It’s a banner year for the Walled Lake Northern football team.
The Knights have qualified for the playoffs for the first time in school history, are bringing home the Kensington Lakes Activities Association North Division and Lakes Conference championships and won the city championship.
All this from a program that is having its third winning season since it opened in 2003.
Coach Brett Moore has been at the helm for the past five seasons. The Knights were 6-2 at press time. In Moore’s first season, they went 1-8.
“It’s a night-and-day difference from our first year,” he said. “Our work ethic, our attitude, just the way we do the little things.”
Northern’s attention to detail has resulted in big scores. The Knights have scored more than 50 points in five of their games and are averaging 46.6 per contest.
Moore said he’s brought in a spread option that has been influenced by other great programs in the state, but with their own wrinkles.
“We’re averaging over 500 yards of offense a game. It’s really a credit to how good our kids are at running what we do. When teams play us, they have to cover everything, and we’ll catch you sometimes,” Moore said.
The coach added that his offense runs around 70 plays per game, and that he’ll most likely have three players with more than 1,000 yards of total offense when it’s all said and done.
“We’ll put together a 12-play scoring drive and only take up two minutes. It’s up-tempo. It’s fast and hard to keep up with in only three days of preparation,” Moore said. “It’s a sight when we get rolling. It’s fun to see.”
But Northern didn’t start rolling in the win column until Week 3, starting the season 0-2 and losing by a combined nine points against teams that are 13-3 now.
“As a coaching staff, you’re always worried about the kids. But we sat them down and explained that, in those two games, we were the same team, but there are three or four plays a game that make a difference,” Moore remembered. “Then we started making those plays. Nothing had changed between us being 0-2 or 2-0. Mentally, we stayed focused.”
Keeping perspective is also important for the Knights as they enter their first postseason. Northern’s opponent wasn’t announced at press time, but no matter which team lines up across from the Knights, Moore is reminding them that making the playoffs is only part of the goal.