Shhh! Don't tell the football players for Camanche and Morrison how good their opponents tonight are. Their coaches certainly are keeping the news a secret.

But if you don't think the Indians and Mustangs are aware that they have huge challenges ahead of them, you will probably believe the most far-fetched fables in football lore.

Both area squads take on No. 1-ranked teams in their respective states.

Camanche travels to Williamsburg to face the Raiders (3-0), ranked No. 1 in the Iowa Associated Press Class 2A rankings.

"We actually didn't tell them they're ranked Number One," Camanche Coach Dustin Coit said. "With social media and all that, I'm sure the kids know. We just told them they're good, and we've got to be ready to go. We've got to be prepared."

In Illinois, the Mustangs welcome Class 2A No. 1 Sterling Newman in a matchup of 3-0 teams.

"To you the truth, the phrase No. 1 team hasn't come up," Morrison Coach Cory Bielema said.

In Illinois, all you have to do is say the name Newman and ears perk up. In 37 seasons under Coach Mike Papoccia, the Comets have won as many state titles (five) as they have had losing seasons.

"I think it's just in itself enough to know that on the schedule it says it's Newman for that week, and whether they're No. 1 or whatever else is going on, that's enough for us," Bielema said. "We know the caliber of football they bring.

"We haven't looked at any AP rankings or that type of stuff. We haven't talked about any type of glass slippers and Goliaths or anything like that. Simply, it's going to be Friday night, it's going to be us against Newman. They know the kids from Newman as well as anywhere else, and it's going to be that challenge on more of a personal level than kind of the glitz and glam and that."

Even if Papoccia brought an 0-3 team to Morrison, it would have the Mustangs' respect.

"I would say so," Bielema said. "I would like to see that 0-and-3 Newman team at some point, however."

The mood might be a bit different for the Mustangs this year, however. Coming off four consecutive losing seasons, Morrison already has equaled its win total from each of the previous two seasons. And it combined for just three wins in the two seasons before that.

"We've brought everything we've had to that game in years past," Bielema said. "In the last few years where we've had struggles, we just haven't been able to maintain it for a full four quarters. That's the game. That's why you play four quarters.

"We're going to see if we can do that and get Newman to play maybe our style a little bit, and who knows, maybe put some pressure on them — they haven't had that — and see if we can find some cracks in the foundation once that happens, and maybe good things will happen."

This one might have more of the atmosphere of those battles between the Comets and Mustangs from 2009 through 2011 when Morrison won two Class 2A state titles and went 37-3 — with all three losses to Newman — and the Comets captured the other 2A crown, in 2010.

Both Morrison and Camanche are in a rugged portion of their schedules. After facing Newman tonight, the Mustangs play host to Class 1A No. 4 Fulton next Friday in Morrison. As for Camanche, Williamsburg is the followup after losing 69-0 last Friday to a Mount Vernon team that is ranked fifth in Class 2A.

"We didn't get any favors with Mount Vernon and Williamsburg back to back, two top-five teams in the state," Coit said of the scheduling. "Based on the film we got and seeing Mount Vernon live, I actually think Mount Vernon is better, but I guess I'll find out (tonight) who the better team is.

"We've had a pretty good week of practice. The kids have been working hard. We've just got to go there and play our best and compete, and you never know what will happen."

And that's why neither coach is discussing rankings with his players.