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Coaches calling for Patriots' victory in Super Bowl XLII

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By Robert Howey

Lancaster County high school football coaches are calling for a New England Patriots’ win in Super Bowl XLII in Glendale, Ariz., tonight.The Pats face the upstart Giants in pro football’s world championship game at the University of Phoenix Stadium.The Patriots, in their regular-season finale, edged the Giants 38-35 on Dec. 29 when they trailed 28-16 in the third quarter before rallying for the comeback win.“The Patriots are the best team in the National Football League,” said Buford High School head football coach Mike Wells, the Lancaster County high school football coach of the year for 2007 after leading the Jackets to a 6-5 record and a postseason bid in the Class AA Lower State playoffs. “They’ve proven it all season and I look for them to do it again.“They have a lot going for them with the chance to go 19-0,” Wells said. “I think they will be focused on doing that.”Wells said he is pulling for the Giants.“I think it will be a good game and that’s what I’m hoping for, but I think the Patriots will pull it out. I would like to see the Giants win, but I feel the Patriots will take it.”Kickoff is set for 6:17 p.m., with the game carried on the FOX Network, Lancaster cable channel 11.Indian Land High School coach Mike Mayer said he’s not overly excited about the game because neither team ranks among his all-time NFL favorites.“I guess I’m looking more forward to the commercials,” Mayer said. “Sometimes the game is a dud, but the commercials are always good. It would be good to have a close, exciting football game. I’d like to see it go to the wire.”As for a game favorite, Mayer is picking the Patriots, who are looking to be the NFL’s first unbeaten team since the 1972 Miami Dolphins.“It’s like in high school football in this state,” Mayer said. “There’s Byrnes High School and then there’s all the rest. In the NFL, there’s the Patriots and all the rest.”Mayer added the Giants can’t be ignored.“The Patriots’ unbeaten streak is impressive, but the fact that the Giants have won 10 straight road games ranks up there, too,” Mayer said. “The Giants have something to play for, but I feel the Patriots will do what they have to do in order to win.”Departing Andrew Jackson High School head football coach Ernie Hughes, who resigned his Vols’ post in late November, also called for a Patriots’ win.“It’s hard to pick against them because they have clearly been the dominant team in the NFL and I don’t see that changing,” Hughes said. “I think they have too many weapons and too much chemistry. I really don’t see them being overconfident at this point.”Hughes noted the Giants have three key areas where they have to be successful to enhance their upset hopes.“They have to run the football well and Eli Manning has to continue to be good and not make mistakes,” he said. “On defense, they have to keep the pressure on Tom Brady.”Lancaster High School head coach Bennie McMurray said he’s backing the Giants, but picking the Patriots to win.“I always go with the underdog, but the Patriots are the dominant team,” McMurray said. “They have so much going for them – unbeaten record and great players, but at the same time, when you get to this point in a Super Bowl, anything can happen. I feel it will be a good football game.”