NEW ULM - Minnesota Valley Lutheran football coach Jim Buboltz said that his team made "a lot of mistakes" in the first half of its game Thursday against a good Sleepy Eye St. Mary's team.
"In the first half we had an opportunity to score and take the lead but turned the ball over inside the five yard line," Buboltz said. "That could have changed a lot of things for us obviously. But we made a lot of mistakes and it does not matter who you are playing.They made us pay for it.
"This was first-game kind of stuff and these are all things that we will be able to fix," he said. "For our first game there were more positives then negatives."
What may have affected the sharpness of the Chargers was not having a scrimmage last Saturday due to lightning while other teams did.
"Right away it was an eye-opener to a lot of guys," Buboltz said. "Plus I give St. Mary's a lot of credit. They were well prepared and ready to go. That did hurt, especially right away but that is not an excuse. We need to be ready to go."
Buboltz felt that quarterback Noah Edwards making his first varsity start "did more good than bad. He threw the ball well and he will find the targets better. He faced a good rush and had a lot of pressure on him."
Buboltz was not happy with the play of the offensive or defensive lines in the 27-8 loss.
"The linemen have to get better but again you are judging them against one of the best lines in our area. St. Mary's front line is very, very good. But our guys know that they have to get better and that is probably where the most work will get done."
Buboltz felt that Seth Kroells, Andrew Kuester and Josh Wong all played a solid game Thursday.
"We would have liked to have competed a little bit better but in the big scheme of it the team knows that these are all things that can be fixed," Buboltz said. "I believe that teams improve the most from week one to week two. You get that first game out of the way with the first hits and the first opponent."
EAGLES FUTURE SEEN FRIDAY: Fans who attended the New Ulm Eagles football game with New Prague here Friday may have gotten a glimpse of the future.
Sophomores Cooper Yackley at quarterback and Jordan Hillesheim at fullback along with freshman Luke Scheid all saw their first varsity time.
"We were really happy with how our young guys performed," New Ulm coach Tony Ortmann said. "We are really happy with the young guys and how they stepped up."
Ortmann knew something about Hilesheim, who broke off a school-record 98-yard touchdown run in the game Friday. Ortmann coaches Hillesheim in track.
"He is one of my sprinters in track," Ortmann said. "He has that speed to bust lose once he gets north and south. He does a nice job for us."
He said that the team's effort was good "but we still need to clean up penalties offensively. On defense we need to keep working on the tackling. We also need to continue to build our depth. Andrew Stewart got hurt (but should be back for Friday's game) at guard for us. We need to work on our number two's so that when they step in we do not miss a beat."
While Ortmann wants to improve his team's tackling, he faces a Catch-22 situation in practice.
"We want them to work on tackling but because of our lack of depth it is hard to do live tackling," Ortmann said. "We are looking at ways to give us live looks to work on tackling."
He added that the biggest things in tackling "is heart and the desire to want to tackle. There are techniques you can work on but you need to have that want and desire."
Ortmann said that he was happy with the play of his offensive line and of Lorenzo Hernandez at linebacker and guard.
"Our two inside linebackers of Lorenzo and Matt Rowley played very well in the middle for us."
HOUNDS OPEN UP IN SECOND HALF: Looking at the final score of New Ulm Cathedral's game with Martin County West, a 30-18 Greyhound win, you may be surprised that the game was scoreless at halftime.
"I was pleased with our senior leadership," Cathedral coach Denny Lux said. "It was scoreless at halftime and we had a couple of things in the first half that probably kept us out of the end zone. But we did not show any frustration and we came together really well at halftime. We drove down in our first drive of the second half and scored. I think that set the tone for our team in the second half."
Lux said that his team found its running game in the second half.
"We mixed in a few pass plays here and there. But probably some of the keys in that second half were some of the two-point conversions that we got and defending their two-point conversions. Those plays made a big difference in the second half."
He said that Martin County West "did a good job of throwing the ball and that is an area that we need to work on. We need to get our defensive backs to cover. We need to give them a feel of where they are on the field especially on the deep ball."
Cathedral powered the ball on the ground the entire game with Bryan Kokesch, Austin Cooper, Jacob Gangelhoff and Michael Skillings. "We did a good job of wearing them down on the offensive and defensive lines."
Lux thought a big key in the game was the play of defensive ends Nick Stadick and Isaiah Osborne.
"This was their first game there," Lux said. "They are two juniors who are playing a different spot this year. With the type of offense that Martin County West ran they got a lot of work and grew into their positions.'
He said they need to work on pass coverage.
"We need to get our safeties over the top and cover the deep ball," Lux said. "Our linebackers have to understand that they cannot bite on the double move. We also need to find more guys for the defensive line - we need to keep guys fresh."