When the Monticello Magic football team takes the field Thursday night, they’ll be taking on two unfamiliar opponents.
Lining up across from them will be Duluth Denfeld, a bit of an unknown team that just joined the Mississippi 8 for football purposes this year.
But just as unfamiliar to the Magic will be the expectations they face when those lights start to flicker on tonight. For the first time in what seems like forever, the Magic expect and are expected to be something more than just good. The attitude for most Magic football seasons over the past two decades has been “either they’ll be bad, or they’ll surprise and be decent.” But this year, for the first time in a long time, the Magic are in the position of succeeding or surprising and disappointing.
Denfield will provide the opening test tonight for the Magic, who are looking to start a run toward a potential conference title.
While the Magic finished 6-4 last year, Denfeld is coming off a season where they finished 2-6 according to Minnesota Football Hub. Denfeld’s wins came against Minneapolis Southwest (21-7) and St. Paul Humbolt (28-18).
Coach Jason Telecky and the Magic were getting a late start on scouting Denfeld this week as the first tape that Telecky was given turned out to be blank. But the Magic had learned some of the basics. Telecky expects Denfeld to bring a wing-t attack on offense and to show a lot of 4-3 base defense with a cover two over the top on the defensive side.
That defense would likely result in only seven guys in the box, something that might have the Magic ground game salivating.
“We want them to put that extra guy in the box,” said Telecky. “When that extra guy comes in the box, then we’ll throw.”
The conference tilt is scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m.
Magic fare well at Saturday scrimmages
Saturday morning Monticello headed to Orono for an annual preseason scrimmage featuring Monticello, Orono, Jordan and Fridley.
The Magic walked away from it feeling good, not great.
“If we play flat, we’re very very average,” said Telecky, about what the Magic learned Saturday. “If we play with a lot of emotion, we’re very very good.”
In the opener, Monticello took on Jordan and cruised through the undermanned squad. Offensively Monticello scored four or five times in fifteen plays, while the defense held Jordan to a total of fifteen yards over fifteen plays.
Against Orono, the Magic got a bit more of a challenge. After an opening march for a touchdown, Monticello’s offense was held scoreless over its remaining eleven plays. Defensively the Magic got beat twice by fade passes, and gave up a third touchdown on a one-yard sneak.
“Orono should have walked away feeling like they won that,” admitted Telecky. “That was a little bit frustrating, because I really felt like we were the best team there.”
While Telecky went on to say they certainly showed it at moments, he worried about why they came out so flat against Orono.
One source of frustration likely came from Monticello sticking to a script and working on all plays, rather than just continuing to run the plays that worked well.
“I think the kids got frustrated,” said Telecky. “They felt like there were some things we could do.”
But against Fridley, Monticello got a chance to alleviate some of that frustration with the help of three touchdowns in their first five plays. Will Bauman caught a screen pass and broke away for a long touchdown and Sam Johnson added a long scamper of his own for a touchdown, his fourth of the day according to Telecky.
But the Magic’s offensive stint was cut short when a Fridley player drilled Jake Olson in the back after a whistle caused by a false start had created a dead ball situation. Telecky has seen enough chippiness and didn’t want to risk any of his kids with the opener just five nights away. So, the Magic played defense (where they held Fridley to just 20 yards and an interception) and called it a day.
Despite the ups and downs, Telecky was pleased with what he saw overall.
“If we play all year like we played against Fridley, if a team beats us, they’re a dang good football team and they deserve to win,” said Telecky.