MAYER – Through three weeks of the prep football season, the Mayer Lutheran High School football team has been one of the hottest teams in the area. The Crusaders are off to a 3-0 start, and have won those three games by an average of more than 26 points per a game.
Even with things moving along nicely for the red and black, they know nothing has been won yet. The Crusaders, who return a handful of players from last year’s team, find themselves in the same situation they were in last year.
In the 2016 season, the Crusaders opened up their season with three straight wins before having their momentum snapped in a 53-30 loss to Sibley East on the road. In 2017, Mayer Lutheran will be looking to avoid that midseason slump.
“We talked a lot about how every high school team has that game four, five, or six, where things get a little monotonous,” Mayer Lutheran coach Dean Aurich said. “Maybe even a little boring in practice now that they’re used to doing the same stuff. Then the mental set slips a bit. Our goal is to not have that happen like it happened last year at Sibley East. There were other things involved in it last year, but still, the goal is not to let that momentum slip get us. It’s tough for high school kids sometimes to stay up for every game.”
The idea of a trap game is staring the Crusaders right in the face once again this season after a 3-0 start. Their Week 4 opponents are the Medford Tigers, a team that comes into the matchup with an 0-3 record, yet has been in games all season long.
“We think so,” Aurich said about not taking the Tigers lightly and facing a Class AA school. “They’ve played three close games, but they’ve lost all three games. When we started the year, we thought that Medford and Kenyon-Wanamingo would be a little tougher.”
The Tigers feature an offense that uses multiple formations to keep the defense on their toes. Not only will the Crusaders have to be mentally prepared, but with temperates expected in the 90s for game day, they’ll have to deal with the heat, as well.
“They open it up a lot,” Aurich said. “They’ve got a lot of formations that can give us some issues. We hope things go well, but it’s also supposed to be 90 degrees and hot, so we’ll see how that goes.”
Although the Tigers have yet to win a game this season, they’ve played close games in the first two weeks. In Week 2, Medford gave Kenyon-Wanamingo all they could handle in a one-point loss. K-W is the only other team in the Mid Southeast West district that is undefeated in district play, entering Week 4 along with Mayer Lutheran. If the Crusaders want to improve to 4-0 to start the year and stay atop the district standings, they’ll need to come to play and show what they can do and not rest on their laurels.
“We just don’t know our district well enough, so you just can’t think a team is good or bad because you just don’t know until you’re a couple years into a district,” Aurich said. “Right now, it looks like Kenyon-Wanamingo and Blooming Prairie would be the top. They do a lot of things right on the video. They’re a little unlucky the first couple games. They’ve been in every game quite a way through, which means they’re playing good enough. They get rid of a few mistakes, it’s going to be a really good game. If we make mistakes, it could put us in a bad situation.”
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Friday night at Medford High school.
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