Football Prepares for Central and Gives Back to Those in Service

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Football Prepares for Central and Gives Back to Those in Service

Head Coach Luke Mertens looks out at his team in the 14-7 win against Grant on Sept. 23.

Head Coach Luke Mertens looks out at his team in the 14-7 win against Grant on Sept. 23.

Abby Vanderwall

Head Coach Luke Mertens looks out at his team in the 14-7 win against Grant on Sept. 23.

Abby Vanderwall

Abby Vanderwall

Head Coach Luke Mertens looks out at his team in the 14-7 win against Grant on Sept. 23.

Stephen Gerrits, Sports Editor

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After starting off the season with two loses, the football team of Lakes Community High School extended their win streak to three after beating Grant 14-7 in the conference matchup on Sept. 23 to improve their record to (3-2).

The game was much closer than in years past in large part due to mental mistakes. However, Head Coach Luke Mertens believes that his team had control of the entire game.

“The game was close due to costly turnovers. Although the score may not show it, we did have control of most of the game,” Mertens said.

It was a tale of two stories for the Eagles as their offense couldn’t capitalize while their defense had a perfect game giving up zero points. Grant’s only points of the game came off an interception that was returned for a touchdown. In the future, Mertens thinks that the success of his defense will determine the success of the team.

“Defense is what will dictate the success of our team moving forward, and hopefully into the playoffs,” Mertens said.

Senior offensive lineman Andy Picchietti says that the key to getting the offense back to normal is communication.

“The main thing we have focused on has been playing together and communication especially on the offensive line,” Picchietti said. “The offense can only function when all of us are doing our job.”

This week is Homecoming week for the Eagles as the square off against the Rams of Grayslake Central. The Rams have only won one game this season which was their first win in 22 games.

Even with a less talented opponent Lakes should be prepared to bring it to Central according to Mertens.

If our players listen to anything we have taught them through the years, then [focus] will not be a problem,” Mertens said. “No game is unimportant in football, especially with two losses.  Football is the only sport that requires to team to actually qualify for the postseason.  If the postseason is important to our players, then they will be ready on Friday night.”

Picchietti credits the coaches for keeping the team on track and improving.

“The coaches do a great job of keeping us focused on ourselves and not who we are playing. We see tonight as an opportunity to get better and improve just like every other game,” Picchietti said.

This football game will not be like any other game for the Lakes program. It is an opportunity for them to raise money for a good cause in ‘Troop Dreams’. It is an organization that helps reunite deployed soldiers with their families. Mertens felt that participating in this cause was the right thing for his program to do.

Our men and women in the service; their volunteerism is inspiring, and I want our program to give back as a thank you,” Mertens said.

Picchietti says that he is proud of his team for participating in this great program.

“It just shows how our program is about a lot more than just football. Seeing the family in person that we get to help will make me happier than any victory would,” Picchietti said.

Small American flags and rally towels will be on sale and donations will be collected to raise money for Troop Dreams at the game against Grayslake Central on Sept. 30 at 7:15 p.m. at Polley Field.

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