Everybody has their list of Stephenville wins if and Rider wins if.

Strange - those lists.

They are always so obvious.

Stephenville wins if “The Wall” takes the game over in the second half the way it did way back in September in Wichita Falls.

OK. No secret there.

Rider wins if the Raider defense can put forth a performance resembling that of its 2006 stop unit that ended Stephenville's season.

Yeah, true. We all know that.

Stephenville wins if Rider turns the ball over six times like the Raiders did back in meeting No. 4.

Of course they do. Don't these lists always include turnovers?

Rider wins if Shavodrick Beaver can hit Eric Ward over the middle the way Sedrick Harris did against the Jackets two weeks ago.

Obviously. We already saw how that played out.

The thing about these lists is that you can shuffle around the team names and the “ifs,” and they still work the same.

I mean, Rider surely wins if the Jackets turn the ball over six times,too, right?

Anytime two evenly matched, high-caliber football teams confront one another in an important battle, it's not about the ifs, but about who makes the plays.

Yep. It's that simple.

Just ask Coach Morris in Stephenville. After any big game he'll tell you, we just made the big plays tonight, or vice versa.

Stephenville made the big plays in week three. There was a 62-yard punt return by Cody Davis, a statue of liberty that resulted in a touchdown run by Brad Mills, and a fourth down conversion on a fake punt run by Cody Wood.

Rider made the plays in the 2006 postseason battle. Markelle Martin returned an interception for a touchdown and Eric Ward hauled in a game winning reception on a pass from Shavodrick Beaver.

Plays. Not many - just two or three tops. Make them and win, miss them and lose. In playoff football it's just that simple.

One team is going to make the big plays and move on to face the least awful team from out west.

One team is going to suffer a bad bounce, be a fraction of a second late reacting, or just get caught a step out of position, and give up the big plays instead of making them.

Tonight the playmakers will indeed be the better team, and serve justice to the unfortunate loser who begins a long offseason with nothing but their if list to keep them company.

For that team, justice in Justin will be a dish served cold.