WEEK 4 PREPARATION FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Greyhounds seek revenge for last season’s loss to Sleepy Eye | News, Sports, Jobs
By Jim Bastien
Newspaper sports editor
NEW ULM – Week four of the high school football season has only the New Ulm Eagles locally enjoying home cooking as they host Luverne Friday night at 7 p.m. on the New Ulm High School field for the return to the home.
Ulm’s New Minster heads west to Sleepy Eye to fight off the Indians.
Minnesota Valley Lutheran has an afternoon matinee at 3 p.m. Saturday in Wabasso.
NEW ULM CATHEDRAL (1-2) AT SLEEPY EYE PUBLIC (0-3) 7 PM FRIDAY
Ulm’s New Minster come into this game fresh off a 29-28 overtime win over St. James Area, while Sleepy Eye look to bounce back from a 35-8 road loss to Adrian.
New Ulm Minster head football coach Denny Lux says the Indians are a very good ball-chasing team defensively.
“They take good angles to the ball carrier and they put a lot of pressure from inside going up the middle with their defensive tackles and nose guards,” Lux said. “Then offensively they come out of formation I and they take their guards out. They ran Formation I last year with their dual location.
“These are things that we will see in our next games. They played a good defensive game against us last year (18-8 win for Sleepy Eye) and we are watching a film of that game. They are disciplined. Coach Joe Hoffmann is doing a good job with their defense.
Offensively, Lux feels the Greyhounds need to involve their backfield in their blocking plans.
“We have to make sure they stay on their blocks. Throughout, we’re doing a good job up front on our blocking systems – we just need to get better in the backfield.
Lux was very pleased with his special teams play in the one-point overtime win over St. James.
“They did a great job,” he said. “We blocked a punt, we blocked a basket and we made our extra points. We ran the swinging door and got a 2 point conversion from that. Our kickoff return has been pretty solid all year. Those things kept us in position to win the game.‘
Lux said last week’s win was huge.
“We felt we didn’t play a full game at the start of the season against YME and then we couldn’t match the speed of Springfield. This victory was important because we had to defend our ground and make sure that if we play hard the whole game, we have a chance to win at the end of the game.
“We may have some talent that is on our sidelines now that we can step onto the pitch and create one-sided players. That would be a plus for us, because when you start to burn out and get tired, you lose focus and that takes away confidence.
MINNESOTA VALLEY LUTHERAN (2-1) AT WABASSO (0-3) 3 PM SATURDAY
MVL head football coach Jim Buboltz said Wabasso is a young team that is excited to play.
“They will try to scatter you with their attack and run underneath,” he said. “They’re pretty even in run-pass, but overall they try to scatter you (defensively) and make you feel uncomfortable.”
Now 2-1 after a tough 13-6 loss last week to Martin County West, Buboltz said while this loss stings, it will also be a loss that will help the Chargers focus.
“We have to learn how to finish practices and finish games,” he said. “And that’s early in the year – I’d rather have that kind of loss in week 3 than week 10. We’ll learn from that and improve.
“Even in defeat we learned a lot and because of that we see that leadership coming out. They want to improve – they wanted to come back to training this week very focused.
Buboltz reiterated that the Chargers have plenty of weapons in their arsenal, from running backs to wide receivers to linemen.
“The biggest thing was Cole (Thompson) becoming a quarterback. You take a player who would probably have rewritten the receiving record book and be a receiver in college. You’re asking him to make this change because he’s such a special athlete.
“He’s doing this because he’s willing to sacrifice personal goals for the team. He’s going to keep improving there too.
Buboltz also sang the praises of his team’s defense.
“Most of the time, keeping a team at 13 points gets you a win,” he said. “We have Landen (Merseth) there, with Malachi (Kohls) and then the athletes we have on the outside. We have areas where we will continue to improve, but our defense is going to keep us in many games.
“Our defense only gave up a first down in the first half but we only had 6 points on the board in the first half. We controlled the time of possession, but we need to put more points on the board We have to finish.
LUVERNE (2-1) AT NEW ULM HIGH SCHOOL (0-3) FRIDAY 7 PM (RETURN)
New Ulm High School head football coach Derek Lieser said visiting Cardinals will do a number of different things to get the ball to their playmakers.
“They have a few guys they like to move, (Jayson Rops) will line up as a quarterback, tight end, running back or receiver,” Rieser said. “I think they want to be a racing team first, but they will try to take a few hits on the field. Above all, they want to run the ball, but they will try to be explosive with the pass.
And that concerns Lieser.
“We’ve shown that we’re not consistently good enough defensively or offensively (being outscored 133-20 in three games). We have way too many games where we have 10 guys doing their job and one not doing it. It shows that football is a team game. In basketball, a player can take control of a game, but that’s harder to do in football because there are more players on the court.
“So right now we’re trying to find ways to get the 11 guys on the pitch doing their job both in defense and in attack. It’s just simple things like defensive guys taking a block with their bad shoulder or they’re filling in the wrong space and leaving their space open. It’s a mix of offensive and defensive mistakes. We have lots of young children playing. We are not a very experienced team and we are not a senior-run team. So we’re going through these growing pains.
Lieser is sad that the Eagles have faced three good teams in their first three games that have combined 7-2 records.
“We were beaten by three good teams, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still succeed,” Lieser said. “We keep trying to grow in training and how we correct our mistakes.”