Superlarks are ready for title gamePublished 11:55pm Tuesday, November 20, 2012
GRAND MEADOW — As the Superlarks prepare for the nine man football state title game, they’ll have to adjust to playing without one of their top playmakers for the second time this season.
GM senior linebacker/running back Perry Stejskal tore his ACL and his MCL in the first half of the state semifinals and he will be unable to play Friday, when the Larks take on Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley for the state championship in the Metrodome at 10 a.m.
Stejskal also missed six games in the regular season for GM (12-1 overall) due to an MCL injury.
“Everyone has really grown up this year into one team and Perry’s a motivator a motivator for the entire team,” GM senior Brock Johnson said. “We’ve all grown up together and we all played back yard football together. We’ve always been around each other.”
GM head coach Gary Sloan said it hurts the team’s chances not to have Stejskal in the lineup, but he added that at least the squad has experience in playing without him and they can make adjustments on short notice.
In Tuesday’s practice, Stejskal was front and center, pumping up his teammates.
“He took the news really hard on Monday, but today he showed up with a very positive attitude and he went back to that leadership role,” Sloan said. “He’s already doing stuff to help the other guys out.”
The Larks are preparing for a battle with CGB (12-0 overall), which has outscored its opponents 47.7-8.4 per game this season. CGB hasn’t allowed more than two scores in a game all season.
“Both of their running backs are extremely fast,” Sloan said. “I would compare them to Niko Anderson of Lanesboro. But I think at the other positions we’re faster and we really need to surround those two guys and keep them boxed in.”
Sloan said the Larks are hoping to gain 150 yards rushing to set up their passing game and he thinks if they can do that, they’ll be in good shape.
GM sophomore Landon Jacobson will likely carry the bulk of the load on the ground. He said playing in the Metrodome once has helped prepare the team for any possible nerves.
“This is a time to be focused instead of being nervous,” Jacobson said. “They’d be a good team to beat to be the state champions. We’re kind of just learning about them now, but our coaches put in a good scouting report.”
Sloan feels pretty good about his team after a 61-6 win over South Ridge last week in the semifinals and he’s ready for a battle.
“We’re not overconfident, but we believe in ourselves and we’re not gonna back down from anybody,” Sloan said.
GM’s football team has played in the state tournament five times, but it has made the title game just once and it’s never won a state title.