DELANO — Delano excelled on both sides of the football last week in a 40-0 romping of Little Falls, but the Tiger players, coaches and fans all know there is no time to dwell on the success of last week when longtime rival Glencoe-Silver Lake on its way to Tiger Stadium Friday night.
Delano is 1-1 entering the game. Before dominating Little Falls, the Tigers suffered a 37-19 loss at Zimmerman in Week 1.
Glencoe-Silver Lake make the visit to Delano with a 2-0 record. The Panthers opened the season with a 27-20 home win over Foley, and returned home last week to dominate a thin Watertown-Mayer team 54-7.
How either team did in its previous week’s doesn’t seem to matter when the Tigers and Panthers butt heads.
“It doesn’t make any difference what their record is and what our record is, they are Glencoe,” said Delano coach Merrill Pavlovich.
Based on precedent, both teams expect an intense battle.
“We know they are a good team,” said Glancoe-Silver Lake coach Scott Tschimperle. “Since we joined Wright County, it’s been a great rivalry. It’s been 25 years of great football, with both teams maintaining the tradition of smashmouth, but, also, evolving with shotgun and other changes.”
Fans from the two football-loving communities involved in the game will certainly be paying attention, but, so, too will the history buffs, as Pavlovich is sitting with a career record of 299-141 entering Friday’s game.
A win would make Pavlovich the sixth coach in Minnesota history to reach 300 for his career.
Tschimperle doesn’t want to be the victim of win No. 300, but it wouldn’t ruin his night.
“It’s a win either way. If we happen to keep him at 299, we’d be happy, but 300 would be quite an accomplishment,” said Tschimperle, who, in his 11th season, has 93 wins (93-25) as the Panthers’ head coach. “That’s outstanding and I couldn’t be more proud of him.”
Tschimperle is 5-2 all-time against Pavlovich. Delano won 21-9 a season ago in Glencoe.
It’s all about respect.
“Pav is a tremendous coach. We have nothing but the utmost respect for him. He’s always been someone who would listen to any concerns we had, and he was always there to help our football team if we needed it,” said Tschimperle. “He’s been there forever and nothing has changed — the kids love him and the community respects him.”
As for his own team’s play entering the big game, the win over Foley showed Tschimperle that his young team has some work to do.
“We played fairly well, but we didn’t finish well. We turned the ball over and they went down and scored late. For opening night, we did a lot of things well.”
The Panthers are still working out some kinks, according to Tschimperle.
“We are still trying to find ourselves,” he said. “We lost a lot of seniors (16) from last year’s team. We have a lot of kids who didn’t play a lot of snaps last year. Just trying to get experience with every game we play, and, hopefully, at the end of the season, we have improved a lot for playoffs.”
With it being a game with such a rich history, Tschimperle wishes the meeting with Delano came later in the season.
“We both are in the same boat, still trying to find themselves,” he said. “We always find out more about ourselves when we play Delano.”
Film study has told Pavlovich that Glencoe-Silver Lake’s defense is tough.
“They return a strong nucleus on defense and have very athletic linebackers and secondary players,” he said. “GSL is a lot like Zimmerman — power football and very aggresive on defense.”
Running the ball; that is what, both, Glencoe-Silver Lake and Delano have done well for decades. Fans should expect to see both team hand the ball off Friday night.
“We both try to establish the running game as much as we can and evolve from that as the game moves on,” said Tschimperle.
This season, the Panthers rushed for 269 yards and three touchdowns on 46 carries (5.8 yards per carry) against Foley, and for 486 yards and six touchdowns against Watertown-Mayer.
“Well disciplined, and their size in the offensive line and running backs is a concern,” said Pavlovich.
Delano ran for 233 yards and two touchdowns in the win over Little Falls. In the loss to Zimmerman in Week 1, the Tigers were limited to 84 yards and one touchdown on the ground.
The major contrast between the two offenses so far is that the Tigers have gone to the air regularly, whereas the Panthers have thrown the ball just six times in two games.
Tiger quarterback Max Otto threw for 185 yards and four touchdowns in the win over Little Falls. Otto threw for 217 yards and two touchdowns in the loss to Zimmerman.
Four different receivers — Chris Glunz, Reno Bredahl, Trey Longstreet and Sam Kern — were at the receiving end of those Otto touchdown passes in the Little Falls game. Longstreet caught both touchdown passes against Zimmerman.
Glencoe-Silver Lake attempted only four passes against Foley and two against Watertown-Mayer. Senior quarterback Korey Johnson completed all four attempts for 39 yards on opening night. Johnson did not complete either pass a week ago.
Johnson is a double threat under center. He led the Panthers with 105 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries in the win over Foley. Against Watertown-Mayer, Johnson’s carries were limited to six, for 34 yards.
“Their QB is an excellent athlete and a strong runner,” said Pavlovich of Johnson.
“We moved him to quarterback last year, and he’s the real deal,” he said of Johnson. “He’s the captain of the team, and he makes our offense play well. A little moxie to him that we want from our quarterback.”
Also carrying the ball for Glencoe-Silver Lake were Riley Ruzicka and Will Higgins.
Higgins enters the Delano game off two touchdowns and 112 yards on seven carries against Watertown-Mayer. He ran for 65 yards on 14 carries against Foley.
Ruzicka went for 75 yards on 14 carries against Foley, and for 91 yard and one touchdown on eight carries against Watertown-Mayer.
In its lopsided win over Little Falls a week ago, Delano’s starting offense dominated the game in less than three full quarters. For the game, which was played with a running clock the entire fourth quarter, the Tigers gained 418 yards.
Sam Kern’s 123 yards led the Tigers’ ground game. As the starting fullback and the second quarterback, Robbie Knight scooted for 61 yards on seven carries.
Kern ran for 93 yards at Zimmerman.