ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — The Lutheran Crusaders are ready to make their second straight IHSA football playoff appearance this weekend. The Crusaders will play at number one ranked Lena-Winslow in Class 1A Saturday at 2 p.m.
The Crusaders have returned to the playoffs despite having only four seniors on their roster. Things looked a bit bleak for them after week eight of the regular season when they were 3-4, but they won their last two games against Oregon and Genoa-Kingston to get in.
The Crusaders have had to reinvent themselves during the course of this season. They started off as a pass-heavy team, but when that didn’t work so well they move some guys around and the became a running team.
“There were some certain things that just weren’t working for us in personnel and scheme, so we had to do some different things that are pretty much not what we normally do,” said head coach Jeff Luedke. “We just haven’t passed a lot in the last two games, and we’ve always passed a lot.”
The Crusaders’ first major move a few weeks into the season was switching top running back Gavin Sanders, a sophomore, to quarterback. He’ll often run out of the quarterback spot in the shotgun, almost like a Wildcat attack.
The Crusaders’ second major move was putting offensive lineman Hunter Evans at fullback giving the Crusaders a power runner between the tackles and a strong blocker out of the backfield.
We’ll see how those moves work Saturday against a powerhouse Lena-Winslow team.