Approaching Friday night and executing when called upon. It's taken for granted in many ways when a team seems to be rolling, but it becomes apparent when we do not handle the things we control series after series during a game in the balance. This was the case last Friday against an experienced and talented Champlin Park team and they took advantage of the opportunities we gave them as coaches and players throughout the night. This truly is the youngest team I have ever coached, so nights like this are many times needed for everyone to realize the importance of the little details that make a difference play in and play out. It's a lesson needed not only for young players, but us as coaches well. It was something that happened at the hands of a 25-24 loss to Champlin, and many lessons were learned on the following Saturday as we watched film together as a team. Our effort was never in question that night, but the lack of little things necessary for great outcomes were exposed as we found ways to put ourselves in bad spots repeatedly throughout the night.
Offensively, we struggled moving the ball methodically as we depended on big plays too much during the night. Sophomore Kaden Harney did a nice job leading the team and put us in situations to keep moving the chains, but was the victim of a few third down drops that would have gotten big first downs. He still was able to throw for 143 total yards and a touchdown and keeps improving in his role as a Sophomore quarterback. Junior Chuck Langama continues making an impact as he rushed for 133 yards and a TD while accumulating another 31 yards receiving. Also, Bo Draheim made an impact in his limited offensive snaps and scored two touchdowns both in receiving and rushing. This groups keeps coming together, but we have to grow the ability to maintain a drive more consistently. It will come, but it is an area we constantly will strive to improve.
Defensively, our youth was exposed by simple details we failed upon during the night. Great effort was played with the whole night, but the little things that ensure defensive success we struggled at as the game became more and more at risk. This group still will be very good in time. We have 9 starters that are Sophomores and Juniors in this group and they will keep getting better and better. Senior Henry Stang led the team with 10 total tackles, while Juniors Bo Draheim and Sam Hanson each had 8 tackles. I look forward to seeing this side of the ball develop because they will become a special group by the end of the season. I truly believe that.
Our Special Teams had highs and lows all night. Junior Henry Sievers connected on a field goal and all three of his extra points. He also clicked off a few specialty kicks on kickoffs. However, our coverage team on kickoff has to improve, and we made some bad decisions on Punt Return that allowed possessions to continue for Champlin. This is a very under appreciated part of football, but it had a huge impact on the game Friday night.
Next week we will be playing a top ten team in Centennial Thursday night at The Grove. They have a ton of experience and play physically, so I can't wait to play them. They will provide challenges for us that will help us develop quickly. Our goals as a team are still in front of us, and hopefully the loss last Friday night will allow a ton of learning to take place for our squad. Every game we play should keep making us better and better so we will be flying by about week six, a couple weeks ahead of our playoff run. This group still has a chance to be great, but the growth that is needed by us as a team is so critical for our success. This is a great group to coach and I know there is a ton in there that is still left untapped. It is so exciting seeing them figure all this out throughout this season. Many times the joys of victory have to come from the feelings of defeat. This team still has a ton to shoot for. Now let's do those little things and believe in one another because great things are in front of us! GO CRIMSON!