Robertson takes over at LP-A
Brian Robertson is the new head coach at Lake Park-Audubon replacing Brad Dunham. Robertson accepted a high school mathematics teaching position and the head football job after school board approval in late June.
“It’s been good,” said Robertson. “I’ve gotten a lot of help from the assistant coaches. That’s been nice to have that continuity.
The staff remains the same other than the addition of Robertson, a North Dakota State University graduate with eight years of football coaching experience. He was an assistant coach at Barnum for five years and head coach for three.
Robertson was out of coaching and teaching in 2015 and wanted to get back into both fields. He and his wife, a Concordia graduate, found jobs nearby each other here in lakes country and the Fargo/Moorhead area where both attended college.
The assistants and Robertson have been working to mesh two different styles of play on both sides of the ball to get the look of this year’s Raiders.
“Offensively is the biggest change you’ll see,” said Robertson. “Last year they were more spread and shotgun with multiple receivers. This year, we’ll be traditional, Wing-T with two tight ends.”
New faces will be in the LP-A backfield as well. The Raiders have graduated senior, starting quarterbacks the past two seasons, Reese Mattson last year and Tim Brekken the prior season.
Teddy Schauer, who did get snaps last season, gets the nod under center. He was also a starter on defense.
Last year’s leading rusher Trent Rosing also graduated. Mitch Hall and Carter Raaen will be make up the wing backs, with Jack Osborne and Chase Roy battling for the starting fullback position. Hall will be making some adjustments in the Wing formation after lead last year’s Raiders in receiving with 680 yards on 32 catches and eight touchdowns.
He has already looked impressive in preseason scrimmages and Raider fans will have a keen eye on how he is used in the new set.
“We’re going to make sure he gets touches,” said Robertson. “We like him one-on-one with anybody.”
Hall will likely spread out in an I-formation set to work the sidelines and get up the field.
On defense, the staff is combining last year’s 3-4 pro style with a lot of blitzing to Robertson’s 5-3 with little blitzing. The Raider D will show a 3-5 front with more stunting than blitzing.
“That’s a good way of how we mesh together,” said Robertson. “Out of the 3-5, you have to blitz a little bit just to mix it up. If anything is going to look the same, it’s the defense, but we’ve made some changes.”
Senior Casey Mann is a leader and returning starter on the offensive line.
“He does things the right way,” said Robertson.
Issiah Evans will provide quickness and strength on the defensive line.
LP-A struggled early last year against three tough opponents in Upsala/Swanville, Fosston and Mahnomen. Those three opponents combined to go 26-6. The Raiders three victories in a 3-6 campaign came against Badger/Greenbush-Middle River (0-9), Fertile-Beltrami (2-8) and Red Lake County (3-6).
This year’s schedule presents the same opponents and level of difficulty.
“You always want to be realistic,” said Robertson. “One goal I have is finish higher and go further than last year. At the same time, I don’t want to put a ceiling on what they can do to.”
With the change at the helm, the difference between this season and last is going to happen on the field and with the juniors and senior leaders.
“Ultimately, it comes down to the kids,” Robertson said. “As coaches, we try to be positive and with that we have to take our mistakes and find ways to correct it. We want to find ways to compete.”
The Raiders were knocked out of the playoffs in an opening round 21-14 home upset by No. 5-seeded New York Mills (3-7).
“You don’t want to focus on wins and losses, but you’ve got to win some tough games,” said Robertson. “Even the taste of a tough loss. If you lose a heartbreaker, you get that taste and it’s going to push you more to learn how to compete and finish games.”
LP-A opens the season with the same opponents as last year with the first game in Swanville Friday, Sept. 2.