Grand Meadow's Michael Stejskal hauls in a 30-yard pass in the first quarter against Kittson County Central in the Minnesota State Football Nine-Man semifinals Friday at Mall of America Field in Minneapolis. Herald File Photo
Grand Meadow's Michael Stejskal hauls in a 30-yard pass in the first quarter against Kittson County Central in the Minnesota State Football Nine-Man semifinals two weeks ago at Mall of America Field in Minneapolis. Herald File Photo

Football: Superlarks will play for the state title Friday

Published 7:25pm Monday, November 25, 2013

The Grand Meadow football team is one win away from doing something it’s been thinking about for the last 12 months — winning a state title.

After taking second in the Class ‘nine man’ state football tournament last season, the Superlarks (12-1 overall) are back in the Prep Bowl and they’re hoping they can wrap up the program’s first state title when they take on Underwood (10-3 overall) at the Metrodome in Minneapolis Friday at 10 a.m.

“We’ve been wanting to come back and get a little revenge since we lost last year,” GM senior quarterback Trenton Bleifus said.

To have a chance at winning, the Superlarks will have to find Underwood running back Noah Thompson and bring him down. Thompson is just 5-6 and 155 pounds, but he’s averaging 210 yards rushing per game as he runs behind a big line that clears a lot of space.

It’ll be up to the Larks to track Thompson early and keep him from getting in the open field.

“Their size concerns me a lot,” GM head coach Gary Sloan said. “We don’t want them on offense a lot, because I think they could wear us down. We want to keep the ball away from them.”

The Larks feel they have a quickness advantage when they have the ball and they’ll be sure to get the ball in the hands of their own play-maker, Landon Jacobson, who has 1,775 rushing yards and 28 touch downs this season.

Jacobson said the week off left the Superlarks eager to play and the team is more excited than it is nervous.

“We’re anxious towards getting ready to play after a week off,” Jacbson said. “They’re big, but we’re going to look to get to the outside on them.”

Underwood’s offense is very similar to Spring Grove’s as they run about 90 percent of the time, so the Larks shouldn’t see too many surprises. They will, however, have to stay disciplined and they will have to hope they don’t tire out.

“They’ve got a big line and we’ve got to get to (Thompson) before he can get down field,” GM senior Isaac Tangen said.

Last season the Larks lost 40-22 to Clinton-Graceville-Beardsely in the state title game and 10 seniors are gone from that GM team. This year’s GM team has just three seniors, but the squad has not lacked leadership by any means.

Bleifus, Tangen and Jacobson have all embraced their role as leaders for a GM team that has won all of its postseason contests by at least two touch downs, despite entering the Section 1 nine-man tournament as a No. 3 seed.

“I have complete trust in Trenton,” Sloan said. “He’s a three year starter and that’s important in a game like this. When the time comes where we need to throw on them, I think he’ll make the right decision.”

Underwood has traveled a similar path as GM as it was seeded No. 3 in its section tournament. The Rockets beat Ely 34-20 to get to the state title game.

“I don’t want people to be misled by their record,” Sloan said. “They lost some games early, but they came back and beat some of teams that had beaten them. They’re playing good football right now. We need to get off to a good start. We want to make them chase us. If we can get out to a lead and make them chase us, hopefully they’ll have to throw a little more than they want to.”

GM has gotten off to a good start in all of its postseason games so far this season and the squad is hoping it can do it for one more game.

“We’ve got to take care of the ball and hopefully Landon can keep doing what he’s been doing for one more game,” Bleifus said.


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