Here are the 5 thoughts on yesterday’s big playoff win.
- History-You have to go back to 1990 for the last time the Lions won a road playoff game. It seems that every year the Lions leap one hurdle after another. 2013, The Lions get to a Postseason Bowl game. 2014, The Lions win a postseason Bowl game. 2015, The Lions get to the NCAA playoffs. 2016, The Lions win a NCAA playoff game at home. This season, the Lions win a road playoff game. It is important to remember that we are only 5 years removed from being a 1-9 team. A lot of the winning that was done in the 90’s and before then is coming back and being taken to new heights. Now, the question is can the Lions win a second round playoff game on the road (speaking about NAIA/NCAA playoffs) as that has never been done before. This would be a great year to do just that.
- Officiating-Now, before I go into this, despite what some of you might be thinking, I am NOT about blaming the refs on any loss we have ever had. The Lions have certainly had some very bad calls go their way, but today you got a feeling the officials were actively working AGAINST the Lions. The officials wiped 3 scores off the board, and when you actually call scoring plays back and you take your time to discuss plays before throwing big plays that is just bad officiating. Also, look at the box scores. For the Lions it was 13 penalties for 107 yards, while Winona State had 3 penalties for 17 yards. The Lions had 456 yards of total offense and did not turn the ball over, except for the bogus fumble at the half yard line call, and going for it on 4th and 5 on the opening drive and not getting it. This is the first and only game I have seen where the officiating had a heavy hand in the outcome of the game. If they are halfway competent, the Lions win this game by 35.
- Luis Perez continues to play like he is a serious candidate for the Harlon Hill Award. Not a nominee, not a finalist, but the winner. Games like this are where your leader has to step up. When things are not going well you have to just focus and do your job over and over again. You would think by the low offensive score that the man trigger man may not have played well. Wrong, Perez threw for 308 yards and two TD’s. If his high level of play continues, The Lions will go far as he does especially on offense.
- The Defense won this game for us today. The Lions played outstanding and even on the two drives where Winona State almost got touchdowns, the Lions stepped up and stopped them and held them to field goals. Winona State’s rushing attack was held to 67 yards. That is right, 67 yards after averaging almost triple that in an average game. This defense has played so well for the majority of the season, and it stayed fired up and played all 4 quarters. Brucks Saathoff, Dominique Ramsey, and Alex Shillow all came up with huge turnovers and they were as important today as they have ever been.
- Special Teams and Play-calling were both excellent today. I loved the calls on offense, so hat tip to Matt Storm for his play calls and also to Justin Deason for having his defense ready and finally HC Colby Carthel for having his team ready. This was the most prepared I have seen them all year in all phases of the game. Also the Special teams coverage units were an A plus on performance and what can you say about Kristov Martinez…..hitting two huge field goals when the Lions needed a cushion and he got us those. The guy has hit game winners in big games at least twice now, and what a find we were able to get out of him.