Will it be home sweet home?
After two rough weeks on the road, the Estherville Lincoln Central football team returns home-hopefully to better fortunes as Denison-Schleswig makes its first-ever visit to Hoyt Luithly Field.
The Monarchs are 3-3 on the season, but can lay claim that two of those losses were to the top two teams in the state.
Denison-Schleswig opened the season against then-No. 2 Harlan and lost 20-7. The Monarchs then began district play against No. 1 Bishop Heelan-a 34-0 loss.
Monarch coach Dave Wiebers said the one game his team might like back is a 12-7 loss to LeMars.
But after falling to 1-3 and 0-2, Denison-Schleswig battled back with a 10-7 overtime win over Sergeant Bluff-Luton and unloaded on Storm Lake last week 42-17.
“We were a little stale in the middle of the season, but I think we’ve improved in the last couple weeks,” Wiebers said. “We’ll definitely have to improve against a tough ELC team.”
In ELC, Wiebers see a team that if it converted a couple scores in the redzone and did a couple different things, the Midgets could easily be 4-2.
“They’re well-coached and have good discipline,” he said. “Against Sergeant -Bluff-Luton, a couple good pass plays and they’re right in it. We have to play at our top level to win this one.”
ELC coach Jerry Shultz said the Monarchs will test his team.
“They definitely create a big challenge for us,” he said. “They’re solid all around. They have a good tailback that runs hard and is elusive. They have a young quarterback that throws well and they’re big up front.”
An example of their size is 6-foot-4, 270-pound tight end Brandon Scherff, a state champion in the shot put this past spring.
However, the game may come down to field position.
“They have the best kicker in the league, so field position will be an advantage for them,” Shultz said, adding that he hasn’t seen a kickoff yet that didn’t go out of the endzone.”
Shultz agrees with Wiebers about the Midgets struggles to score.
“We’ve been down there close a few times, but haven’t been able to score,” he said.
“Defensively, we need to quit giving up the big plays-both run and pass. We do well for a while and then the other team breaks one.
“We need to play with a lot more energy than we have been.”