Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Raider football: NHS needs to up the intensity for home opener
By: Jeff Wald, Sports Editor
Posted: Tuesday, September 8, 2009 10:31 pm
NORTHFIELD — After a disappointing start to the football season on Friday in Mankato, Raider head coach Bubba Sullivan has one goal for his team this week: Play with emotion, and do it for four quarters.
The Raiders got off to a great start Friday against the Scarlets, scoring the first 17 points. Mankato West scored before the end of the first half, and it completely deflated the Raiders the rest of the night.
“On film, it wasn’t as bad as we thought it was,” Sullivan said of the 35-17 loss to open the season. “It’s just intensity. We didn’t play Northfield football. We need guys to step up and play with more emotion. We need some on-field leaders.”
Northfield returns to Memorial Field Friday night to host Shakopee in its Missota Conference opener. The Sabers are coming off a 28-21 win over St. Paul Central in their opener. Last year, the Raiders had a 28-14 lead in the second half before having to hang on to a 28-20 win.
This year, Shakopee is a bigger and better team — one that should give the Raiders a great test in their first home game.
Sullivan said the team’s offensive and defensive lines are “huge.” They have two defensive tackles between 270 and 290 pounds. They also feature an offensive line with three players over 250 pounds.
The Sabers run an old-fashioned single wing offense where any one of three players can take the snap and run with it or pass. Quarterback Scott Hauer passed for 76 yards and two scores last Friday, and running back Jake Weber went for 53 yards and a touchdown. Dylan Ulferts is also the team’s top receiver.
The Raiders are healthy heading into Friday’s home opener, so getting a win is a matter of playing at a higher level.
“I felt coming in this was their year to contend in the conference,” Sullivan said of Shakopee. “We’re going to fix the things that need fixing and we need to play tough, emotional football.”
Coach Sullivan’s keys to the game
1. Play Four Quarters: We didn’t do that last week and we saw what happened. We need to play a full game.
2. Play with Emotion: We need to get back to playing Northfield football. Play with higher intensity and emotion.
3. Line of Scrimmage: We can’t let them steamroll us off the ball. We need to win the battle at the line of scrimmage.
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