AUSTIN EDITION L/P tries to run streak to 4

By Scott A. Kolb

The formula is simple for Lyle/Austin Pacelli football: Win on Wednesday night against Alden-Conger and play at home in the first round of the section playoffs.

A loss by Lyle/Pacelli at home in the final regular season game, means the Athletics will be on the road in the playoffs next Tuesday night. A victory would mean a four-game winning streak heading to the post-season and either a third or fourth seed in the section.

"There's a lot of incentive to win this game, we'd much rather stay at home next Tuesday than be on the road," L/P coach Mark Buntje said. "We need to take care of business on our home field. We've played well at home this year and that hasn't always been the case."


L/P is 2-1 at home this season, with the only loss coming to third-ranked Nicollet. There is even more incentive for the L/P boys to do well in front of their home fans.

Senior running back Chris Bergstrom has 929 rushing yards on the season. Bergstrom led the Southern Confederacy in rushing two years ago with over 1,400 yards.

If Bergstrom can gain 71 yards, then he'll join fellow running back Kellen Blaser in crossing the millennium mark. Blaser already has 1,023 yards on the season.

"Bergstrom sprained his ankle a few weeks back at Cleveland, but he's moving a lot better and had over 100 yards rushing last week," Buntje said. "If Chris can get those 71 yards, then that will be the first time in my 18 years of coaching at Lyle that we've two 1,000 yard backs.

"Alden-Conger has always stacked a lot of people up front and dared us to pass it, so we'll see how the running game goes. Our gameplan is to run, but we won't be afraid to put the ball up if the receivers are open."

The rushing attack has been the focus of opposing defenses and in the last few games, that's opened up big pass-play opportunities for L/P quarterback Caleb Martin. Jake Burzinski caught a long scoring strike from Martin two weeks ago on homecoming and the week before at Cleveland, Nick Ehret grabbed a touchdown bomb from Martin.

Last week against Granada-Huntley/East Chain/Martin Luther, the L/P quarterback completed a 31-yard pass to Pat Sheehan to set-up one touchdown. Later in the first half, Burzinski caught a 32-yard pass from Martin which led to another score. The air game could take flight in the regular season finale.

"Caleb has improved in every game and he's been finding Nick and Jake, so they're happy," Buntje said. "We might have to throw it more to open up the run. The guys have been playing with a lot of poise and we didn't panic after falling behind early last week. It would be nice to have a four-game winning streak to end the regular season."


Extending the winning streak not only depends on the productive offense, but also on the L/P defense. The defense held GHECML to only four first downs and 148 total yards of offense last week.

Finishing the season with a win won't be easy as the A-C Knights have some offensive weapons. Scott Martinson is the Knights quarterback and he likes to wing the ball down the field. Jason Hemmingsen had 1,000 rushing last year and he's also back.

"We have our work cut out for us on defense," Buntje concluded. "The secondary has to stay focused and not give up the big plays. They beat Cleveland and GHECML by larger margins than we did, so they can score points. If we come ready to play, then we should beat them for the third straight year."

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