L/P still searching for division win
By Scott A. Kolb
HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
Three straight losses have left the Lyle/Austin Pacelli football team in search of its first win in the Southern Confederacy, East Division.
After a pair of losses in their new home at the Southland Athletic Field over the past couple of weeks, the Lyle/Pacelli Athletics will go on the road Friday night to play Grand Meadow. These two teams haven’t played in three years, and it will also be homecoming for the Grand Meadow SuperLarks.
Defense has been a problem for the Athletics during their losing streak. Mabel-Canton, Spring Grove, and LeRoy-Ostrander all scored 30-plus points in wins over L/P. Opposing teams have the run ball almost at will against the Athletics.
"What I was most disappointed about on defense last week was that L-O marched right down the field on the first drive and scored," L/P coach Mark Buntje said. "We weren’t ready to play and fell behind by three touchdowns in the first half. We come out with more intensity and have a better overall effort."
Grand Meadow coach Gary Sloan has always had one big running back to guide the offense, but this year there are more options. The SuperLarks have a balanced ground attack and a scrambling quarterback who can throw touchdown passes.
The balance showed for Grand Meadow in last week’s win over Alden-Conger. Kory Faulhaber had 92 yards rushing and a touchdown run, Josh Bain had 76 yards rushing with a touchdown, and Justin Bain had 75 yards on the ground with a touchdown. SuperLarks quarterback C.J. Inglebret threw a touchdown pass and had a couple of keys runs to keep drives alive on fourth-down conversions.
"Their quarterback likes to run and Inglebret is the guy we have to focus on," Buntje said. "Our ends have to stay home, because he likes to run the bootleg. They’re really balanced, so we can’t key on just one guy."
Not only will this be the renewal of an old rivalry for the L/P boys, but it will also be their first trip to the new Grand Meadow Field. The SuperLarks are 2-0 this season on their new football field by the high school.
If the Athletics are to break their losing skid and finally win a division game, they must run the ball against the SuperLarks defense. Last week, the Athletics barely cracked the 100-yard plateau on the ground. L/P leading rusher Tim Sheedy had only 48 yards on 17 carries in the loss to L-O.
"We did a terrible job of blocking last week, and that can’t happen again," Buntje said. "The guys haven’t come together as a group and played a complete game. If they can ever do that, then we’ll have a chance.
"We have to stay balanced on offense, and take what they give us. They’re really aggressive on defense, and they’re going to come at us. We can’t turn the ball over and make mistakes. That will be the key is to get off to a good start, then maybe our kids will get some confidence."