|11/13/2020 2:20:00 PM|
Not a typical season but the Pointers are moving to playoffs
In Mineral Point football coach Andy Palzkill's eyes his team deserved better.
The Pointers ran the table, going undefeated in five games in a schedule where they had to face area powers River Valley, Lake Mills and Lancaster. But that did not transform into a conference championship.
Because there was no conference according to those who combined for a schedule.
"I am beyond upset about this and it has been festering inside of me since the conference decided to allow Mineral Point and Darlington as non-conference members only," Palzkill said. "In this day in age, it is unbelievable that a group of administrators would make a decision of this nature. As coaches and administrators, providing students with opportunities for success is the priority. Working together to provide these opportunities for our neighbors in Southwest Wisconsin should have been the goal.......especially considering the times we are facing."
He also feels the players who worked their way to an undefeated are being overlooked.
"It is unfortunate that our athletes are unable to claim a conference championship. It is a shame that our athletes will not be considered for all-conference recognition," said Palzkill. "The selfish motives of some have taken away opportunities for the Darlington and Mineral Point student-athletes. As a result, I am truly sorry for these young men and I wish there was something I could do for both teams. This is a situation that has made me lose faith in the system. Who is the conference champion in the SWC for the 2020 football season?"
He also questions how the WIAA arrived at a "culminating event" by taking all who wanted to play in the post season regardless of record. There are several teams in all six divisions who have not won a game.
Instead of putting the top teams together for a true play-off scenario the WIAA created four team pods and seeded them #1,#2,#3 and #4. Palzkill feels that did little for a true competitive play-off.
"The four team pod that we are involved in is not as competitive as we had hoped for," Palzkill said. "I want to make it clear that we do respect Palmyra-Eagle, Waterloo, and Cambridge. However, there is not necessarily a culmination for us in the particular pod. We will enjoy the opportunity to compete, but we wish things would have been set up differently. I feel like our young men deserve to be in a pod consisting of the best teams in the state."
But that does not mean the Pointers are not happy to be there and secure the #1 seed. With that they are facing #4 Palmyra Eagle (2-5) Friday in a home match-up.
"Palmyra-Eagle has great team size and they will show us a variety of formations," Palzkill said. "They primarily look to run the ball. We will spend the week of practice improving on our technique and continuing to work on playing lower and maintaining our athletic stances throughout a play. We will continue to get better and enjoy being together as a football team the next two weeks."
The last domino to fall in regular season for the Pointers was Lancaster who the Pointers disposed of 42-20 Friday.
Lancaster, a pound it down your throat team the past several seasons, has gone to the airways more this season and two of their aerial leaders hooked up for the first score of the game. Quarterback Hayden Knapp lofted a ball just past the defender and into the hands of Flying Arrows teammate 6-5 Hayden Wagner. The score came at 7:44 and with the conversion the score was 7-0.
The Pointers got untracked when quarterback Liam Stumpf explored the left side and cruised for a 42 yard score. Bo Hanson, who kicked all the extra points again for the Pointers split the uprights to make to 7-7.
The Pointers found another weapon when Stumpf hit Joah Filardo for a second quarter score three minutes before intermission for a 14-7 first half lead.
Dominick McVay stopped a potential Arrows score in the third quarter with an interception in the end zone and Stumpf quickly turned that opportunity into a score with a 77 yard scamper at 6:41. That took the lead to 21-7.
Next up was a Stumpf to McVay touchdown pass and a 28-7 lead with 2:42 left in the third.
Lancaster found the end zone at 10:11 in the final quarter but McVay lugged the ball 41 yards to set up a Stumpf touchdown at 7:38. The Pointers put on the finishing touches with 5:18 remaining and sealed the win with an 82 yard pass play involving McVay that moved the score to 42-14.
Lancaster had one last gasp when Preston Noethe took the kick-off and ran it for a late touchdown. McVay then blocked the extra point to send the Pointers to a 42-20 win.
The best way to beat the Arrows is have the most points at the final horn. In other words, that is the only time any lead is safe against them.
"Earning a win against Lancaster is never easy and we felt good about the victory," said Palzkill. "Overall, we played very good football and completed an undefeated season. Our kids deserve so much credit for how much they care about the Mineral Point football program. I am very proud of the athletes and our coaches."
One of the consistent things about the Pointers this year is having the players to be able to share the wealth.
"I know I have said this before, but what a luxury to have so many choices on offense," Palzkill said. "Liam was sensational and what an amazing night he had. He continues to develop as a quarterback and made so many good decisions with our offensive schemes."
"Dominik played the best game of his career. He was able to control the game defensively and his effort was tremendous throughout the game. I am very proud of him. Joah Filardo made big plays for us in the passing game and he is a dangerous weapon for us.," Palzkill continued.
"Will Straka continues to contribute by doing all of the intangible things such as spring Liam for two touchdown runs with his lead blocks. Will is the ultimate team player. He is the heart and soul of this football team."
It goes further for the Pointers than just the backs and receivers.
"The offensive line continues to play at a high level," Palzkill said. "We get outstanding performances from Nolan Springer, Gabe Sporle, Owen Ward, Mason Hughes, and Mitchell Aurit. This group understands our blocking schemes and communicates very well. They are the reason for the big runs you saw last Friday night."
On the other side of the football the defense came up with big stop after big stop.
"Coach Leonard does a fantastic job preparing our young men each week," Palzkill said. "It is truly impressive to watch him teach and instruct our players and then to watch them execute his game plan on the defensive side. Lancaster did not get anything easy the other night and scored on one offensive play and two special teams plays. From top to bottom, our defense is very stout and we do not have a weakness. It is very physical group and they have great overall discipline. Opposing offenses do not have a chance when we play well fundamentally."
The Pointers do not plan to alter their approach now that they are in play-off mode.
"We are approaching this week of football the way that we would approach any other week.," Palzkill said. "Our goal will be to prepare to best of our ability and to be 1-0 at the end of the week. I trust our players to work hard and perform at their best."
"Overall, I am so proud of this football team" Palzkill exclaimed. "They continue to stay positive and are great competitors. Just an amazing group of young men and thank you to the parents for helping foster the team philosophy that has made us successful."
Article Comment Submission Form