After five games The Saint Francis Fighting Saints are 2-3 heading into homecoming – after a close game against the Buffalo Bison at Buffalo, and in the last home game where they fought off The Monticello Magic in a last minute victory 21-20.
Four of their five games have ended in a one score difference. After struggling on offense the first few games, the Saints are starting to tune up and dial in their offense. They have worked on finding an identity of being a balanced offense and currently operate with a 50% pass and 50% run record.
That change has slowly happened over the past few years, getting away from the “ground and pound” style that they have been known for in the past. The defense still hits hard, flies to the ball, and gang tackles any running back. However, in the past few games, injuries have occurred that may haunt this team in upcoming games.
“With some of our top players out, like Andrew Hoglund, Mike Wasche, and Hunter Dustman,” said senior running back Zach Graf, “everyone needs to step up and fill their roles. Devon Fisher and Kaden Waller will have to play new positions to fill in for missing starters.”
Hoglund had a season ending injury in the game against Buffalo when he broke his femur during a punt. An opposing player kneed Hoglund in his right leg as he tried to avoid a block. He was removed from the field via ambulance and taken to North Memorial Hospital. He is currently back at school and doing physical therapy to aid in his recovery.
“I don’t think we’ve seen the ramifications of those injuries yet,” said head coach Brent Swaggert. “as new guys get a chance to step up in leadership opportunities and show everyone at homecoming what they got.”
Players have seen unity improving.
“As a team we have been coming together more and more everyday,” said senior inside linebacker Joey Lipinski. “ I am excited to see what the rest of the season entails”
One skill that helps the team in times of injury is the ability for players to step into new shoes and play new positions.
“The more we practice and play together,” said junior cornerback Lucas Hess “we see how well our team can play together and count on others to do the job..”
Senior outside linebacker Reed Pastwa said that the team’s chemistry can bring them a long way.
“So far this season we’ve played 5 very competitive football games,” said Swaggert, “there’s been some learning that’s gone on, including some new people in some new positions”
After facing adversity in recent games, Swaggert hopes his players will use that to their advantage.
“This week in particular we have a challenge with a 4 and 1 football team, the Rogers Royals coming to town,” said Swaggert, “but sometimes what you need is the greatest challenges to get the greatest results from the players you rely on the most.”