LAKE PARK, Iowa -- Humans are strange creatures. It was suggested this week that coach Lane Gunderson’s Harris-Lake Park Wolves might be overconfident for the remainder of their football regular season now that they’ve got a win under their belt and their most difficult schedule is behind them.
Gunderson scoffed at the remark.
“I think I can show ‘em some things on film that would keep them from overconfidence,” he said.
Point taken. Before the 2020 fall season began, Coach Gunderson expressed optimism that his Wolves will enjoy a successful year. He noted, however, that the team’s most challenging games would come in the first two weeks against very good Newell-Fonda and Remsen St. Mary’s squads.
He appears to be a prophet. Newell-Fonda blitzed H-LP 54-7 in the season opener, which was followed a week later by a 52-0 whitewashing by St. Mary’s. Finally, last Friday, the Wolves began to turn things around by shutting out Kingsley-Pierson 21-0.
“We played real excellent defense. We were by far the best we’ve been all year on defense. Everybody was on the same page and we really flew to the ball,” said the coach.
After three weeks of the season, Harris-Lake Park does appear to be a team on the rise. Elsewhere in northwest Iowa, other teams are making their marks. Sibley-Ocheyedan won its first two contests 21-8 over MOC/Floyd Valley and 19-18 over Hartley-Melvin Sanborn before losing its third game 27-7 to previously winless Western Christian on homecoming night. Central Lyon/George-Little Rock is 3-0 with wins over Alta-Aurelia 54-7, West Sioux 40-0 and Unity Christian 21-0.
This Friday, Harris-Lake Park hosts GTRA while Sibley-Ocheyedan is at Hinton and CL/G-LR is at Sheldon.
Early this week, Harris-Lake Park was still waiting to hear whether their outstanding quarterback, Brody Sohn, can play again this fall. He suffered an injury to his throwing shoulder in the St. Mary’s game and underwent an MRI on Monday. Gunderson said a doctor suggested he might be better off returning as a receiver if he can return.
Against Kingsley-Pierson, the H-LP offense was in good form with Tyce Gunderson behind center and completing 11 of 17 passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns. Lucas Gunderson rushed 18 times for 54 yards and a score, and receiver Dylan Meyer caught four passes for 129 yards and two TDs.
Defensively, Tyce led the team with 8.5 tackles and Lucas had seven. Jaxon Heikens had two sacks and Braydan Perkins had three tackles for loss.
Coach Gunderson is determined not to put too much stress on the team’s two early-season setbacks. Both rivals, he said, appear talented enough to play for state titles this year. And as for his own team, he pointed out that some of his newer, younger starters seemed slow to adjust to the speed of the game.
He’s hoping more wins are in the team’s future.
“We’ve still got a lot of potential,” said the veteran coach. “I think that was the biggest challenge, helping the kids to not completely lose their confidence after those first two games. We’re closer than it seems, according to the scores.”
Sibley-Ocheyedan entered 2020 hoping to improve on last year’s 3-6 record, and second-year head coach Tate Kellenberger is right on schedule. With a veteran unit headlined by senior quarterback Beau Jenness, senior running back Dylan Platt, and other seniors Austin Kruger and Tage Henrichs, the Generals count experience as a team strength.
Jenness completed 3 of 11 passes for 44 yards in the tight win over H-M-S while rushing 12 times for 69 yards, and Kruger made four tackles.
Platt and Jenness have rushed for 192 and 169 yards, respectively, thus far, with Jenness averaging 5.8 yards per carry and Platt averaging 4.8.
Kellenberger said the Generals weren’t at peak form last Friday, but he added, “Overally, we’re really happy with how the guys are coming to work every day.”
In outscoring their rivals 115-7 over three games, Central Lyon/George-Little Rock has been led offensively by senior quarterback Zach Lutmer. In the win over West Sioux, Lutmer gained 218 yards on 19 carries and three touchdowns. He has rushed for seven touchdowns in the team’s three games.
In the Unity Christian game, CL/G-LR held their opponents to seven total first downs and 131 total yards.