PREP FOOTBALL: Wolves look to finish season with bang
LAKE PARK, Iowa -- The Harris-Lake Park Wolves are hoping to end their season with an 8-3 record, but in order to do so they will need to come up with a big win over the St. Mary's Hawks tonight.
One of the biggest obstacles in the Wolves way will be the Hawks dominant offense. That will mean slowing down St. Mary's quarterback, who has accounted for just under 2,000 yards of total offense and 25 touchdowns for the Hawks.
"He has thrown for over 1,200 yards and 17 touchdowns," H-LP coach Lane Gunderson said. "He has also run for 710 yards and eight touchdowns. We will need to find a way to contain him.
"We've played three teams with similar styles of play, but we will have to continue to get better if we want to win this one."
The Wolves' defense will be tested early and often by the Hawks, but Gunderson believes his team is up for the task.
"I've been impressed with our defense so far this year," Gunderson said. "We've had a lot of guys go down with injuries and kids have stepped up. But now we are healthier and I can throw guys where there strengths are instead of where they are needed."
Even though defense will play a key part for H-LP, the Wolves offense will also need to play well to get the win.
"I'm surprised we have been as balanced on offense as we have been so far," Gunderson said. "Our run game has been solid and we've made progress on the line to help out the run."
With the run game starting to pick up steam, the Wolves offense will look to open up their passing game as well.
"We need to be aggressive on offense and get our quarterback into a rhythm," Gunderson said. "We will try to hit the short pass and see if they can make the plays they need to in order to stop us."
H-LP will also look to get its special teams players going early in the game. So far this season, the Wolves have scored five touchdowns on kick returns and another two on punt returns.
"This is the best we have ever done as far as the number of touchdowns on the return game," Gunderson said. "I am pleased with the return game and we have only given up one return touchdown this year."
If there is one thing Gunderson feels his team need to improve on, it is avoiding penalties on big plays.
"We have had touchdowns called back a few times this year due to penalties," Gunderson said. "But that was earlier this season, so hopefully we can not do that this game."
In the end, the game may come down to the play of the three playmakers the Wolves have up their sleeves.
"It is not every year that you have three explosive players like we do," Gunderson said. "We have guys that can hurt teams with big plays. And that is why we need to be aggressive out there."
H-LP hosts the Hawks of St. Mary's today, with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m. in Lake Park.
Daily Globe Reporter Jordan Willi
may be reached at 376-7335.