True team effort: Superlarks are falling back on depth of their offense

Published 8:24 pm Tuesday, October 29, 2019

GRAND MEADOW — The Superlarks are back in the Section 1 Nine Man Tournament title game and the team looks vastly different than it did when it last played in a section title game just three years ago.

Instead of relying on one or two bruising ball carriers like year’s past, the Larks now feature a team that has multiple ball carriers, who are small in stature, but high on quickness.

GM also has plenty of depth in the backfield as nine different players have scored a touchdown and 16 different players have carried the ball this season. GM had 13 players touch the ball in its 24-14 win over Spring Grove last week and it will feature the same depth when it takes on No. 5 Houston in Austin at 7 p.m. on Friday.

The Grand Meadow football team listens to head coach Gary Sloan after practice in GM Tuesday. Rocky Hulne/

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“It’s completely different (from 2016). Our other teams were power running teams,” GM head coach Gary Sloan said. “We still want to run the ball, but we’re not as big and strong as we were. We’re quicker than we were and we try to put guys in position to be successful.”

GM junior quarterback Evan Oehlke has excelled as a rusher for GM and he’s also had a knack for spreading the ball out to various receivers on game nights.

“I have a lot of options,” Oehlke said. “I spread it out pretty evenly to those guys. The depth makes it easier for me.”

While the backfield may be crowded with speedsters like senior Nolan Skifter, junior Daniel Smith and sophomore Dusty Copley, it hasn’t caused any friction amongst the team. Skifter said the goal is always to make things happen — no matter who has the ball.

“I feel like we push each other because we know we have an opportunity to make a big play if everyone steps up and does their job,” Skifter said. “We want to make something go our way in the game. It’s my last year. You’ve got to take very moment on the football field and use it to your fullest. Have fun with it.“

Sloan said his team has embraced the group concept and he’s going to count on the entire roster to try and get past the Hurricanes, who have pulled off back-to-back upsets, including a 44-18 win over No. 2 ranked LeRoy-Ostrander on Friday.

“We don’t care about the individuals, we care about the team. We put team first,” Sloan said. “If somebody has a big game, we always joke that they won’t get the ball as much next game because we want battles out there and we want everybody to contribute.”

GM beat Houston 43-6 in the final game of the regular season on Oct. 16, but nobody is expecting that to happen again. The Hurricanes are healthy now and they have an offense that can move the ball through the ground and the air.

“What happened in week eight won’t happen again,” Sloan said. “They were missing two of their best players (in that game). Since then, they’ve played two good teams and they beat them both up pretty badly. We’ve just go to come out and try and get the momentum and keep it away from them.”

Whoever gets the opportunities for GM against Houston, they’ll be looking to make impact plays.

“Our speed helps us a lot,” Copley said. “We want to make sure we get outside. Somebody has to be the guy to make a play.”

Daniel Smith carries the ball in practice for Grand Meadow in GM Monday. Rocky Hulne/


Grand Meadow

  • Record: 9-1
  • Points per game: 38.1
  • Points against per game: 14.7


  • Record: 7-3
  • Points per game: 34.8
  • Points against per game: 20.8