practice, blasting the Lion King soundtrack and R. Kelly ahead of Saturday's postseason meetup against Augustana in the opening round of the Division II Football Championships.

It's easy to be confident in your play when you're riding an eight-game winning streak heading into the playoffs. The Thunderwolves haven't lost since mid-September, and hold a 10-1 regular season record. Augustana (S.D.), the Pack's opening-round opponent, is 9-2 heading into Saturday's contest.

"I think we're all excited to be here," Pack offensive lineman Elijah Reed said Thursday before practice. This is the standard [at CSU-Pueblo], to make the playoffs. Everybody's pumped and ready to go."

While the Vikings and ThunderWolves are relatively similar on paper, the biggest advantage for the Pack may be home-field advantage. At the Thunderbowl, CSU-Pueblo has outscored their last five opponents, 216-58. Augustana's only two losses of the year came on the road.

But head coach John Wristen, as usual, not concerned with what the box score supposedly indicates.

"I think it's really about us getting better, and sharping our edge," Wristen said."Making sure we elevate our game and then some."

Kickoff for Saturday's game is at 1:00 p.m. against the Vikings. The winner will take on top-seeded Minnesota State in the second round of the bracket. According to CSU-Pueblo's team website, tickets are on sale now and can be bought by calling (719) 549-2050 or going to this website. Tickets are $20 for chairback seats and $15 for reserved bleacher seating. Discounts for children, college students, and seniors are available.