Published October 3, 2012
Crusaders seek out redemption
By Jon Malavolti firstname.lastname@example.org Follow Jon on Twitter.
After back-to-back winless seasons, L’Anse Creuse North is on the verge of something special this year.
The Crusaders were 4-2 at press time after a pair of big wins over rivals Fair Haven Anchor Bay and Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse. North topped the Tars 28-14 Sept. 21 at home before besting the Lancers 19-14 Sept. 28 at L’Anse Creuse.
New head coach Anthony Kiner said the success has stemmed from multiple places.
“We have been successful because our student-athletes put in a lot of work in the offseason,” the coach said. “Also, my coaching staff has done an amazing job on teaching and putting game plans together.”
The coach even credited the band, cheerleaders, staff, parents and entire LCN community for helping spur the program’s turnaround.
The last time the Crusaders finished with more than three wins in a season was 2007, which was also the only time the school has played in the state playoffs.
Kiner said one of the team’s remaining goals for the season is to qualify for the postseason. Six wins is an automatic berth, while some 5-4 teams may qualify based on strength of schedule and the number of six-win teams across the state.
That being said, there’s still plenty of work left to be done. The coach said the Crusaders need to work on “finishing on both sides of the ball.”
“We have marched down the field multiple times and not put any points on the board,” Kiner said. “Our defense is playing great, but we have given up too many first downs on third and medium to long. We need to get a sense of urgency and get off the field at that time.”
The Crusaders’ two losses were both close, falling 28-27 in overtime Aug. 30 at Grosse Pointe South and 24-21 Sept. 14 at Romeo High.
Kiner also said the team has a goal of winning all its home games. So far, North has defended its home turf, beating Warren Cousino 27-0 Aug. 23, edging Grosse Pointe North 7-6 Sept. 7 and besting Anchor Bay in what the coach called a “huge win.”
The Crusaders have one home game left, a 7 p.m. Oct. 19 regular-season finale against Marysville High (5-1 overall, 2-1 Macomb Area Conference Gold Division).
But again, there’s work to be done first. North (2-1 in the MAC Blue) remains on the road for the next two weeks, with league games against Port Huron Northern (1-5, 1-2) and Fraser High (1-5, 0-3). The Crusaders play Northern at 7 p.m. Oct. 5 at Memorial Stadium in Port Huron. They’ll then travel to Fraser at 7 p.m. on Oct. 12.