Football preview: Spuds are regular season finale for Alexandria
By: Eric Morken, Alexandria Echo Press
By Eric Morken
Even after three straight losses, there is still plenty to play for as the Alexandria football team heads to Moorhead tonight for the regular season finale against the Spuds.
Winning four straight games to start the season helped the Cardinals build an early cushion against the rest of the Section 8AAAA field. The opportunity to earn a top three seed is still there if things fall in Alexandria’s favor around the area tonight.
That all starts with the Cardinals breaking their current losing streak against the 4-3 Spuds. Moorhead started the season 3-1 but has dropped two of its last three games against Central Lakes Conference opponents. Both teams are going to be playing with a sense of urgency as they try to enter the playoffs on a positive note.
“There is that mental piece that enters in,” Alexandria head coach Mike Empting said when asked if his team needs this win to have some confidence going into next week. “Besides that, there are ramifications around the game, too. If we get this we can still get a two seed and that gives us home field. I would love for our seniors to be able to play [a playoff game] at Citizens Field.”
The Cardinals just have to put things together on both sides of the ball. The defense helped carry this team early in the season, allowing just seven points during a three-game span that allowed them to jump out to a 4-0 start. Last week, the offense scored 31 points and had more than 400 yards of total offense.
“We’re at the point where we feel like we got something together offensively against Little Falls,” Empting said. “We want to keep building on that.”
Empting has not wavered in the confidence he has in his players. He still feels they are a good football team that needs to clean things up to reach its full potential. His message to his players hasn’t changed through the three-game losing streak.
“Go out and play for each other and enjoy the game,” he said. “The kids have been playing hard. I thought we’ve only had one game where we maybe didn’t have the energy I would have liked…don’t get me wrong, we have our moments in practice where we as coaches get fed up with the same mistakes, and we let them know it. At the same time, we hope they learn from them and move on and get better from it. I want them to feel confident in themselves and in their teammates so they can go out there and have fun.”
Playing with confidence will allow this group to get back to playing fast and aggressive on both sides of the ball. A win tonight would go a long way toward instilling that confidence in them before the second season starts next Tuesday.
“I look at our section and I really believe there is a lot of balance,” Empting said. “There is not a team out there that we can’t beat. We just have to play the defense that we played at the beginning of the year and play the offense that we are starting to play right now.”