‘Here we are’

Published 11:08 pm Friday, October 27, 2017

The Knights look to continue postseason run

Starting the 2017 season, not many people would have guessed the Alden-Conger/Glenville-Emmons football program would be in the position it is now. 

In the 2016 season, the Knights finished with a 4-5 record, only one home win and a shutout loss in the first round of sections.

That’s not the case this year.

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So far this season, the Knights have lost just one game and haven’t been defeated at home. They have outscored their opponents 277-122 and their only loss is to the No. 5-ranked Houston in week one. The loss is something that head coach Chad Mattson said really lit a fire under the team.

“I wouldn’t call it a blessing, but more of an eye opener,” he said. “We came out of that game thinking we’ve got to get this together if we’re going to compete like we know we can. We had a strong game the next week and a clearer understanding of what we needed to do, and here we are.”

Here they are is right, but it’s not a familiar spot the Knights have been in for the entire regular season. Due to their large enrollment numbers, after playing the first eight games of the regular season as a nine-man squad, the Knights must now play 11-man football in the postseason. Mattson said the players have transitioned well to the different play.

“It’s not terrible, but it is more than just throwing two more guys out there,” he said. “The team is taking to it pretty good. Defensive assignments are a little different along with offensive blocking assignments, but these kids are doing well with it. It was nice to get that first win.”

The win Mattson was referring to was the Knights’ dominating first-round win over Mankato Loyola, in which they cruised past the Crusaders, 41-14.

Mattson credits the turnaround season to the team buying into the system that he has always wanted. There hasn’t been much of a personnel change; the athletes are just playing as a team.

“I think it’s more of the understanding of what we are trying to do,” Mattson said. “The talent these guys have has always been there, they are just putting the pieces together now. Just a great unselfish bunch of kids that want to succeed. It’s been an exciting year. Hopefully we can keep rolling, these kids deserve it.”

The Knights ended their 2016 season with a 14-point loss to St. Clair. They now have their shot at redemption, as they will face off against St. Clair once again in their second-round section game Saturday.

About Tyler Julson

Tyler Julson covers sports for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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