Column: Grand Meadow had a Super SeasonPublished 5:24pm Sunday, November 25, 2012
The Grand Meadow football team recently wrapped up one of its best season’s in school history and just because the team finished second in the state tournament after falling to Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley 40-22 in the Metrodome Friday, it doesn’t mean 2012 was not a success for the Superlarks.
The Larks were a team in every sense of the word as their defense was swarming and hitting hard throughout the entire state tournament. I don’t think I’ve ever seen as many big hits in one game as I did when GM beat Mountain Lake Area in the state quarterfinals and GM roughed up South Ridge so bad in a 61-6 win that I counted at least five South Ridge players on the ground on one play late in the game.
The Larks also had plenty of offense as junior quarterback Trenton Bleifus was a dual threat and sophomore running back Landon Jacobson emerged into a gamebreaker for the Larks.
GM took a major hit when they lost senior fullback Perry Stejskal due to an injury for the title game, but they didn’t lose his leadership. Stejskal, who could’ve chose to distance himself from the team after knowing his high school football career was over, instead was a loud voice on the sidelines and he kept his teammates fighting until it was all over.
GM’s success on the gridiron goes well beyond the team. The entire community was given something to get excited about in the past few weeks and they fully embraced it.
GM’s high school was covered with all types of Superlark graffiti, the town sent three fan buses to Friday’s game and when the Superlarks departed for state on Thursday, they were greeted by a two-mile stretch of well wishers along the highway.
Although GM didn’t have cheerleaders this year, a few of the girls’ athletes took it upon themselves to take to the sideline and serve as cheerleaders along with the team’s mascot, Clark the Lark on Friday.
GM’s run to the state title game will be something the town and the players will remember for a long time and head coach Gary Sloan deserves a lot of credit for how he helped blend a group of 10 strong seniors with several talented underclassmen throughout the year.
When I look back at this tournament, I think I’ll remember GM senior Mike Ojulu as much as anything. Ojulu wasn’t a big factor in GM’s wins over Mountain Lake and South Ridge, but after the Larks clinched their trip to the title game, he looked like a kid on Christmas morning and was probably the most excited player on the team.
On Friday, with the state title slipping away, Ojulu pulled off a rare feat of scoring 14 points in a span of 32 seconds when he caught a pair of TDs and hauled in a two-point conversion.
The second touchdown also gave GM, it’s third score of the game, which may not have meant much to most onlookers. But the fact that CGB hadn’t allowed more than two scores in a game all season, should give Ojulu and the Larks a little better feeling.
It’s never easy to get over losing a title game, but I hope within a few weeks, or even months, the GM football players can look back and realize they did some great things this past fall.