On a beautiful Friday night in front of a packed Homecoming crowd at Centennial, we lost a hard-fought game to a well-coached, physical football team that took advantage of moments throughout the game. After a first half where we came out lethargically and fell behind 14-0, we battled but could not overcome the deficit, losing by a seven-point margin 21 - 14.
Offensively, we started very poorly with four consecutive three and outs and could not get any momentum going at the outset. After that, we found our rhythm and moved the ball throughout, but failed on finishing two of our four drives that got down inside our opponent's ten which ended up being the difference in the game. As the game progressed, our offensive line did a nice job opening holes for our backs as we primarily used the run to move the ball in the second half. Cooper Wegscheid and Nate Elmes were able to run for 70 and 60 yards respectively, with Elmes scoring two touchdowns. This team is one that has to take advantage of short fields and capitalize on opportunities given to them. We did not take advantage of a great opportunity given to us by the defense early in the game, and that came back to haunt us down the road.
Defensively, we learned the value in preparation and believing in your teammates, as we failed in our responsibilities in a couple of key moments during the game which led to big plays. Centennial challenges you mentally on every snap, and if you do not believe in your responsibilities, they are a team that takes advantage of that. Our effort all night was great, but we learned just how important doing your job is and it will pay big dividends down the road as we enter that playoff season. Joe Schmidt and Anthony Gipson led this unit with 11 and 10 tackles respectively, and Brandon Bortnem had 7 tackles and a long fumble return. This group still is doing great things, and we just have to do a better job playing fast, but staying within ourselves and believing in what we do. If we do that, the sky is the limit for this group!
Our Special teams had its highs and lows this week. Our kickoff coverage team did a great job keeping their return team to less than 10 yards a return, and our punt return team's Nate Ross averaged over 15 yards a return. Also, Micah Vayee learned how explosive he could be with a fifty-yard kickoff return starting the second half that put us in Centennial territory. As long as we keep competing, this facet could be a strength for us as the year progresses.
This upcoming week we play our rival Osseo in the Grove, so it should be a blast! It's a big game for us as we need to rebound after a tough loss this week. With only three games remaining in the regular season, we have to be closing in on playing our best at this point. Hopefully, the enthusiasm behind this game will lead us and we will play a great game for our home crowd! They are a much-improved team this year, but I love the attitude of the kids right now as we head into this game! It's time to go out there and claim the rivalry game! Let's get 'The Grove' rockin'! Go Crimson!