With enough talent to make deep runs in the Class 2 playoffs for years to come--or at least longer than Eddard Stark held on as Lord of Winterfell (#GameOfThrones)--the Lutheran North Crusaders host our Wildcats this Saturday on Lucas & Hunt Road just a potato gun shot from the UMSL campus (#GoTritons). Last year, LN had come off bruising encounters with Clayton and SLU High before they visited Thomas Cranmer Field at Westminster Stadium, and after holding u off the first couple possessions, the Cats broke through for a 28-0 halftime lead--utilizing a Cameron Tucker pick-six and a Steve Webb rip-six on defense--en route to a 35-6 win. But North recovered down the stretch, parlaying an explosive offense which averaged 52 points per game over the next nine games (#ArenaFootball). Losing to Palmyra in the Class 2 quarterfinals was no shame for Carl Reed's men, who finished the year 8-5.
The supersonic slinger Aqeel Glass takes his final season behind center, having committed already to the Sun Belt Conference's Florida International University (#GoldenPanthers). Clocking in at a completion percentage just south of sixty, Glass is averaging 235 yards a game and can spread the wealth around to a talented posse of pass-pluckers. Jordan Sommerville is the primary deep threat to the Wildcat secondary, with his twelve catches for 291 yards evoking comparisons to the legendary Wolverine, Anthony Carter.
Not content merely to tear up the airwaves, Glass can roll out and keep the ball, or hand it off to Donovan Marshall and his 211 total yards on 5.1 yards a crack (#WheresJeromeBettis). The Crusaders will stretch the Wildcats' front and see if they can contain their speed, but, having seen the workhorse effort of Jacob Larson in last week's game, they are sure to test the middle of the vaunted Westminster defensive line.
The injury to Chad Briden has given Coach Chris Pederson and his cohorts a chance to hit the reset button and change personnel if not the visionary approach. Josh Pottebaum will likely be called on to fill Briden's shoes, and Steve Webb no doubt wants to recover from being reined in against St. Dominic. Lutheran North has size along the line, and it may come down to how much conditioning each side has when the game moves into its latter stages. (#RunBabyRun)
All in all, it comes down to what team shows up for Westminster tomorrow in Normandy (#NotTheD-DayOne). Who steps into their roles and flourishes will go a long way toward securing victory over a talented North squad. Yes, the road is a tough slog, much like the slip and slide effort of the Panthers and Jaguars...
There's always a place for the hidden champion. And may we find that way to victory on the road tomorrow.