HOWARD LAKE – Week 3 has come and gone, and the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School football team is moving on. Coming off a 56-0 loss to Melrose last week, it’s nothing but looking forward for the Lakers in Week 4.
“It’s 24 hours for a win, 24 hours for a loss,” senior quarterback Brennan Barth said.
“That’s how we look at it. You got to move on right away. Still talk about what we can fix, but otherwise, get past it as quick as we can. You just got to come out and go hard. You got to forget about losing. That’s all you got to do. You go to move on.”
In the tough loss last week, the Lakers had their weaknesses shown, which has meant there was a lot of things to work on before their matchup with rival Maple Lake Friday night.
“It exposed our weaknesses,” Lakers coach Ben Anderson said. “It exposed the things that we really need to work on. As long as you take it on the chin and move on from it, you can grow from something like that. That’s what we’ve been kind of preaching from this all week. We’ve been exposed. We know that we got to get better. We watched the film, and there’s about a dozen plays that made the game ugly. A lot of them were self-inflicted wounds, like guys not doing their assignments. Things we can control that really don’t involve the type of athletes we are, just guys in the wrong spots and not where they should be.”
With the loss behind them, the Lakers get to take on their biggest rival, the Maple Lake Irish at home Friday night. Not only is it a rivalry game, it will also be Tackle Cancer night.
“Beyond excited,” Barth said about the rivalry game. “Beyond excited, but I know it’s just like any other game. That’s all we’re treating it like. Just another game.”
As much as Barth and the Lakers are treating it like a normal game, that’s not case. The rivalry between the Lakers and the Irish has been lopsided the past few seasons, with the Irish winning 13 of the past 15 matchups since 2008. The last time the Lakers beat the Irish was back in 2015 in the Section 4AA championship game.
“We talked about it being a rivalry,” Anderson said. “We said we got to up the ante on our end. It’s been about 10 years, and I think we’ve only won one or two games. We’ll try to make it a real rivalry here and get these guys fired up about it. It’s been kind of a mental block in their heads for some of them a long time, and it’s got to go. Otherwise it’s no longer going to be a rivalry anymore.”
When two teams that battle each and every year and know each other inside and out, turnovers are a big factor in who comes out victorious.
“When we have lost to them, we’ve lost the turnover battle or we’ve had some really tough penalties,” Anderson said. “Things that we can control. Turnovers are always big, especially in rivalry games. Special teams are big, as well, but turnovers are always a big one. If any game we win the turnover battle, you got to feel pretty good that you’re going to win the game.”
With a week of practice before taking on the Irish, the Lakers have been focusing on doing the things they can control well, and not worrying about anything else.
“It is eye-opening for them to realize that if I just communicated better with the guy next to me, we would have been fine,” Anderson said. “They’re ready to bounce back. We try to all week focus on things we can control. We can’t control calls, we can’t control the ref’s calls, we can’t control sometimes turnovers. If we take care of the things that we can control, we give ourselves a win every Friday we feel like. Guys came, and they got better this week. We felt like things we needed to improve on have have gotten better. So, hopefully, we’re able to bring our best effort Friday.”
2007: HLWW 12, Maple Lake 0
2007: HLWW 12, Maple Lake 0
2008: Maple Lake 31, HLWW 21
2008: Maple Lake 20, HLWW 19
2009: Maple Lake 27, HLWW 6
2010: Maple Lake 20, HLWW 13
2011: Maple Lake 40, HLWW 28
2011: Maple Lake 41, HLWW 14
2012: Maple Lake 37, HLWW 7
2012: Maple Lake 27, HLWW 6
2013: Maple Lake 48, HLWW 21
2013: Maple Lake 34, HLWW 21
2014: Maple Lake 51, HLWW 6
2015: Maple Lake 46, HLWW 14
2016: Maple Lake 40, HLWW 0