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home : columns : joel alvstad June 24, 2016

10/16/2013 11:24:00 AM
As strange as I've seen

Joel Alvstad
Sports Editor

Having lived in Minnesota basically my entire life, I've seen some of the strange weather that can take place in this great state.
I experienced the Halloween blizzard of 1991. I, and many others in these parts, vividly remember the March 1998 tornado. I remember the Oct. 1 Windom/JCC snow bowl.
But I have to say that the weather we've seen in 2013 might just take the cake.
The spring sports season was basically condensed down to two weeks or less when weird winter weather struck the area several weeks in a row - ice, heavy snowfall, cold rain. We saw it all. And we had snow on the ground on May 1, which I had never seen before.
Then, we went weeks through the summer with no rainfall.
Now, during the fall sports season, we've had back-to-back football Fridays with thunderstorms in the area.
Prior to last week, I had never covered a football game that had been suspended due to lightning. In fact, I can only think of a couple of baseball games that I've covered where lightning came through the area, causing a suspension in play.
But for a football game? Never.
And apparently we here in Windom were fortunate. While lightning was flashing all over in the sky, none of it struck the ground. The same could not be said for other football games in the area. Fortunately, no one was injured in the lightning-related incidents.
Now, this week, we had more rain and lightning in the area. Several games state-wide were either postponed, suspended or ended early due to lightning, including Windom's game against JCC. I definitely haven't seen football games impacted by severe weather in back-to-back weeks.
With all the rain, thunder and lightning in the area the last two weeks, one can only guess as to what Mother Nature will deliver next.
I'm not a meteorologist, but I'd be willing to bet that we'll be standing in a few inches of the white stuff by the end of the month. At least we aren't the Black Hills, where a week later, they're still cleaning up from over four feet of snow.
Statement win
The game of the week in this part of the state was in Edgerton Friday, where the only weather issue was a steady wind out of the south, blowing from one end of the field to the other.
Mt. Lake Area and Edgerton-Ellsworth both entered the game at 6-0 and EE was hoping to impose its will physically against the Wolverines.
Instead, it was MLA that imposed its physical will, as it has the entire season. The Wolverines raced to a 22-0 lead, then scored a back-breaking touchdown with 20 seconds left in the first half and went on to a 48-18 road victory.
Yes, the Wolverines' offensive numbers this season have been eye-popping, particularly the point differential. But there are some key causes for that. First, MLA's defense has been dominant, which has forced teams into turnovers and punting situations deep in their own end. That translates to quick offense.
Second, the Wolverine offense has shown the ability to strike quickly or to grind it out. Through seven games, the Wolverines have yet to attempt a punt. That includes the six games to start the year where the JV played the bulk of the second half.
Third, the drive for greatness began immediately after last year's state quarterfinal loss to Grand Meadow. Grand Meadow was bigger, faster and stronger than MLA last year. That message got relayed in the post-game huddle. And the message hit home and sunk in for many players on the team, who committed to an off-season of weight training. That off-season training began the Monday after their state loss.
Time will tell if this year's MLA team gets back to State and reaches the ultimate goal of winning a state title. The Wolverines have reigning state champion Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley in their section, and MLA will likely have another game against Edgerton-Ellsworth before seeing the defending state champs.
But one thing is certain. This year's MLA team has the horses to make a run deep in the playoffs if things fall the right way.

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