The Ridgefield and Staples football teams each ended 2015 on a sour note, mainly because of what took place on an October night in Westport.

Though the Tigers came away with an upset 31-27 win, they didn't qualify for the Class LL tournament despite holding the same 7-2 record as Staples due to the state's power-point system. The loss was he first of the season for the Wreckers, which pushed the them down the state standings and into a quarterfinal matchup with Darien that did not end well.

Both teams enter Friday's rematch at Tiger Hollow in a similar position. Whichever team comes away with the loss will be in serious jeopardy of missing the postseason.

“I live in Ridgefield; this has been a playoff game since last winter,” Wreckers coach Marce Petroccio said. “They're upset they beat us and didn't get into the playoffs, and last year we're upset that they beat us. There is no love lost . ... Our kids are excited and mentally prepared to go.”

The Tigers (3-2) and Wreckers (4-1) have both had to deal with injuries at the most important position. Ridgefield quarterback Drew Fowler — who torched the Staples defense to the tune of 350 yards and four touchdowns a year ago — suffered a shoulder injury Sept 16 and has not played since. Ridgefield coach Kevin Callahan said Fowler is questionable for tonight.

Greg Gatto has filled in for the Tigers and accounted for more than 400 total yards a 38-33 loss to Trinity Catholic last Saturday.

“I thought Greg did a great job last week,” Callahan said. “I think we'll try to be as diverse as possible on offense.”

Staples quarterback Andrew Speed also missed several games, including a 33-14 loss to Norwich Free Academy that has the Wreckers in must-win mode. Speed returned to the lineup against Stamford and will be a full go at Tiger Hollow.

As a whole, the Wreckers are returning bodies back into the lineup. Elliott Poulley got snaps at running back against Stamford last week, safety Brendan Massoud will likely suit up against the Tigers and receiver Max Lonergan may return after missing most of the first six weeks.

To prepare for the Tigers’ passing game, the Wreckers had assistant coach Ottis Lewis run routes against the secondary. The 6-foot-5 former Hofstra standout just happens to be the same height as Ridgefield playmaker Collin Lowe.

Lowe along with Chris Longo have formed a tremendous duo that enjoyed big days against the Wreckers in last year’s game.

“They're tall and they're long, which is a big benefit,” Callahan said. “Length is a big thing in football right now and they’re good athletes. They were thrown in the mix as sophomores and have played a lot of games.”

Petroccio hopes the best form of defense against the Tigers will be in the form of his offense, though. Sustaining drives behind its punishing running game will keep Ridgefield’s top threats on the sideline.

One team will walk off the Tigers field Friday with their postseason hopes intact. The others’ hopes will be on a thread.

"We've had that mindset since the lost to NFA; from here on out every game is a playoff game to make the state playoffs," Poulley said. "(Petroccio) has done a great job of hitting that home."

Game time at Tiger Hollow is set for 7 p.m. Staples hasn’t visited Ridgefield since 2014.

rlacey@bcnnew.com, twitter.com/ryanlacey11