Football Preview: Making a playoff push [UPDATED]Published 9:13am Thursday, October 10, 2013 Updated 9:32am Thursday, October 10, 2013
Last week was not a very happy one for the Fergus Falls trifecta as its football teams suffered overwhelming losses.
The Otters and Comets saw its homecomings spoiled by historic rivals, while the Spartans saw the score spiral out of control as its opponent continued to run up the score.
The 2-4 Otters, after suffering a 35-7 loss to the Moorhead Spuds, are surprisingly still in the hunt for a home playoff game or a bye as its strength of schedule lends a hand in post season play.
“We have been updating them on our playoff possibilities for the past two weeks,” Otter coach Steve Olson said. “We are stressing that they still control their own destiny. We don’t have to worry about what any other team does just ourselves. If we can finish with 2 wins and end the regular season at 4-4, we will get a home playoff game.”
This week, Fergus will hit the road for a game against the winless Grand Rapids Thunderhawks. The Thunderhawks have been outscored by opponents 225-44 this season.
That is no reason for the Otters to underestimate its opponent as Grand Rapids was able to score 20 points on the Spuds and also played to a close 14-6 loss to Fergus last season.
The Thunderhawks are a power run team, using two-back pro-style offense, against its opponents.
The Otters will also get its first look against a 4-4 defense this season as Grand Rapids looks to shutdown the run with tough linebacker play.
The Hillcrest Comets will look to close the door on its home season as it welcomes in the Hancock Owls Friday.
The Comets saw the Underwood Rockets rain on its homecoming parade last week with a 55-38 win.
Head Coach Charlie Brue hopes to come out strong against the Owls as the early spark is what was lacking last week.
“We have to play better in the first half,” Brue said. “We need to sustain a drive in the first quarter. Defensively, we will work hard at containing their quarterback and covering their receivers.”
This game will also have an added incentive as the Comets are facing elimination for the Section 6 9-man playoffs. With only eight of the nine teams making the section tournament, the last two games are very important.
Hancock’s Taylor Holleman is a threat on the ground and in the air as the quarterback’s athletic ability has forced defenses to spy.
On offense, the Comets will need to straighten its blocking assignments in order to continue to put up points against an opponent that is still hungry for its first win of the season.
The M State Spartans want to put last week’s 91-7 loss to Rochester in its rearview mirror and have as it enters into its final home game against the Minnesota West Blue Jays.
The Blue Jays bring a blitz heavy 4-3 defense to the table that may prove to be its Achilles’ heel if caught out of position. The Spartan offense will look to exploit the aggressive defensive style with a few tricks of its own.
On defense, head coach Steve King looks to improve his squads run defense after giving up 382 yards on the ground last week. Minnesota West’s offensive identity is confusing as it looks to work a strong run game, while also spreading out the defense for shotgun passes.
In the area game of the week, the Perham Yellowjackets will travel to Detroit Lakes to take on Heart O’Lakes Conference foe Lakers.
The Yellowjackets will look to rebound this week on the road as it fell 34-14 to Thief River Falls last week in Perham’s homecoming.
Perham was unable to stop the Prowlers ground game from running around, past and even over Yellowjacket defenders as it finished with 308 yards and five touchdowns.
The Lakers, led by quarterback and all-time leading scorer Michael Herzog, will look to put pressure on the Yellowjacket defense. That isn’t the only weapon in the Laker arsenal as senior runningback Jarett Nosal forces opponent’s to pick their poison on every down.
Offensively, Perham will have to crack the Detroit Lakes front seven if they are going to end the Lakers winning streak over HOL opponents. Payton Jordahl and Nick Bahls will need to carry the load in order to open up the passing game from quarterback Eli Beachy.
The Otters, Comets and Yellowjackets will all play 7 p.m. Friday evening games, while the Spartans will host a 2:30 p.m. Saturday match up.