HARRISON TOWNSHIP – Off to one of its best starts in years, L’Anse Creuse’s football team knows there’s plenty of work left to do.
And the Lancers certainly aren’t content to rest on their laurels just yet, sitting at 3-2 before a big game against Macomb L’Anse Creuse North, played after press time
“Like anything else, you’ve got to take it one game at a time,” Lancers coach Don Roda said. “You can’t plan it too far ahead because then you can have quite a few disappointments along the way.”
Before the matchup with the Crusaders, Roda noted that the game was big not only because it was a rivalry and Macomb Area Conference Blue Division contest, but because of the playoff implications, as well.
Teams need six wins to automatically qualify for the playoffs — something the Lancers haven’t done since 2003.
“We think we have the athletes this year where we should be able to pull off six wins,” Roda said. “They’re not going to be an easy six, but we should be able to pull it off. It’s going to be a matter of them stepping up and playing a little bit harder each week.”
The coach said making the playoffs would “show improvement” for the program and help it return to the success it enjoyed a decade ago, when it qualified for the postseason in 2000, 2001 and 2003.
Senior quarterback and linebacker Lucas Lanzon said making the playoffs is something he and his classmates have talked about for four years.
“It’s been our goal all along,” he said.
Like his coach noted, Lanzon knows there’s plenty the Lancers need to do.
“We’re still coming together as a team,” Lanzon said. “We’ve got a lot of talent. We’ve still got to jell as a team. Once we take it to that next level, we’re going to be a good team.
“We’re this close,” he continued. “It’s always just one little breakdown, a missed block or something like that. Once everybody’s on the same page, that’s when we’ll take it to the next step.”
One reason behind the Lancers’ success so far is their multiple options on offense.
“We’re able to have a balanced attack — a nice air strike and being able to run the ball, control it,” Roda said. “And that is a big plus.”
A big key for the team down the stretch might be the Lancers’ ability to defend the pass. Roda said the squad has had some issues early on in that area, though they have faced some pass-heavy opponents.
“We’ve got a good run-stopping defense,” the coach said. “If we were going against traditional offenses, we would be doing very, very well. That’s the type of kids that we have. However, we’re playing all these spread teams, so it really changes things up. The defense has been playing very aggressive overall, which has been a big help.”
While Roda said there’s room for improvement everywhere on the field, it’s the team’s mental state that could affect things most.
“People can say they’re confident,” he said. “Every team has to find that confidence, that inner confidence. Not only for themselves, but as a character of that team, that they trust each other, and they know they can do these things. At least here at L’Anse Creuse, there’s always a little doubt. Once they get up, they start playing much better.”
The Lancers’ remaining schedule includes back-to-back home games against Fraser High at 7 p.m. Oct. 5 and Grosse Pointe South at 7 p.m. Oct. 12. L’Anse Creuse wraps up the regular season at 7 p.m. Oct. 19 at St. Clair Shores Lake Shore.