It’s Week 3 of the prep football season already. The Mayer Lutheran Crusaders are off to a 2-0 start and in line for a big showdown in their first road game of the season. Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted, Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity, and Watertown-Mayer are all off to 0-2 starts, and will be looking to get their first win of the season this Friday night. The following is a look at all four area prep football games for Week 3.
Holdingford Huskers at HLWW Lakers
As the HLWW football team takes the field for its third game of the season, they’ll once again be looking for improvement and execution. HLWW will host the Holdingford Huskers Friday night for their homecoming game, their second of just three home games this year.
While HLWW has opened the season with a pair of losses, their improvement from a season ago has been showing. Although it ended in a lopsided loss last week at Eden Valley-Watkins, the Lakers found themselves right in the middle of things at the half.
HLWW trailed EV-W just 28-6 after one half of play. Eventually, the Lakers ran out of steam down the stretch and the Eagles pulled away for the win.
Even though it was a lopsided loss, the Lakers have plenty of things they can build off of going into their matchup with the Huskers. Bennett Paulson and Noah Bush hooked up for another long touchdown, and the Lakers will be looking for that to continue this week.
One thing HLWW will need to improve on this week against Holdingford is their run game. After a strong showing in the first game against Upsala/Swanville, the Lakers had just 94 rushing yards in the loss to EV-W.
With players like AJ Gatz, Bush, and others able to carry the ball, getting the ground game going early will be a key for the Lakers in this one. If they can get the running game going, that should open things up in the air for players like Bush, Spencer Lade, and Carson Woolhouse.
Cleveland Clippers at LP/HT Bulldogs
The Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity football team might not have a win on their resumé yet this season, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things to build off of heading into their Week 3 matchup against Cleveland. The Bulldogs opened their season with two-straight road games, and will finally get their first home game of the season Friday night, when they host the Clippers.
With plenty of new players taking over big roles for the Bulldogs this season, getting off to a quick start could be huge for LP/HT against the Clippers. Cleveland comes into the matchup with a 0-2 record, and has been outscored 81-26 in those two games. A fast start could help the Bulldogs get into the win column for the first time this season.
Getting off to a fast start will also be key for the Clippers. They did just that against the No. 6-ranked team in Class A last week, United South Central. Cleveland jumped out to a 12-0 lead early, but the Rebels took over after that in a 60-20 victory last week.
Look for Zach Jackson and Tanner Scheevel to lead the attack for the Bulldogs. With two starts under his belt now this season at quarterback, it’s time for Jackson to take another step forward and help lead his team to their first win.
Watertown-Mayer Royals at New London-Spicer Wildcats
The Watertown-Mayer football team’s losing streak hit 19 games after a 41-7 loss to Glencoe-Silver Lake last Friday. The Royals will be looking to snap that streak, which dates back to the 2017 season. W-M’s last win came Sept. 1, 2017, in their season opener against Rockford. The Royals defeated the Rockets 21-6.
This is the first matchup between the Royals and the Wildcats in more than 15 years, so there will for sure be some uncertainty on both sides.
New London-Spicer comes into the matchup with a perfect 2-0 record. The Wildcats defeated Milaca 33-20 in their season opener, and followed that up with a 44-7 win over St. Cloud Cathedral in Week 2.
W-M comes in with a 0-2 record through their first two games. After losing a tough game to Rockford by a score of 21-7, the Royals struggled against Glencoe-Silver Lake in a 41-7 loss.
While the loss to G-SL was not what the Royals were hoping for, things got even worse as one of their top receivers, Ethan Tang was injured in the game. Tang took a hard hit to the head late in the first half against the Panthers, and could miss this week’s game.
When the Royals were without Tang for much of the game, Sam Ragner stepped up. If the Royals want to snap their 19-game losing streak, Ragner must be a big part of the offense once again.
Getting the running game going will also be a key for the Royals in this matchup. If they can find a balance between the running and passing game, that bodes well for the Royals against the NL-S defense.
Defensively, eliminating big plays will be the centerpiece of attention for W-M. In their matchup with G-SL last week, the Royals gave up way too many big plays. G-SL’s first play of the game from scrimmage was a 64-yard touchdown run, putting W-M behind immediately. If the streak is going to end, the defense needs to tighten things up as a complete unit.
Mayer Lutheran Crusaders at Waterville-Elysian-Morristown Buccaneers
When the schedule came out for the 2019 season, it was a good sign for the Mayer Lutheran football team, as their first two games of the season were at home. That gave a young, but talented team, the chance to get their first taste of Friday Night Lights on their home field.
It was also important for the Crusaders to take advantage of their first two games at home, and they did just that as they outscored their opponents 88-14 in the two games.
While it’s been a perfect start for the Crusaders this season, they know they’ve got a big challenge ahead of them Friday night as they hit the road for the first time this season. The Crusaders will take on the Waterville-Elysian-Morristown Buccaneers, a nine-win team from a season ago.
W-E-M fell to Lewiston-Altura in their season opener as they were shorthanded missing some players, but will be at full strength when the Crusaders come to town. The Buccaneers are coming off a 37-12 victory over Alden-Conger.
The Buccaneers had their running game rolling against Alden-Conger in the win. W-E-M racked up 286 yards rushing to go along with 180 yards passing. Brant Melcher was the workhorse in the backfield for the Buccaneers in the win. He carried the ball 22 times for 182 yards and two scores.
While getting the runing game going is a big key for W-E-M, they also aren’t afraid to attack through the air. Quarterback Grant McBroom is no slouch at throwing, and Nick LeMieuz is quickly becoming one of his favorite targets. The two connected for a 77-yard touchdown against Alden-Conger. Dylan Anroli is another receiver to keep an eye on for W-E-M.
For Mayer Lutheran, they’ll look to keep Zander Flucas rolling in the backfield. Through two games, Flucas has racked up 359 yards rushing and six touchdowns in two games this season.
Flucas will certainly be a main focus for the Buccaneers on defense, forcing sophomore quarterback Ty Hoese to step up. Hoese attempted just six passes last week against Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton, but could be called on for more this week as W-E-M looks to slow down the running game for Mayer Lutheran.
“W-E-M will be a very good test for us,” Mayer Lutheran coach Dean Aurich said. “It will be a long road trip, and they have a strong football team with a successful tradition over the years. We need to keep improving and eliminate mistakes.”
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