Coaches report: Velva Aggies HC Larry Sandy
Heading into their Class A semifinal postseason matchup against the Lisbon Broncos (8-0) on Saturday, the Velva Aggies boast an unblemished 10-0 record which includes playoff wins over Bowman County and Dickinson Trinity.
With a trip to the state championship at stake, the Minot Daily News spoke to Velva head football coach Larry Sandy about the big contest, and asked about his club’s gameplan to come out victorious over Lisbon. Here is what the long-time head coach had to say via telephone.
MDN: What are your overall expectations heading into the ballgame against the Broncos?
Sandy: Our senior class has been to two semifinal games, and one quarterfinals during their time here, so this is their last chance to punch their ticket to the Dakota Bowl. After all these years of hard work, I expect our seniors to give their best possible effort in this game.
MDN: How much do you know about the Lisbon program, and what are their strengths and weaknesses?
Sandy: To be honest, I’ve never coached against this team, but going by what I see on film, they move very well athletically, they have pretty good size and they are very well coached. They are also a very determined group who have been working towards their goal of getting to the Dakota Bowl.
MDN: Being a nine-time winner in the Dakota Bowl, do you think your coaching experience in big playoff games gives Velva an advantage?
Sandy: It is really hard to say. Every game brings its own unique set of challenges and variables, and as a coach, you really can’t plan ahead for certain situations. You just try to deal with things as they come throughout the course of a game.
MDN: In order to come out with a win this weekend, which players in particular need to have a big game?
Sandy: I’d say everybody needs to step up and contribute. Our senior skill position players led by (quarterback) Jersey Selzler and (running back) Gage Florence need to come up big for us. Other senior players like (tight end) Adam Schepp and (running back) Tyson Tomlinson will have a big say in whether or not we advance. Receivers like Tristan Brewer and Hunter Suckut are also expected to play well, so it will take a total team effort on our part.
MDN: Before you take the field on Saturday, what will be your final message to the team?
Sandy: Because of this COVID-19 situation lingering around all year long, my motto to the team has been to leave everything out on the field. Every game might be our last, and that philosophy is what brought us to this point.