Hulne: Patience pays off for Superlarks

Published 7:40 pm Monday, November 10, 2014

When the Grand Meadow football team matched up with Underwood in the state quarterfinals Saturday it was a battle.

Hard hits were flying left and right and yards were hard to come by for both teams. Underwood had a distinct size advantage, but they were unable to wear down the Superlarks. If anything, the undersized Larks may have worn down the bigger Rockets up front in a 20-0 win.

Saturday’s game was no fluke. It was the result of a GM team that had shown extreme patience throughout the regular season to set itself up for a big playoff run.

Email newsletter signup

GM treated much of its regular season like the preseason as the starters often came out of the game at halftime or earlier to let the backups finish things out.

While it seems obvious to take your starters out early in a blowout, it’s not as common or as easy to do in high school football as one may think. When a team puts in an entire offseason of work to prepare for the year and it practices hard all week in anticipation of a game, it has to be tough for those kids to play in just a quarter or just a half on a Friday night under the lights.

There’s also the manner of records.

I don’t think too many players in Grand Meadow care about records, but it’s amazing to think of how many touchdowns Landon Jacobson could’ve scored over the past four years if he even played three quarters of every game in every season. Jacobson holds the all-time TD record at GM, but he could’ve made it a lot tougher to break by playing a few more series in some of those lop-sided wins.

But Jacobson and the Larks don’t play the game to get stats. They play to win.

By sitting their starters for long stretches during the season, GM was able to stay healthy and fresh this season and it has shown in the last two games. GM has looked very strong in the fourth quarter as it shutout Spring Grove in the section title game and blanked Underwood Saturday.

The Larks have made it to the state semifinals for the third straight year because they play hard when they have to and they rest when they need to.

GM will play Kittson County Central in the state semifinals Friday at 5 p.m. in St. Cloud. I don’t expect them to tire out.

Follow Rocky Hulne on twitter @RockyHulneADH.