“The big kid (Sykes) is something we didn’t have an answer for,” said Rebel coach Dave Louzek. “We were undersized all season long and tried four-man and five-man fronts and tried blitzing our linebackers, but then their quarterback would get to the outside.”
“That play was huge,” said Wrens coach Brent Johnson. “Nick was able to hit Mark in stride and it was a foot race to the end zone.”
“Kelley is a very good and quick back,” said Johnson. “To rush for as many yards as he had and for their team not to come out on top doesn’t happen very often. Through the first half, the game was tight with South Ridge taking a 22-14 lead into the locker room at intermission.
“The expectations coming into the season were to improve on last season and continuing to get better both as a team and at the individual level,” explained Klyve. “There were a few games we let get away that I felt we could have won, but overall the improvement from week to week is always our goal.”
“We have a big group of seniors, but also many very young girls with important roles, so it’s a very interesting team,” Randall said. “At times we have played extremely well, like at Denfeld, and other times we have underachieved a little bit like against Esko and Hermantown.”
“Eight of our 10 girls played this past summer in the Esko League together, which helped them get some court time,” North said. “Also, six of the 10 girls are involved with the Junior Olympic program which had them playing volleyball outside the season. They want to be better and that helps them work better as a unit.”
“It felt nice to go to Cloquet and win in three and I was proud of my crew for finishing,” Jackson said. “We’ve definitely got work to do as we find ourselves up by a stretch and we allow opponents to come back. We need to maintain the same consistent volleyball we set out to maintain the first place.”
Ashland won the girls overall team title with 57 points, but Cloquet was second with 62 points. The Superior Spartans were right on the heels of Cloquet with 63 points and a third-place finish, then Northwestern fourth with 72 points and Duluth East fifth with 82 points. Izzy Sutherland of Duluth East ran a great race to win the girls race by 30 seconds over second place finisher Anja Maijala of Cloquet.