Superlarks will have rematch with Underwood in state quarterfinals

Published 5:55 pm Wednesday, November 5, 2014

GRAND MEADOW —Last year Superlarks found away to beat Underwood in the Class nine man state title game. Now they’ll have to play even better to beat Underwood in the state Class nine man football quarterfinals in Irondale High School in New Brighton Saturday at 1 p.m.

GM (11-0 overall) will take on a Rockets team that returns most of its squad from last season, including it’s top rusher Noah Thompson.

“They’ve got a lot of the same people as last year, but we know they’re a lot bigger and probably better,” GM senior running back/linebacker Landon Jacobson said. “It’s going to be a big game. A lot of people think we’re the underdogs and that’s fine with us, because we play pretty good under pressure.”

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The Rockets (10-1 overall) boast a huge front line on both sides of the ball that helps them control the ground game. GM used quickness to beat Underwood’s big line last season, and the Larks will have to be creative to move the ball on offense.

Last season, the Larks passed 20 times in their win in the state title game.

“The coaches that I’ve talked to that know them well say they’re really hard to run against and the film I’ve seen shows the same thing,” GM head coach Gary Sloan said. “We’re probably not going to line up and try to smash it on them. We’re going to have to try to do more counters and maybe try to throw the ball a little more on them.”

The Larks are embracing the fact that they get to play in a full game. Due to a lot of blowout wins, the Superlarks’ starters have played in just two complete games this entire season and they’re looking forward to a competitive battle with the Rockets.

GM senior defensive back/wide receiver Blake Olson said the squad knows exactly what’s at stake every time they take the field.

“We’re always thinking how it could be our last game or our last day of practice,” he said. “Everybody always plays their hardest against us it seems. I’m sure with them losing to us last year, they want to play us again, just like us in 2012 when we lost to C-G-B, we wanted to play them again.”

Sloan said he’s expecting a big effort from Underwood. GM knows all too well what its like to lose a state championship when they lost the big game in 2012. Now it’ll be Underwood that is looking to get redemption.

“We know how motivated we were last year when we got to the championship to make up for losing in the year before,” Sloan said. “We ended their season last year and I’m sure they’re going to do everything they can to end ours this year. It’s going to be a big challenge. They’re the best team that we’ve played this year by quite a ways I think. We’re going to have our hands full.”

While the Larks have played in the last two state tournaments, they are not about to become complacent. GM wants to finish strong and Jacobson said that motivation hasn’t been a problem this season.

“We’ve been hyped up and excited for every game this year. This game is not an exception. We’re all ready to go,” he said. “Last year they were big and we stopped their running game. This year, It’s going to take a bigger effort out of us, but I think we can do it.”

The winner of the GM-Underwood game will play the winner of Kittson Central and Cromwell Nov. 14 at St. Cloud State University Nov. 14 at 5 p.m.