The Milaca and Mora football teams are pretty much in the same predicament.
Both have started the 2012 season with two losses and both see an opportunity to break free from their doldrums, at least for a while, when they meet in a Granite Ridge Conference game Friday night at 7 at Claffy Field.
Milaca, which will be at home for the first time this season, fell to 0-2 by losing 55-14 last Friday at Zimmerman. The Wolves lost their opener 61-6 at Becker.
Mora, which lost to Princeton 34-28 in its opener, fell to Albany 28-0 last week.
“We’ve lost to two very high-powered Class 4A teams who are unbeaten and state-ranked,” said Milaca Coach Randy Johnson. “While Mora is very capable, Friday will be an opportunity for us to get on track.
“Overall, we’ve been over-matched so far. We’ve run into two outstanding offenses and our defense has not done well. We need to do better against Mora.”
Mora Coach Bryan Cook, whose team stopped Milaca last year at Mora, says mistakes have been a problem for the Mustangs.
“We need to eliminate the drive-killing penalties we’ve made on offense and limit our defensive errors,” said Cook. “We have some younger players who are still learning what it takes to play at the varsity level.
“The Mora-Milaca rivalry goes way back and we know we will have to play four quarters of good football. The teams appear to be evenly matched.”
Mora returned two starters on offense and five on defense. Seniors Josh Mantel (fullback/linebacker), Derek Graves (receiver/ corner back), Austin Richard (guard/nose tackle) and Max Anderson (tight end/safety) have been key players.
Johnson said the Wolves are healthy.
“It’s exciting to be at home,” he said. “The team has maintained a positive attitude.”
Zimmerman, which handled Albany 37-22 in its opener, moved to a 35-6 halftime lead, then outscored the Wolves 20-8 in the second half.
Fullback Jeff Mueller rushed for 109 yards on 13 carries and scored on runs of three, nine, six and eight yards. Quarterback Cam Korlath carried 10 times for 62 yards and scored on runs of six and nine yards. He also completed four of six passes for 124 yards.
“Our offensive and defensive lines played very well,” said Thunder Coach Tom Kish. “We were fortunate to seize momentum early in the game and keep it.”
The Wolves scored in the second quarter on a five-yard pass from junior quarterback Brian Kiel to junior back Jorgen Erickson. Kiel and senior Mitch Hanenburg connected on a 67-yard pass for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Kiel completed 10 of 21 passes for 194 yards, but had three interceptions.
Milaca rushed for just 14 yards.
In other GRC games last Friday, Becker trimmed Foley 46-7, Cathedral topped Little Falls 33-6 and Princeton topped Mound-Westonka in a non-conference game.
In games Friday, Cathedral is at Albany, Little Falls is at Becker, Zimmerman is at Princeton and Foley is at Dassel-Cokato for a non-conference game.