PRIDE — It may not be Wrestlemania III, where the main event was described vividly as the “irresistible force against the immovable object.”

PRIDE — It may not be Wrestlemania III, where the main event was described vividly as the “irresistible force against the immovable object.”

But this is the third meeting in the playoffs between the Pickering Red Devils and the Northeast Vikings.

No. 12 Pickering (8-3) takes to the road for a 7 p.m. second-round playoff today, journeying north of Baton Rouge to meet up with the No. 5 Vikings (8-2) in a game that can be heard live on 93.5 KJAE-FM and 105.7 KVVP-FM.

This is the third time in the history of the Class 2A playoffs where Pickering and Northeast have played. Back in 1992, the Red Devils hosted Northeast and came away with a close win. In 2003, the Vikings were the No. 1 team in the state and fell behind early only to rally for a 42-27 victory.

The one common denominator in those first two meetings was that the visiting team had a bus break down on the way to the game. Another common denominator is David Masterson, the veteran coach of the Vikings.

“I was the offensive coordinator in 1992 when we lost at Pickering,” he said. “And I remember the 2003 game vividly on how they weren’t your typical No. 32 seed. They got up on us quick and we had to rally to win that game.”

But it’s 11 years later and the veteran coach knows his team has a tough opponent coming to Pride tonight.

“Coach (Johnny) Cryer has done a fabulous job with this very young team,” Masterson said. “He’s molded those young men into a very good ball club. They are very solid on both sides of the ball.”

The Red Devils are averaging almost 31 points per game this season offensively, utilizing a very, very young team to get the job done. The key players in the skill positions — quarterback Patrick Hinson, wide receiver Dontay Hargrove and running back Jermaine Milton — are all sophomores, as is the majority of the offensive line.

Hinson has accounted for 1,700 yards passing and 19 touchdowns, while also rushing for nearly 600 more yards. Milton is the team’s leading rusher with close to 1,000 yards, while Hargrove is the team’s leading receiver, also nearing 1,000 yards.

And although Pickering’s offense has put up some impressive numbers, the Northeast defense is no slouch, giving up just 112 points in 10 games.

“They make a conscious effort to put their best players on defense,” Cryer said of Northeast. “They don’t score a lot of points offensively, but they score enough to win. They line up defensively and control the line of scrimmage. They are big, athletic and aggressive. They have a very good football team.”

The Viking defense is led by a quartet of standouts in defensive tackle Leroy Roddy, linebacker Dominic Yates, defensive lineman K.J. Robinson and free safety Darrell Adams, who will play for the first time since the third week of the season as he suffered a broken leg in that game.

“Our defensive staff has done a great job in putting our best 11 on the field,” Masterson said. “And I’m really proud of our defense as we have given up just one second-half touchdown all season long.”

Roddy is a load on the defensive line at 6-1, 325 pounds, while Robinson, who is 5-7, 252 pounds, is one of the strongest athletes in the state of Louisiana, having set a state record last year with a squat of 675 pounds.

Adams is arguably the best player for the Vikings as he also lines up at running back. He gives Northeast that home-run hitter its has been desperately needing all season as the Vikings score just 17 points per outing.

Cryer believes for his team to be successful, they just need to be ready to play and not make any mistakes.

“I feel if we don’t make too many mistakes, we will have a great opportunity to win,” he said. “We just need to come out and execute, play our style of game. The kids are ready and excited about this opportunity.”

The winner of this game will play either fourth-ranked East Feliciana or No. 13 Oakdale in the state quarterfinals next week.