Splitting the odds

by John Mulcrone

Riding high off of their 39-20 rout of the Benedictine Eagles on Saturday, Sept. 8, the Loras College football team will travel to Decorah, Iowa this week to take on the Luther College Norse in the opening week of American Rivers Conference play.  The Duhawks (1-1) defeated Benedictine behind two receiving touchdowns from senior wideout Brad Boelkow and a 100 yard kick return touchdown from first-year Elijah Thomas. Now sitting at 1-1 heading into conference play after a bye week, the Duhawks are hoping to parlay the extra practices into a second straight victory.  Loras head coach Steve Helminiak says the team will use the extra practices to get back to the basics.

“Well, part of it, this week, is sort of getting back to fundamentals. Even though we are preparing for Luther, there’s some stuff that you can sort of back track on and get back to working on with your guys that you haven’t been able to work on in the last couple weeks because you’ve been getting ready for an opponent,” Helminiak said.

photos courtesy of Jim Naprstek/ Loras college athletics

Loras and Luther have played some very competitive games the last few years, with the series tied 6-6 since 2006. Luther won last year’s contest 35-21 while the Duhawks won 43-28 the year prior. Helminiak noted how Luther’s teams are known for their toughness and relentlessness.

“We’ve got a tough opponent right out of the gates in Luther. Luther, for whatever reason, it doesn’t matter who they play. They are a tough, physical, scrappy team.  They will play for four quarters. If they get the momentum, they will run with it, and they seem to make big plays, and take the football away, and it’s kind of been that way as long as I can remember with Luther,” he said.

Helminiak and his staff are also hoping to use the bye week to prepare for Luther and the rest of the American Rivers Conference.

“We’re going to learn a lot about everybody in the league after this weekend, which is going to be interesting. We’re not playing so we get a chance to watch from the sidelines and see how everyone does, but it’ll teach us a lot about everybody in the league.”

The game will be on Saturday, Sept. 22, kicking off at 1 p.m. in Decorah, Iowa.

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