There is an old adage that says adversity does not build character, it reveals it. Our team finds itself right there as we lost a tough hard fought battle against St. Michael-Albertville that got out of hand in the final minutes. I have heard many people say the score did not represent that game because it was a 7 - 6 battle well into the fourth quarter that ended with a 27 - 6 score.. However, I disagree with that. Momentum is a part of the game and the score represents STMA taking advantage of us playing on our heels and not keeping our composure during those moments. I take the blame for that as the coach and we will learn from that and hopefully turn the tide and do that to our opponents in upcoming weeks. In a game against a highly rated opponent, self-inflicted mistakes such as penalties, unforced fumbles and mental lapses will always come back to haunt you and last Thursday night was an example of that.
Offensively, we took the field for the first time with our new system and there were moments where we showed great things, but we did not show the ability to finish. Fumbles, penalties, and interceptions stopped many promising drives, and we could not execute as we were in STMA's territory with momentum on our side. We will get there. As the weeks go on, we will learn just how relentless we need to play to make this offense a game changer. Nate Elmes did some good things at quarterback running the option, showing the ability to pitch at the correct moments and battling for tough yards in big situations. He had over 170 yards of total offense with a touchdown throw. All of our turnovers had blame to go around as little things we can do will fix those errors, but the overall effort was great and strides were made. Owen Overlie and Nate Ross both made big catches and our offensive line did a good job coming off the ball and creating some movement. They will continue to get better and it will be fun to see them progress this year.
Defensively, we did a great job keeping us in the game throughout and truly only gave up a single touchdown until the big play in the final minute during a desperate time. It was fun to see three interceptions last week by Spencer Wherry, Jaden Matchette, and Aaron Tollefson and a fumble recovery by Sophomore Bryce Tiber giving our offense opportunities to score. This is a side of the ball that I know will make a huge impact for this team and I am not sure they even know how good they can be yet. Anthony Gipson had a huge game with 14 tackles in the middle while many players made plays that had a huge impact! Hopefully they learn to love the preparation necessary to be a great defense because they have the ability to do great things!
Our Special teams were led by punter Daniel Baltes' effort keeping the field position in our favor. He averaged over 34 yards a punt with zero returns to a team that has a very good punt returner. He did a great job keeping the ball away from him and keeping the field moving forward.
We have a long way to go this year and there is a ton of year still in front of us. An outcome that happened like last week falls on me and we will get the gameday attitude necessary to enjoy these moments in weeks to come. This team still has great things in front of us. They have great heart and are a great bunch of young men. Now it's our time to love these moments and turn our attitudes into a winning way. There is no pressure in something as joyous as Friday night! We need to PLAY like that! I can't wait for week two against a very good Totino-Grace team that took a final four team from last year to the brink. I believe both of those teams you see Friday Night in Fridley will be making noise at the end of the year, so it should be a fun one! Go Crimson! Let's have a blast on Friday night!