Editorial: Hopes rising for Tigers footballPublished 10:24am Thursday, August 28, 2014
We are looking forward to high school football season and — we’ll be direct here — very much desire to see Albert Lea, Alden-Conger and Glenville-Emmons post improvements over their winless seasons of 2013.
People can learn about the fall sports teams in the glossy Fall 2014 Sports Yearbook inserted into the Tribune on Sept. 5.
Albert Lea has a new coach with a track record — why is the term always “track” record, even though it is another sport? — of turning programs into winners. Kevin Armbrust brought success to Onamia High School in the Great Northern Conference, and this summer he has brought hope to long-suffering fans of Albert Lea High School football.
That said, it doesn’t mean, as fans, we can expect him to snap his fingers and the Tigers start to win. No, it likely will take a few years to incorporate a winning mentality and to get team members, assistants and parents to pass on his methods to younger players. Word is that the practices are intense and focused. Expect to see a high-tempo, determined squad on the field this fall.
That sounds good to us, so far.
We cover sports from seven area high schools and cannot help but notice that the programs that win a lot — whether the natural skills of their athletes are up or down — are the ones with strong youth programs. By the time they are seniors, the players have been playing the sport competitively for more than four years. They have been at it since grade school or at least since the start of middle school. We hope Armbrust not only drills the players with precision in practice but also strives to improve the youth football program by connecting with youth coaches and program coordinators.
Winning is neither everything nor the only thing. What matters are the qualities, traits and work ethics that players gain from learning how to win. That is what we want to see passed on to the players who go out for football, and that is what successful coaches do. What’s more, because of the direct competitive aspect of sports, it is one of the areas in high school that students find out that — like in real life — it is going to take a lot of hard work and dedication to find success. Few rewards come easy.
Glenville-Emmons and Alden-Conger
The coach for Glenville-Emmons, Jared Matson, was new last year, and it sounds like he is continuing his mission to build the program from the ground up. He has the fire in the belly to get the job done, and we look forward to seeing that translate into his players and then into competitiveness on the gridiron.
As for Alden-Conger, the team hopes to snap a losing streak that goes back to September 2011. We were disappointed third-year coach Bruce Smith did not return the phone calls and email messages in time for our Fall Sports Yearbook deadline — that publication is for the fans — but we hope the Knights can pull off a win tonight against a team from Renville County West that won a single game last season. There is a chance to snap the losing streak.