Coach Jake Mueller took the Muskies 49-35 loss to the Pleasant Valley Spartans philosophically. “Hopefully, we do learn quite a bit from the loss. We like to learn those lessons in wins, but sometimes we just don’t. . . . We had a really good week of practice. I thought we were well prepared. We just did not play very well. Unfortunately, that happens, but you watch the film, you learn from it, and you move on.” While Mueller acknowledged his team, “struggled defensively,” he emphasized the unique difficulties the Spartans presented. “Their offense presents a lot of problems We don’t see another team that runs a triple option the way they do it. All season long, they’re the only team on our schedule that does that.”
Overall, Mueller feels several missed play opportunities compounded to allow the Spartans to defeat the Muskies. In the first half, Muller noted, “we got some momentum going, but we could not get the key stop we really needed. We had an opportunity before half time to get a touchdown that would have tied it up going into halftime. That would have been a big shot in the arm if we could have gotten it. We had three opportunities within the two-yard line . . . and we just didn’t get it.” As the second half of the game unfolded and the Muskies continued to struggle against the Spartans, Mueller recognized just how much effort, and will they put into the game, even if they were unable to get the win. “Our kids played hard. I was pleased with the effort, but not the execution. You’ve got to be very disciplined to face a team like that for whatever reason, I couldn’t really put my finger on it, we weren’t as disciplined as we needed to be on Friday, which is disappointing.”
This week, the Muskies have a home game against the Linn-Mar Lions. Mueller predicts they will play a completely different kind of football than the Spartans did. “They’re going to be a wide-open offense and have three or four receivers spread out all night long. They really try to throw the ball a lot. That’s what they’ve hung their hat on this season . . . We’ve got to do a good job of putting pressure on the quarterback and defending the passing game, and also being sound on the running game, but knowing that what they want to do is throw the ball.” Additionally, Mueller knows they have a strong defense as well, “defensively, they bring a lot of pressure. They run blitzes from their linebackers and safeties. We need to be sound and we need to be prepared for that.”
That said, Mueller feels that with hard work, his team can certainly put last week’s game behind them and defeat the Linn-Mar Lions. “I’d like to see us move on from last Friday, turn the page, and make sure we’re locked in and focused on playing and winning a good game on Friday night—It’s senior night. It should be sort of an emotional night for some of the guys. That would be a big win if we could get that done on Friday night, for our seniors especially.”