Preview; Lourdes’ opponent averaging 50+ points a game

By Paul Christian


Here we go again.

Last year at this time, Rochester Lourdes was preparing to play Minneapolis De La Salle in a Class AAA state quarterfinal.

The same teams will meet again this year, but this time at a different location: Macalester College in St. Paul.


Last year De La Salle entered with a 9-2 record and was averaging 40 points per game.

This year the top-ranked Islanders are 11-0 and, gulp, averaging a mind-boggling 53.5 points.

"We’re explosive on offense; anytime you score that many points, but it’s also kind of deceiving," said fourth-year Islanders coach Dick Weinberger. "You have to understand that we’ve scored a lot of those points on defense and also on special teams; all three phases of the game. It’s not all about offense."

Still, the Islanders are loaded.

Senior quarterback Michael Van Leer has completed 69 of 133 passes for 1,193 yards and 19 touchdowns, with only four interceptions.

Halfback Evan Williams has 131 carries for 1,431 yards and 24 touchdowns, while fullback Adam Coleman has rushed for 315 yards on 31 trips.

Last year, wide receiver A.J. Barker grabbed four passes for 95 yards against Lourdes, including a pair of touchdowns, of 56 and 26 yards.

He’s back as well.


Last year, Islanders halfback Jeremy Randle rushed for 223 yards on 28 carries and three touchdowns (17, 39 and 11 yards). He graduated, and currently is being redshirted at Concordia-St. Paul.

Williams, a 6-0, 185-pound junior, is picking up where Randle left off.

"He’s Division One," said Weinberger.

The fewest points De La Salle has scored this year is 34, in a 34-14 win over Saint Croix Lutheran in the second game of the season. In the Section Four, Class AAA semifinal, De La Salle beat Saint Croix again, this time 48-20.

The Islanders have scored in the 50s three times, twice in the 60s, and against Blake, won 75-13.

In the three playoff games, they’re averaging — are you ready — 57.5 points.

"We have a nice mix of juniors and seniors," said Weinberger. "We’re not a big school, and fortunately our junior class filled in with the needs of the graduating seniors.

"Plus, we’ve stayed healthy, and that’s key to a small school. The kids have stayed focused and have worked hard, and now have a chance to get back to the Metrodome."


Last year, De La Salle advanced to the Class AAA championship before falling to Glencoe-Silver Lake, 56-20.

"They have quite the team; it’s going to be another big challenge," said Lourdes coach Mike Kesler. "We’re going to have our hands full again."

The Eagles know something about challenges. Counting De La Salle, the last three games Lourdes has played have been against teams with a combined total of one loss — Kasson-Mantorville was 8-1 in the section semifinal, and last week Plainview-Elgin-Millville was 10-0.

And De La Salle is 11-0.

"They had a lot of big plays against us last year," said Kesler, "and, obviously, we can’t allow them again. We have to move the chains, keep the ball away from them, and probably the biggest thing is eliminate turnovers.

"We had five the last time and we simply can’t do that again. But we have a good feel for them."

Lourdes trailed by only five points — 21-16 — with five minutes left. De La Salle eventually won 35-16, scoring two late touchdowns.

The final score was deceiving, said Kesler. "We were down by five with a first-and-10 at their 50. Heck, we would take that again; same situation and go from there."

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