Football preview: Homecoming handfulPublished 10:16am Thursday, October 3, 2013
It was a tumultuous week for the three Fergus Falls teams as the Fergus Falls Otters, Hillcrest Comets and M State Spartans were all on the losing end of the field.
This week several teams will be hosting homecoming games in the area, including the Otters and Comets.
The Otters played a solid first half of football against the St. Cloud Apollo Eagles trailing 14-12, but at half, the hosting Eagles were able to exploit turnovers and penalties to seal a Central Lakes Conference win 31-12.
The Otters now celebrate homecoming week, but they will not get a creampuff for an opponent as the Moorhead Spuds visit Fergus Falls. With rain predicted, head coach Steve Olson has worked on preparing his team to play fundamental and disciplined football.
Fergus will also look to avoid the distraction of homecoming week and focus solely on the Spuds.
“We’ve stressed to them this week that as a team, the only thing that matters for homecoming is the football game,” Olson said. “When they look back at their homecoming 20 years from now the only thing they will remember is the game.”
The Spuds will look to rely on the offensive attack of Jade and Brett Lawrence. The duo delivers constant panic to defenses as Jade is a dangerous rusher, while Brett’s six-foot five-inch frame has helped the Spuds stretch the field against opponents.
On the defensive side, the Spuds look for solid linebacking play to carry its defense.The Comets will have equally as tough a draw as it hosts Section 4 rival Underwood for its homecoming game.
Hillcrest looks to rebound after falling to Ortonville, but head coach Charlie Brue knows that his defense will need to slow down the rushing attack of the Rockets in order to be successful.
“The weather probably won’t be great, so we will need to grind it out,” Brue said. “It will be a game fought in the trenches.
The Rockets are coming off 42-20 win over the Bertha-Hewitt Bears that saw runningback Noah Thompson break the school rushing record with 313 yards russhings and three touchdowns.
Brue has also talked to his team about the interference of homecomings outside recreation.
“When it’s time for homecoming fun, they will be involved. When it’s time for working on football, they will be working on football. They seemed pretty intent on keeping focus,” Brue said.
The M State Spartans have had a rough road since game one and this week’s opponent in No. 13 ranked Rochester Yellowjackets is no easier.
The Spartans started out a tough contest against a well-coached Central Lakes team with an offensive spark, but turnovers in the second half allowed the game to slip out of its hands as M State fell 40-23.
Rochester’s Alexander Schliesmann is one of the top runningbacks in the NJCAA, averaging 133 yards per game. The Spartan defense will need to become stout as they have allowed the second most rushing yards in the Minnesota College Athletic Conference Southern Division.
On the offensive side, the M State Spartans will have to find a solid game plan if they are going to move the ball against the top-rated defense in all of the MCAC.
With a healthy offensive line, the Spartans hope that the hiccups on both sides of the ball are finally gone.
The Otters and Comets are not the only teams celebrating homecoming this week as the Otter Tail Central Bulldogs, Ashby Arrows, Rothsay Tigers, Perham Yellowjackets, Pelican Rapids Vikings and New York Mills Eagles will all be celebrating.
This is expected to be a jammed packed week for all sports in the area, culminating with some great football action on Friday evening.
The Otters and Comets will both play Friday at 7 p.m., while the Spartans will see a 2 p.m. Saturday kickoff.