Macalester Scots Look to Extend Win Streak to Five
After two straight weeks of crossing the border into Wisconsin to play, the Macalester Scots return home this week to face Lawrence University in a game that will have huge implications – for next week. While not looking past the Vikings, a win by the Scots this weekend will put them in a head-on collision with Carroll University in a game that will determine the North Division Champion in the Midwest Conference (MWC). To get to that game, Macalester must first handle their business against Lawrence, a team that was beaten by Carroll 76-7 last week.
The Vikings enter the game 2-4 on the season, and are ranked last defensively in the conference in many categories, however, those numbers may be slightly skewed considering the walloping they took at the hands of Carroll last weekend. The numbers may not be impressive for the Vikings, but Coach Tony Jennison is not taking anything lightly. “Numbers can be deceiving. Their players are no different than ours. They will be working and playing hard, and they have a great group of defenders. We will have to create good schemes if we are going to beat them.”
Coach Jennison is always cautious in his assessment of his opponents, and with good reason. This past weekend Macalester faced Beloit College, a team that on paper was not as “good” as the Scots, yet his team had to rally back from an 11-point half-time deficit to win 28-21. “Beloit did a lot of things really well. It wasn’t like we were making a lot of mistakes. They were just making plays, and their coaches had them really well prepared.”
Led by their senior quarterback, Samson Bialostok, the Scots put up 18 points in the third quarter to take the lead. The QB’s 23-yard touchdown pass to Tre Nowaczynski pulled the Scots within four, and after leading the team to a field goal, he and running back Zandy Stowell carried the team on a drive that resulted in a 40-yard burst by Stowell to give Macalester the lead. The victory was further proof to Coach Jennison that his quarterback is really getting what the coaches are trying to do. “Samson has looked really good the last few games, and is getting better and better. We have a lot of confidence in him that he can make plays, and he is as dynamic a quarterback as there is in the conference.”
The Scots will need that dynamic ability and more this weekend against Lawrence. This is a new challenge for Coach Jennison’s team. After facing two run-based offenses in Ripon and Beloit, the Vikings come to town with an offense predicated on passing. “They are a different challenge for us for sure. Their quarterback is really good, and we will need our defensive backs to be playing at their best.”
The pass-first offense of Lawrence is something that concerns the Scots Coach, primarily because of how hot a team like this can get in a short period of time. “A team like that can hurt you quickly, and once they get on a roll they can be hard to stop.”
Fortunately for the Macalester Scots they have a great secondary led by cornerback Konnor Fleming and safety Jole Miller. While the Head Coach would not admit it, a passing offense goes directly into the strength of the Scots defense. With an active group of linebackers and a tenacious group of defensive backs, the Vikings may find themselves struggling to move the ball.
Two Saturdays from now the Scots will take on Carroll University in a likely battle for the North Division crown, but to make it so they need to win this Saturday, and Coach Jennison and his team are completely focused on the task at hand. “Our focus is on right here, right now. We stay focused on the opportunities that are right in front of us, and let the other things came as they do.”
That is an incredibly sound strategy, one that has helped the team reach one of its most successful seasons in school history at 5-1. With three games left, the Macalester Scots have a good shot to at least tie the school record of seven wins in a season, and they could win a conference title in their first season in the Midwest Conference. No looking ahead for now however. Lawrence University is their focus, and if the team plays their style of game, there is absolutely no reason why the Macalester Scots should not be 6-1 by Saturday night.
By Robert Pannier