|10/11/2019 11:36:00 AM|
Pointers spoil Blugolds' undefeated season, look to Redbirds
Anyone wondering how the Mineral Point football team stacks up against the other teams in contention for the SWAL title will get that answer soon.
In fact, they got a preview of coming attractions Friday when the Pointers took on La Crosse Aquinas, one of three undefeated teams in the SWAL.
Now there are two undefeated SWAL teams....the Pointers and Lancaster. Those two are scheduled for a showdown in the league finale on October 18 at Lancaster.
But first the Pointers have to face Darlington this Friday while the Flying Arrows match up with Aquinas. It is a sure bet the Blugolds will still be smarting from the 52-22 loss the Pointers hung on them last Friday while the Redbirds will be looking to make a statement they are also a team that can play the game.
For the high school football fan it just does not get any better than that.
The Pointers had two things going for them against the Blugolds. The first was an explosive offense that resulted in the 52 points and a 250 yards in total offense difference. The Pointers put together 304 yards of passing offense with 242 additional on the ground to in 19 less plays.
In contrast, Aquinas totaled 296 yards, 63 passing and 233 rushing in 72 touches.
The second thing the Pointers had going for them was the return to duty by junior running back/middle linebacker Will Straka who missed the last two games with a leg injury. All Straka did in his return was average over 13 yards a carry as he picked up 109 on eight carries, score on a 77 yard burst and put down 16 Aquinas runners via tackles.
Straka's return and what it means to the team was not lost on Pointer head coach Andy Palzkill.
"Will Straka is a difference-maker for us," Palzkill said in a possible understatement. "He sets the tone for our defense and he is an outstanding player on offense. I was happy that Will was at 100% in terms of returning from his injury. We will need a healthy Will Straka down the stretch."
The Pointers opened scoring with a eight yard Isaac Lindsey pass to junior receiver Liam Stumpf and Bo Hanson kicked the point after.
Aquinas found the end zone before the quarter ended when Mason Viner finished a drive with a one yard plunge and Matt Reuteman kicked the conversion.
But from then on it was almost all Mineral Point.
Three second quarter scores orchestrated by senior signal caller Lindsey swelled the Pointer advantage to 26-7 at the half. Lindsey started it himself with a 13 yard scamper followed by a 67 yard race from scrimmage by sophomore Dominik McVay and then a Lindsey to Grant Bossert 19 yard pass.
The third quarter was all Mineral Point with McVay grabbing a pass and turning it into a 98 yard conversion and Straka taking off for his 78 yard race to the house to make it 38-7.
Aquinas pushed in a couple fourth quarter touchdowns, one on a one yard run by Reuteman and another on a one yard run by Will Cambio but if the Blugolds had any idea of a comeback Blaise Watters made them think otherwise.
Watters was the recipient of two touchdown passes from Lindsey, one for 48 yards and the other for 77 accounting for two more big plays. Watters was Lindsey's main target with six of Lindsey's completions for 163 yards. Lindsey made good on 11 of 16 for 304 total yards.
The defense also distinguished itself with many big contributions. Of Straka's 16 tackles, three were for loss. Gabe Sporle had 12 tackles, a sack and a tackle for loss. Mason Hughes had two sacks, a tackle for loss and seven total tackles. Nolan Springer had a tackle for loss and 10 total stops. Mitchell Aurit totaled nine tackles and Bo Hanson seven.
Grady Gorgen also got into the act with an interception as did Watters who had three tackles, two for losses.
Palzkill had plenty to talk about when it came to individual contributions.
First up...Lindsey and McVay.
"Isaac and Dominic have both been instrumental in our offense this year," Palzkill said. "Isaac was able to make all of the correct reads Friday night and did a great job of getting the ball to the correct player. I have so much trust in Isaac and he makes our RPO game go and he completely understands our offense. "
"Dominik's big run was set up by a tweak in our blocking scheme," Palzkill added. "He hit the hole hard and was able to run through a tackler before using his speed to reach the end zone. We are very lucky to be able to rotate two backs like Dominik and Will. Both are outstanding players and compliment each other in terms of their styles in the backfield."
"Blaise had an amazing night on Friday.," added Palzkill. "He is a great defender and obviously a great player offensively. When we talk about speed, some athletes have game speed, which means they are faster when they have pads on in a football game. Blaise is very fast, but he does get faster in football situations. He is the kind of guy that you just want to get into space and let him make plays. That is exactly what happened Friday night. Once again, we are fortunate to have Liam Stumpf and Dominik also play at the slot position so defenses have to play honest. These three all take their turns having big plays and I can't say enough good things about Blaise, Liam, and Dominik."
Scouting the Blugolds helped the Pointers develop a strong plan of attack.
"We were comfortable with their defense where they gave us three different looks," the coach said. "Offensively, they love to run to the perimeter. Our game plan was to take the easiest plays against each defensive look and to focus on shutting down their run game. Our athletes did a great job of preparing for this week and our coaches did an outstanding job of creating a game plan. I am very proud of the way we played on Friday night."
When it came to overall performance Palzkill had nothing but praise.
"It was our best effort all year in terms of overall team involvement," he said. "All of our athletes were engaged in the game and the energy was awesome! We will need to continue to prepare for games in this manner. That will allow us to be successful in the coming weeks."
The coming weeks include a playoff spot so while some teams will be turning in equipment after their October 18 game, the Pointers will have their season continue.
Another test looms this Friday when the Redbirds invade the Pointer stadium.
"We will expect Darlington to come to our home field this week expecting to win," said Palzkill. "They always give great effort and are always coached well. This Darlington team is more balanced than in past years so we will have to be prepared for them to run and pass. Defensively, they will give us a number of different looks and we will have to recognize and get into the best play for us depending on the front and coverage. I expect a very competitive game and we will be working hard this week to get ready for the Redbirds."
Article Comment Submission Form