EVELETH — A week removed from their first ever win as a varsity program, the Rock Ridge football team now turns their eyes to Two Harbors, a familiar foe that defeated both Virginia and Eveleth-Gilbert last season.
Their first road contest slated for 7 p.m. tonight in Two Harbors, co-head coach Sean Streier said his squad looks to take the momentum from last Thursday into tonight. Taking down North Woods in their opener, the Wolverines have plenty of positive vibes flowing at practice
“That was a big momentum builder and confidence booster for us,” Streier said of his team’s 20-14 win over North Woods. “That boosted our morale. We have results that we can point to and show what’s working and what’s not working.
“North Woods was a good team. It doesn’t matter what class they’re in. They got fight, they’re strong and they have some serious talent on that roster and that’s what Two Harbors has as well.”
The Agates formed a co-op with Duluth Marshall this season, a school that hasn’t had a program for a few years. Still, Streier says it's more bodies and names to look out for as they gameplan for Two Harbors.
“Their numbers have increased so they’re kind of in a similar boat as us. They have some kids from Marshall that maybe we haven’t seen in some time. As far as what they do, it's ground and pound. They run the ball.
“They have some double tight, double wing they run and they moved to a little bit of a power-T formation from what we saw in film. We’ve been prepping the best we can. It’s hard to replicate what they do at practice since they’ve been doing it now for so many years.”
While it’s easy to look at the two teams and compare the amount of players they have and the size they have on the field, something often overlooked early in the season is a team’s confidence in what they run. Streier said he and the other coaches have been doing everything they can to make sure the Wolverines come in as confident against the Agates as they did against the Grizzlies.
“As coaches, we are very confident in what we have planned up for Friday night. We’ve been instilling that in the players as well. You practice it and practice it every day and we hope their confidence level is there to match what we know they can do on the field.
“If we can keep our momentum into Friday, we’ll start the game strong. If we start the game strong, we’ll keep rolling with it and that will only help our confidence even more.”
Another potential challenge is playing on the road for the first time. Last week, the Wolverines saw something they weren’t used to seeing: A large, loud student section cheering them on, ready to come down to the field and celebrate after the game was over. Now, they’ll need to contend with the opposite in Two Harbors.
“The great thing is that seeing all those fans was a shock to the kids. They weren’t necessarily always used to that so going to an away game is maybe something that’s comforting somewhat. Virginia was on the road every game last year so it’s not much of a game changer for those guys. Dealing with another team’s fans, that doesn’t make much of a difference for us. We’ll just have to roll with it.”
Hoping to avenge last year’s losses, Streier says the Wolverines are ready to prove themselves once more.
“We just need to play our game of football. Going into it, we lost to them last year so let’s prove them wrong this year. Maybe they don’t think much of us but we want to show them that they’re wrong.”