Football: Superlarks get a lift from first-year playersPublished 6:43pm Tuesday, November 5, 2013
GRAND MEADOW — When Mountain Lake Area begins scouting the Grand Meadow football team for the upcoming Class nine man state football quarterfinal game, the Wolverines will likely be focusing on Grand Meadow junior Landon Jacobson.
Jacobson has run for 1,376 yards and 25 TDs as a running back and he has racked up 127 tackles and seven sacks as a linebacker.
But there’s a lot more to the Superlarks (10-1 overall) than Jacobson. GM has received a boost from plenty first year varsity players this year, including juniors Blake Olson and Jordan Miland and sophomore Michael Stejskal.
“We’ve had so many guys step up and they’ve steadily improved as the season has gone on,” GM head coach Gary Sloan said. “That’s why we’re playing our best football right now.”
Mountain Lake (11-0 overall) comes into the game with a strong passing attack that features 6-6 quarterback Carter Kirk, who is also the Wolverines’ leading rusher.
Olson, who has 58 tackles and 3 interceptions as a cornerback and Stejskal, who has 90 tackles and three fumble recoveries as a corner, will have to be key in coverage and Miland, who has 99 tackles and 4 sacks, will have to provide a pass rush on Kirk.
All three players are first-time starters for GM, but they learned plenty by watching the Superlarks take second in state last season.
“We saw a lot of good starters last year and we’ve taken they’re place,” Olson, who scored a defensive TD in a 31-14 win over Spring Grove Friday, said. “It’s like a dream for every kid to keep playing as long as you can and getting to state.”
Stejskal watched his older brother, Perry, play for the Larks last season and he’s now playing Perry’s position on offense as full back. He is the lead blocker for Jacobson and he’s also run for 227 yards and 3 scores of his own this season.
Stejskal knows that Mountain Lake has a QRF ranking of No. 1 and the Larks are at No. 9, but he said that doesn’t mean much to GM.
“We don’t really think it’s a big challenge. We just come into every game with the same mentality that we’re going to win every game,” Stejkal said. “Last year I didn’t play but I experienced everything and that made it a lot easier this year.”
While some varsity football players may feel a little nervous before playing in their first state tournament, this group has a pretty laid back approach to it. Miland said the Larks are simply just trying to do what they set as a goal before the season.
“It’s always a goal to get to state,” Miland said. “Every year we want to win the conference, section and be state champions.”
The development of the first year players have been huge for GM as the team has just three seniors on its roster. GM quarterback Trenton Bleifus, who is one of those seniors, said he always thought the Larks would be fine with they’re younger roster.
“They’re leaders too and they’ve stepped up,” Bleiufs said. “I knew they would step up and they’re good athletes.”