La Crescent varsity football returns after bolstering numbers

Lancers have not played varsity season since 2018

It’s a season many La Crescent Lancers have been waiting for, and now it’s arrived. La Crescent varsity football is back after a two-year break.

2018 was the last year La Crescent had an active varsity program. It was a year in which roughly half the 28 players were seniors, and the other half were freshmen. It ended with an 0-8 record, and everyone involved knew the program needed time to build back up.

In the last couple years those 2018 freshmen were able to play an independent JV schedule in 2019, and just one game last year with the pandemic. When they weren’t on the field, they were recruiting their classmates in younger grades to come out of the two year break ready to rock at the varsity level.

Now, the team has close to 50 kids and are set to play their first home game this Friday. For the seniors who stuck it out, it’s almost unbelievable.

“There were a few times where during our game last Friday, it was definitely kind of surreal,” senior Will Thompson said. “I didn’t think it was going to happen again. I definitely had a lot of butterflies, especially with getting your name announced.”

“I love the game so much,” quarterback Camron Manske said. “I wanted an opportunity to have the Friday night lights back. I didn’t want to give up on those who were on board with me, so we stuck together, tried to get other people on this train, and I think we’ve done a good job.”

Just getting the numbers back to have a team is itself a big victory, but I asked the team what they’ll consider a successful year by the end of the fall.

“I just want to see our guys go out and compete, having this opportunity finally to be back out here,” head coach Ryan Vinzant said.

“Below us we have pretty good numbers-close to 20 in each grade,” said Manske. “So hopefully that incoming eighth grade can bring a lot more. It’s up to the coaches and players reminding others to keep recruiting. This isn’t just get everybody back just to have enough. We want to keep building.”

La Crescent lost its 2021 season opener last week at Dover-Eyota by a score of 27-14. The Lancers host Lake City this Friday at 7 p.m.