What a great week it was! We were able to complete a phenomenal Homecoming week of school with a hard fought victory over Blaine 17-7. Even though there were many areas where we can improve, I was proud of the boy's effort on the field and in preparation all week, so it was great to win a 2nd in a row and keep it rolling.
Offensively, we improved off of last week's game and was able to control the clock and field position much of the game. We opened the game with a 17 play drive that took ten minutes, but we got only 3 points out of it, so we need to focus on how to finish drives. Nate Elmes had another strong game with 2 TD's rushing and over 170 yards passing, while Spencer Wherry had over 100 yards of total offense as well. Our offensive line is improving weekly which is awesome to see because so much of what we have done the past two weeks is new. They are a work in progress, but are getting better every day we set foot on the field.
Defensively, we found a way to hold them to seven points, buckling down when the time was needed. Anthony Gipson had another strong game with 4 tackles for loss, Jaden Matchette had 8 total tackles, and Aaron Tollefson collected his 2nd interception of the year. This group continues to do great things but know they can be a lot better as the year progresses. They faced a challenging opponent last week that put us in tough situations, and they face another next week that will make them prepare even harder because they make opponents defend something quite different. I can't wait to see this group prepare this week and I hope their confidence is growing by the day.
Special teams wise, Spencer Wherry has been a surprising asset for us with his field goal kicking. He made his only field-goal attempt last week, and put both his extra points right through the middle. I also was very proud of Daniel Baltes punting last weekend because he had a couple punts that were frustrating for him early in the game but he finished with two unbelievable punts that pinned them inside the ten for their last two possessions. That was huge! It was great to see his resilience through the ups and downs of this sport showing he will be somebody that will do great things for us down the road.
Next week we go back on the road against a very good Centennial team. They are only a couple breaks away from being an undefeated team and they are very well-coached. Year in and year out, they always are one of the most hard-nosed teams we face and they will keep coming after you play in and play out. It will take a great week from us, but I know the kids are ready for it. As many people know, I love the momentum of 3's. I think a 3 score lead is hard to overcome, a defense that produces three and outs provides unbelievable momentum, and winning three games in a row makes winning a habit for a team and not just a happening. This should be another opportunity for us to get significantly better and go into a hostile environment against a very good opponent and play our best! We need all of Maple Grove to fill up our end because we need your noise to drown out the homecoming crowd that will be Centennial's. This is a game we need to bring great belief and enthusiasm. It will be a blast, so let's get preparing for the opener of the 2nd half of our regular season! Go Crimson!