MOUNTAIN LAKE, Minn. (KEYC) — The Mountain Lake Area football team continues to build on its winning culture as the Wolverines prepare for a third consecutive tournament appearance.
We caught up with last year’s nine-man runner-up earlier this week.
“Ever since we’ve gone nine-man, we’ve had some success and these guys have bought into it. Obviously it’s nice to have three in a row, but I think the big picture is we want to keep playing well and win it all. It’s going to be day at a time, and game at a time. A lot of hard work and time put in the off-season is a big key,” said Tim Kirk, MLA head coach.
Mountain Lake Area is in a familiar position after a recording a perfect regular season followed up with the section 3 9-man title.
“This year I think it’s more unique because we have the championship game as our goal instead of just going to the Bank and stuff like that. We lost a couple good guys from last year’s team, but I think we’ve gained a couple. Guys have stepped up to fill those spots so it’s turned out very well,” said Isaac Grev, MLA senior.
“They’re pretty locked in, we’re a fairly disciplined team, there’s been a couple of games we had too many flags. Being in U.S. Bank Stadium last year, and actually having a chance to play there and to lose in the state finals. There’s a bad taste in some of these kids mouths. Great experience and deep down, they want to get back there. There is going to be no letting up for our team,” said Kirk.
“That’s motivated us to do all the work during the offseason and season. We just need to take it one game at a time,” said Adam Karschnik, MLA senior.
The Wolverines dominated the competition in both regular and postseason play as MLA outscored its opponents 138–38 in the section tournament, and the squad continues to fine-tune its craft ahead of state.
“Kids have to understand that we have to get better. There’s some games where the score is lopsided, but we didn’t play well. We keep preaching to them about the Hills–Beaver Creek, Grand Meadow, and whatever happens after this, we have to play better. You have to stay on your blocks, know your assignments, do all those things. Early in the year, we got up early, that was our system, we took advantage of what they were weak at, and hopefully, at halftime, we can sit some guys. That’s probably one of the reasons we are fairly healthy, players didn’t have to play four quarters every game all year long. Now it’s time to battle, we have to go four quarters, and I think the kids are ready,” said Kirk.
“Coach Kirk always has something that we can work on, we can always get better in some way. It was a little different being that against Hills we played all four quarters, knowing that we made it throughout that game was nice,” said Karschnik.
MLA begins its state tournament run this Friday night against Grand Meadow in Austin at 7:00 p.m.