Confident Madison Team Heads Into the Playoffs

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Will Wraith

Sam North, senior quarterback

Will Wraith, Sports Editor

 

“Having fun being perfect” Senior captain Noah Gertler calls it. It’s play off time in Dodger nation and hopes are high for a win Saturday against a strong program in Lincoln. After a 36 – 0 win over Newton last Saturday, the Dodgers seemed to have their flair back with a new adjustment at the quarterback position.

 

“Sam was waiting for his chance to play in the beginning and is just stepping up huge for us,” says Senior wide receiver Christian Scarpello. “He’s a real leader on the field and keeps everyone calm and under control.”

 

Sam North, the senior quarterback with a strong arm and solid passing accuracy, was the projected starter in the preseason before falling sick with mono.  At that time, junior AJ Schmitz was asked to step in for North, and with his solid performance, the Dodgers went 3-1 with Schmitz until he suffered an ankle injury and North got another chance. Since then, the Dodgers have only lost one other contest,  to Jefferson.

 

“Sam can put the ball wherever he wants and throw it far too” says Senior lineman Ovi Ortiz.

“I have a lot of confidence in our offense,” says Senior Wilmo Mottola. “The guys up front have been working hard this week to prove something on Saturday.”

 

With practice in full play off mode, it looks as though the Dodgers are doing everything that needs to be done to clinch a win Saturday, but still it’s hard not to notice the strength’s of an 8-1 Lincoln team. The Jersey City team, whose only loss of the season was by one point to Saint Anthony’s, is known for it’s speedy offensive players, including a powerful running back bound for Penn State.

Nevertheless, hopes are high in Madison. “We’re definitely ready for it,” explains Gertler, a speedy half-back who makes big plays on offense and defense. “We all believer it’s a winnable game and we’ve got to come out with that confidence.”

 

“Our coaches have explained the importance of the game and are preparing us well as always,” Adds Scarpello.

 

Though Saturday night’s game relies mainly on the leadership of Dodger seniors, perhaps most eyes will be on Junior fullback David Luttinger. Dubbed with the nickname “The Hammer” by teammates and coaches, Madison’s leading scorer has proven himself time and time again as a rushing force to be reckoned with on the field. His abilities have gotten him a lot of attention from other teams, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing according to the Junior.

 

“The pressure to be the one to hinder a team’s ability to beat you is a great thing to walk into every game with,” says Luttinger. “Everyone on the team wants to be that kid, and because of that we are finding success.”

 

This attention makes room for other players to get less attention and make great plays. “In our offense, we don’t throw as much so it’s pretty easy for me,” says Scarpello, Madison’s number one wide receiver. “I just do my job when my number is called and try to make big plays.”

 

Defensively, the Dodgers aren’t lacking any talent either. Senior captain Wilmo Mottola has been a starting lineman for four years. “We’ve been playing some great defense these past three weeks,” says Mottola. “I believe if our whole line steps up and bats these kids around, its game over.”

 

Though Lincoln has a solid core of skill positions with talent and speed, the determination and mindset is all there for the Dodgers. “Since day one we were the team that was supposed to disappear,” explains Luttinger. “The desire to disprove the onslaught of degradation our team has received is a small portion of our motivation. The rest comes from a communal drive to achieve success through the hours of work we have put into this season.”

 

The Dodgers play Lincoln on Saturday at 1:00 pm away.