NEW ULM - Last weekend, high school football fans in New Ulm had to travel to watch their favorite team play.
This weekend, fans can get their fill of high school football here in New Ulm as all three schools will get a taste of home cooking with Minnesota Valley Lutheran and New Ulm High School seeing their first home games.
MVL plays Friday night before NUHS and New Ulm Cathedral make it a day-night doubleheader Saturday.
MANKATO LOYOLA (0-2) AT MINNESOTA VALLEY LUTHERAN (1-2) 7 P.M. FRIDAY, JOHNSON FIELD
The Crusaders have lost to Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial 42-6 and to 4A school St, Paul Harding 20-19 but their record can be a little deceiving.
"They had some players who were out for those games but they will be back for this game," Minnesota Valley Lutheran football coach Jim Buboltz said. "They will be back to full strength on Friday and they are pretty excited about getting those players back."
This Gopher Valley Conference "A" meeting will see a Crusader team that will show the Chargers some familiar formations.
"They do some double wing things that are similar to what St. Clair did," he said. "And they will run some four-wide (receivers) also. They will do some spread stuff - they are going to mix it up quite a bit."
Size-wise, Loyola and the Chargers are similar unlike last week against St. Clair, where MVL met a bigger team.
"There will be a lot of speedy athletes out there Friday," Buboltz said. "They have a couple of players who can really bring it - they have a couple of really dangerous players."
MVL enters this game below .500 at 1-2, but realistically they could be sitting at 3-0.
"We have played with enough effort and have played tough enough to be 3-0, but we have made a couple of mistakes that have really hurt us," Buboltz said.
He said that his team is healthy, "but our big thing is to cut down on the mistakes."
"We are getting into week four and if we have had three weeks of mistakes and two weeks those mistakes have cost us games, we need to tighten things up."
Playing at home may be a help in doing that.
"We are excited about playing at home," Buboltz said.
TRACY-MILROY-BALATON (1-1) AT NEW ULM HIGH SCHOOL (0-2) 2 P..M SATURDAY, JOHNSON FIELD
In this first-ever football meeting between the Panthers of Tracy-Milroy-Balaton and New Ulm High School, the chore of the Eagles is to stop a Panther offense that has scored 46 and 50 points in their first two games.
"They have scored 96 points in two games (46 in a 52-46 loss to Murray County Central) so their offense is rolling pretty well," said Eagles football coach Tony Ortmann. "But they have given up 72 points in two games. That made their first game with MCC a ballgame right away. That first game went into double overtime."
The 3A Panthers of the Camden Conference will come to Johnson Field with a spread offense.
"They will show a shotgun with two running backs," Ortmann said. "But they are pretty balanced in the run-pass attack."
Ortmann said that his players are ready to TMB.
"They know what Tracy can do and they can put points on the board," he said. "They are mentally preparing to this game."
Ortmann said that this "is one of those fun games to coach because they do so many different things that you cannot build off of tendencies. You go out there and coach against it- they do this, you do that."
He also knows that in addition to trying to stop the Panthers' offense, he has to get his team to stop making mental mistakes.
'We are going to film practice and watch how our kids do," he said. "And then let them watch the film so that we are always doing the right thing. Sometimes you can get so caught up in what the other team does but I have always wanted to focus on us. I would rather spend more time watching our film than the other team. We need to cut down on our mistakes."
SLEEPY EYE ST. MARY'S (2-0) AT NEW ULM CATHERAL (1-1) 7 P.M. SATURDAY JOHNSON FIELD
After a tough loss to Springfield in its opening game, New Ulm Cathedral got on track last week with a 54-26 win over Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart.
The Greyhounds hope to use that momentum Saturday when they meet unbeaten Sleepy Eye St. Mary's in a Southern Minnesota Conference game.
"Our coaching staff has said that they want to see improvement each day in practice," Cathedral coach Denny Lux said. "That is the benefits with having some newer guys on the field in that they take giant strides."
He said that last week's win "was a big stride forward from the week before. And there is no reason why we cannot keep that going this week."
Lux said that one of the benefits on playing at home is to get the Greyhound home crowd into the game.
"They [St. Mary's] will have enthusiasm on their side of the field," he said. "But we need to establish Cathedral football at home and what that stands for and the pride that we have."
Last week, the Greyhounds did get some confidence back and made some big halftime adjustments.
"Our offensive line made a commitment to what they were doing on the line," Lux said. "We have backs with speed and good vision. Last week we did a better job with our quarterback in carrying our fakes. Our confidence really showed in the second half."
He added that his defense is also making huge strides in two games.
And a young, inexperienced team may soon lose that label.
"Our learning scale has been tremendous," Lux said. "Real soon we will not be talking about the young kids that we have but we will be treating them like veterans. I think that is the way that they want to be treated."
He is also seeing a maturity on the team.
"We score a touchdown on a long run, our guys just give the ball to the referee," he said. "I just really appreciate our players and how they do not draw attention to themselves. That is a sign of maturity."
Lux thinks that field position, which comes from the kicking game, will be a key to this contest.
"We also need to make sure that defensively we have a big field behind us and offensively to give us a chance on our return game to pick up some yards."