HS Football Preview: Lourdes Eagles have the flexibility and the football IQ to go far in 2021

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(ABC 6 News) — Winning the first game of the year is paramount for early momentum, regardless of team.

For the Lourdes Eagles, starting 2022 against a state champion in Chatfield is a huge challenge from the start.

“It’s really going to set the standard for the year,” Eagles head coach Mike Kesler said. “I know it’s only one game, but we already get tested right out of the gate against a tremendous opponent. It’s going to really kind of let us know where we’re at as a football team, as a program, what we got to do the rest of the year. We’re really excited about it.”

Lourdes will be playing with a bit of a David vs. Goliath complex due to this year’s roster being smaller than usual. Everyone’s going to need to be flexible like seniors Aidan Jahnes and Eli Haight. Both athletes play a whopping seven different positions combined.

“We’re just not the biggest team, but we’re the smartest team,” Haight stated. “It’s hot, we’re out here hitting and stuff, but we’re just going.”

“We got to play with our heads a little bit more and we got to be physical,” Jahnes added. “Because these guys – I mean there’s other teams that are much bigger than us.”

No matter the team’s size, it’s not going to distract Lourdes football from its approach: Attacking its opponents directly and by the book.

“We ain’t nothing flashy, we just get it done,” Haight summarized. “That’s the way it’s always been ever since day one, we run the same thing over and over again, let teams try to stop us.”

“It’s high school football in Minnesota, you got to be able to stop the run,” Coach Kesler noted. “So that’s where we focus on and try to put some pressure on defenses. But we just got to play fundamental and disciplined football…”

“I like interceptions a lot, but if I can get a big hit, I’ll take that over any interception any day,” Jahnes added.

Lourdes may not be playing its other three neighboring schools in Rochester, but they’re not that concerned with being Kings of the City. Not when the end goals are being better athletes and exceeding expectations.

“We have a standard here and we can’t worry about everybody else,” Coach Kesler stated. “We’ve got to take care of ourselves and do what we can do to control our activities for Friday nights.”

“Like I said, we’ve got a small team, but we’re vicious,” Jahnes said. “So, I mean, it’s going to be a good year.”

“We’re a lot classier, traditional team,” Haight mentioned. “One thing we always do together is carry a box around that says ‘together’ on it all the time. And it’s just that one thing we have in common we’re building men, not players.”

Following their season opener at Chatfield, the Eagles will host the St. Charles Saints at the Rochester Regional Sports Stadium on September 9 at 7 PM.