|11/13/2017 10:18:00 AM|
Cubans are history, on to Markesan for Pointers
LEVEL 3 PREVIEW
The Pointers take the two hour trip to Markesan for their Level 3 match-up and will face a team that is 10-1. They are the champs of the Trailways Large as they swept to the conference title at 6-0.
Carson Cox has passed for 1859 yards on the season and run for 880 more. Austin Triggs, a 5-10, 156 senior, has also logged 673 yards.
Drew Bernhagen, a 6-0, 168 senior is the leading receiver with 871 yards.
Last Friday Markesan eliminated Fennimore, a common opponent, 15-7. Fennimore led 7-0 after one quarter then Markesan scored two in the second, seven in the third and six in the fourth for the win. Bryce Plagenz, a 6-2, 182 senior linebacker was credited with the safety and kicked an extra point after Triggs raced 74 yards to score. John Bataszewicz, a 5-10, 168 sophomore, scored the final touchdown on a 34 yard run.
What does Mineral Point coach Andy Palzkill have in mind to handle Markesan?
"The only expectation I have is for our athletes to do their best! Our focus will simply be on getting better as a team. Having a great week of practice and doing the basic techniques and reads we teach will lead us to success," Palzkill said.
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
Grant Sporle gave the Pointers a hand in a big way last Friday.
The Pointer defensive lineman used his 6-2, 235 pound body to get through the line on a field goal attempt by Cuba City, stuck a paw in the air and deflected the attempt.
That's when Riley Workman took over and ran for winning touchdown in a 14-7 decision over the Cubans and advance the Pointers to Level 3 of the Division 6 playoffs.
The win not only allowed the Pointers to travel to Markesan and keep their season going Friday it also avenged the only loss for the Pointers in the SWAL. The Pointers and the Cubans shared the conference championship but the Pointers won the game that really counted between the two teams.
More about the "play."
"Grant Sporle was able to get his right hand on the football to block the field goal attempt and it one-hopped right into Riley Workman's hands," Palzkill said. "Grant has been a big part of our football team throughout his career and just this week he was moved to play in the interior of our defensive line. Grant accepted that change and played a wonderful game for us on the offensive and defensive lines. It is incredible how when a young man is willing to listen to his coaches and do his best, good things happen."
It was a BIG play according to Palzkill.
"That single play allowed us to win the game and has given Mineral Point football an opportunity to something that hasn't happened here in a long time. We look forward to the opportunity to play in a Level 3 Playoff game this week," Palzkill said.
A fumble gave the Cubans field position and led to their only score of the night. It came in the first quarter on a seven yard run by Ryan Hoppenjan and Kyle Polzin added the extra point.
That score stuck until the final frame which could be called the "Riley Workman Quarter."
Workman found a seam and powered in from the 20 and Curtis Cox kicked the conversion for a 7-7 tie.
Then came the unconventional score with Sporle's hand paving the way.
Palzkill knows miscues happen in games and he likes how the Pointers respond when they do. They did not let the early fumble bother them.
"Our athletes are doing a great job of worrying about the things we control at this point in the season," Palzkill said. "We always talk about the fact that other teams are going to make some plays and that we will make some mistakes during the course of a game. How you react to those negative things will surely affect the outcome of the game. We did a great job of staying focused on Mineral Point and doing the little things correct for the entire game. Eventually, we were able to make enough plays to earn the victory."
The passing game accounted for 62 yards but it was not a huge key in the win. Quarterback Isaac Lindsey was four for 10.
Workman was the leading rusher with 147 yards on 25 carries and also caught two passes for 42 yards. Brandon Dolphin caught the other two for 28 yards.
The Pointers used several different formations against the Cubans.
"We typically enter a football game with nine formations that we are prepared to use," Palzkill said. "Depending on how the game evolves, we will use some or possibly all formations. The game plan certainly revolved around Riley Workman and we wanted to get him 25-30 carries. He has such a reliable player for us and he always gives us his best effort. This past Friday was no different as Riley was really the difference-maker in that game. "
" I felt we made enough plays in the passing game, but we were disappointed that we were unable to make more plays through the air," Palzkill added. "Some nights are like that and I was proud that our team came together and overcame the lack of offense to find a way to earn the victory. Sometimes football games play out that way and it was a true team win."
Palzkill said the line play and blocking on offense were keys to the win.
"We had a great performances from our offensive line as well as fullbacks in the inverted wishbone set that we use," Palzkill said. "Eric Heisner, Grant Sporle, Carver Wallace, Gabe Sporle, Joey Dolphin, Will Straka, and Brandon Dolphin are the young men involved in that formation as primary blockers. There were very physical and did a nice job against Cuba City."
No doubt the fact Cuba City eased to a 36-7 win in the first meeting of the two teams led to a challenge for the defense.
"We had a tremendous defensive effort," Palzkill said "Brandon Dolphin was moved to middle linebacker this week and he had a monster night with over 20 tackles. Brandon is player that can truly make tackles from sideline to sideline and plays with a level of energy and emotion. He has become our leader defensively. We also had great performances from Grant Sporle and Joey Dolphin at defensive tackle. We were also impressed with our corners who did a great job of setting the edge against their perimeter runs. Caden Jackson really stepped up and made some excellent tackles as did Blaise Watters."
"I give a great deal of credit to coaches Justin Leonard, Chad Whitford, Brock Gille, and Mason McCauley," Palzkill continued. "These four coaches develop and conduct the defensive game plan each week. They have done a great job of simplifying and allowing our athletes to be aggressive and make plays. The defense certainly won us the game against Cuba City and we look forward to great defensive performances in the coming weeks."
Palzkill feels while the Xs and Os are important there is far more to the game.
"Playing as a team, believing in each other, and being positive are more important that what you run offensively, defensively, and in special teams," Palzkill said." We are very proud of the way this team has come together and our positive focus has developed confidence in each other and the concepts we run in all three phases. This team still has room to grow and the best news is that we have things to improve upon as we prepare for Markesan. I would love to see us put together our best game of the year this coming Friday night."
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