YUKON — Southwest Covenant seniors Christian Hagen and Garrett Lessman admit they didn't expect this much success.
Sure, they expected the Patriots to be better after back-to-back 2-7 seasons.
The goal was a playoff berth.
“We were hoping for a four seed, maybe creep up into the three seed if everything fell right,” Lessman said. “To have a chance at a No. 2 seed is pretty unbelievable right now.”
Last week, the private school in Yukon clinched its first football playoff berth since 2007 with a 34-22 win over Maud.
“It was a huge ballgame,” Patriots coach Bill Martin said. “It was right up there with our state championship in our Christian league.
“They were a bigger team in numbers and size.”
Southwest Covenant is 5-2 heading into Friday's eight-man game at Webbers Falls. A win would likely give the Patriots the No. 2 spot in District C-4 and a home game for the first round of the playoffs.
A performance like the Patriots turned in last week did not seem possible before the season; actually it didn't seem like much of a possibility just a week ago.
Sophomore Nick Sitton had been playing well at quarterback, throwing for more than 500 yards and nine touchdowns before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury Oct. 12 in a win over Life Christian.
So the Patriots had to move Michael Cord to quarterback.
“We've only got 15 kids, so that knocked us down to 14,” Martin said. “When you lose one of your better athletes, you lose about four or five starters when one guy goes down. We lost our quarterback, our tailback and our fastest receiver all in one because we had to move them around.
“They probably shouldn't have done this good, but they've been very coachable, hustled the whole year and really played well.”
After a season-opening loss to Destiny Christian, Southwest Covenant started turning things around in the second week, a 49-18 win over Sasakwa.
“We'd only had a few days of practice before the first game and changed up so much since last year, it took us a bit to get used to things,” Hagen said. “We went out in that one and did pretty well and that's when it started looking like we had a really good chance to win some games.”
Hagen, who missed last season after suffering appendicitis, has 60 tackles and six sacks.
“He's been good,” Lessman said. “We lost basically all of our size from last year, so we weren't sure how we'd be on the lines but with him, Blake (Schmitz) and Colton (Davidson) on offense and Trevor Carmack on defense, they've really become one of the stronger parts of our team.”
Hagen is looking forward to Friday night in Webbers Falls.
“It'd be so big if we could get that win,” he said. “It's going to be a really good game, and I don't think either team will break out with a huge lead either way.”