Column: MLC football hopes to repeat last year’s success

In 2016, the Martin Luther College Knights football team went 0-10.

Despite that winless season, head football coach Mark Stein felt good about the team.

“Our best practices that season were during weeks were during weeks eight, nine and 10,” Stein said.

Next season, the Knights jumped to .500 at 5-5.

Last year, they continued that improvement by winning the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference.

Despite winning the UMAC with a 9-0 record, this year’s Knights team may have more of a chip on their shoulder this season than ever before.

“We lost to Gustavus last year (32-20) and that is the first game we have this year,” defensive tackle Dan Gensmer said. “We have a lot to prepare for — we ended our season losing to St. John’s [in the playoffs]. We were shown that there are bigger fish in the pond. We have a lot of guys who we really want to show that as a 700-student school can actually put St. John’s up to their numbers.

“We found out how working as a team and a unit — not individuals — and putting in the time in the off-season, we were able to grow as a team,” he said. “We saw the pieces come together last season. If I make a play it is not because of me it is because I have 10 other guys behind me.”

Gensmer said when he was a freshman, players were told — even from their own classmates — that they were not going to win a game.

“We were living under the pressure here,” Gensmer said.

But now things have changed.

“Now we have guys who wished that they had been on our football team and wished that they had joined us,” Gensmer said. “And we have guys who are looking forward to our season and pushing us. Now we have more people behind us than ever.”

THE POWER OF PLAYOFFS: When the Tomahawk East League regular season ended, the New Ulm Brewers were champions followed by Hanska, Springfield, Lamberton, Stark, Gibbon and Sleepy Eye in the top seven. After the Region 2C playoffs were done, eliminated were No. 2 Hanska, No. 3 Springfield, No. 4 Lamberton and No. 6 Gibbon.

BREWERS FAN BUS: The New Ulm Baseball Association is looking to take a fan bus to the New Ulm Brewers state tournament game Sunday, August 25 in Maple Lake.

The game is at 1:30 p.m. against an opponent to be dermined. The bus will leave Mueller Park at 11 a.m. and return shortly after the game. Cost is $15 per person and includes snacks and beverages, both adult and pop. The NUBA needs 30 fans for the bus.

Those interested can sign up at the New Ulm Chamber of Commerce office or contact Bob Skillings at 507-217-9038 if you have any questions. You must pay when you sign up. If there are not enough people for a bus, your money will be refunded.