Saints hope to reach new heights

Saints head coach Chris Lindquist is looking to his young players to get their game on, stay healthy and mature quickly. Only then will St. Francis’ footballers be able to stay on the gridiron to repeat their 2011 conference championship title and then win the section trophy – a ticket to November’s state championship play in the Metrodome.

St. Francis head coach Chris Lindquist looks to defensive linemen Bryce Gilbertson, Connor Tradewell, Conan Sandberg, and Cody Whiteford to hold the line, defending the Saints’ 2011 conference title. Photo by Bill Jones

St. Francis head coach Chris Lindquist looks to defensive linemen Bryce Gilbertson, Connor Tradewell, Conan Sandberg, and Cody Whiteford to hold the line, defending the Saints’ 2011 conference title. Photo by Bill Jones

The head coach describes last year’s team (one that lost in section semi-finals to Blaine) as “very senior heavy with only a few juniors starting.” He looks to those players – now seniors – to lead the younger ones and show them how Saints football is done.

Lindquist recognizes that his young players are very talented and that their “ability and athletic ceilings are very high, but they don’t have much experience in the varsity arena,” he said.

“We are a team with strong potential, but performance – not potential – determines success.  This team will be defined by how well they come together (and) perform,” Lindquist said.

The 2012 team is a “run-heavy team” that filled the offseason with strength training, speed training and summer football camps to prepare for the fall season.

Lindquist hopes the Saints are starting to turn the corner and will be able to be more consistently victorious this season.

“As for the Saints playing in November [in the state tournament], that is always our goal,” the head coach said. “For that to happen we will need to stay healthy and play our best football at the end of the season.”

Lindquist believes that his seniors could “turn a rather unsuccessful campaign during their freshman year into a very successful campaign during their senior year.”

“They have the opportunity to write a pretty unique success story to cap off their high school career,” he said.

2012 schedule
Aug. 31 at Irondale, 7 p.m.
Sept.7 at Park Center, 7 p.m.
Sept. 14, North Branch, 7 p.m.
Sept. 21, Benilde-St. Margaret’s, 7 p.m.
Sept. 28 at Chisago Lakes, 7 p.m.
HOMECOMING: Oct. 5, Robbinsdale Cooper, 7 p.m.
Oct. 12 at Fridley, 7 p.m.
Oct. 17, Spring Lake Park, 7 p.m.

The final chapter of their high school football career begins Friday (Aug. 31) when the Saints travel to Irondale. Next week (Sept. 7) they are at Park Center.

The Saints’ home opener is Sept. 14 when they face off against North Branch. Kick off: 7 p.m.

“We have some very talented young players … Our forecast for the season is still unclear … We always hope to be playing in November,” Lindquist said.

And play in November would be reaching new heights, indeed.

St. Francis Saints (North Suburban Conference)

Head coach Chris Lindquist

Record and 2011 finish: 8-2 (North Suburban Conference champions, lost in section semi-finals to Blaine)

Key returners:

Bryce Gilbertson (offensive line/defensive line)

Brandon Hartzberg (wide receiver/defensive back)

Ryan Holritz (offensive line)

Sam Wellman (running back/linebacker)

Connor Tradewell (offensive line/defensive line)

Conan Sandberg (offensive line/defensive line)

Cody Whiteford (offensive line/defensive line)

Brandon Pittman (offensive line)

Zach Pechovnik (offensive line)

Sue Austreng is at sue.austreng@ecm-inc.com

 

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