ELC Homecoming 2009: The big game
In 2008, Estherville Lincoln Central faced Bishop Heelan at homecoming.
While the Midgets kept pace with the eventual 3A state champ in the first half, the Crusaders took advantage of turnovers in the second to cruise to a victory.
This year’s homecoming foe is more familiar to ELC fans as the Tigers from Spencer come to town.
As with many football games, ELC coach Chuck Fandel said this will will come down to the play of the line.
“We both run similar offenses and want to establish the option,” said Fandel. “On film, Spencer does a nice job. Their quarterback and full back or both nice players. The important thing is who can control the line of scrimmage.
“Naturally turnovers will be another big factor,” he added. “They’re run the fullback and their wideouts also do a good job of blocking so our defensive backs are going to have go shake them off.”
Fandel said a concern for his team this week is some illness and injuries, but the squad has bounced back well from last week’s loss to Bishop Heelan.
“We’ve had good practices,” Fandel said. “The thing about these guys is they always come ready to practice and are able to shake off what happened. We know this is the most important game until next week.”
Spencer coach Jim Tighe’s team has had a down and up season thus far, but he attributes that to the type of competition.
The Tigers started with a loss to Emmetsburg in the season opener and came back with a win over Cherokee. They then lost the district opener to LeMars and won last week over Storm Lake.
“We really played poorly that first game,” said Tighe. “We got better the next week and better against LeMars.
“I’ve been pleased with how we seem to be getting better each week,” he said. “We come into the fifth game of the season and we’re still not sure which direction our season will go. We have a team that can play with anybody, but if we don’t come to play, anyone can knock of us.”
Tighe describes his team as not big, but with decent speed.
Looking to tonight’s game with ELC, the Spencer coach said he’s been impressed with the line on both sides of the ball.
“As far as their run defense, they did good things against Heelan-the same against MOC,” Tighe said.
Of course the Tigers are familiar with ELC quarterback Alex Arends.
“We remember him from last year and he does a nice job,” Tighe said. “We see they’re running the option more, similar to what we do and he throws the ball well.”
After watching last year’s homecoming game between Heelan and ELC, Tighe said he knows the Midgets will come out and “play hard.”