Flyers stay alive; will face Oakville Friday

By Jeff Stalhut

Just when it looked like the Lindbergh Flyers were not going to get a chance to return to the Class 6 football championship game, their friends from Oakville did them a big, big favor.

Coupled with the Flyers’ 42-0 dismantling of Northwest Friday night, the Oakville Tigers defeated Parkway South 24-13, giving the Flyers the help they needed to put things back in their control.

Now Lindbergh, 7-2 overall, 1-1 in district play, still can make the playoffs if the Flyers defeat Oakville by 11 or more points this weekend — or by any margin if Northwest upsets Parkway South.

Flyers Coach Tom Beauchamp was relieved, elated and cautious with Friday night’s results.

“We had to root for Oakville, and them winning is nice for us. We have a lot of respect for their team,” Beauchamp said. “And now at least we have life. The kids are excited to have another shot.”

One thing for certain is that the Flyers know they have a very big challenge in front of them. These are not the Oakville Tigers of the past. For Lindbergh to win this game — especially by 11 or more points — the Flyers are going to have to play very well.

“Oakville has some ability, and the kids realize Oakville is tough,” Beauchamp said. “They have an outstanding defense and a good running game.”

Not only will the Flyers have to find a way to control the Oakville ground tandem of Dan Graham and Reggie Ward, but they also must score at least twice on a stingy Oakville defense to advance.

Beauchamp knows he will be in a unique situation on the sidelines, having to assume he must lead the Flyers not only to a win — but to a big win.

“Everybody will know what it takes for us to go to the playoffs. There is no question about it,” he said. “We have to work within the system, and I know everyone out there understands that.”

With more than just the game on the line, there is the potential for some confusing play calling late in the game. Lindbergh will play under the assumption that it must not just win, but win by 11 or more.

Therefore, the real potential exists for the Flyers to have the game wrapped up, but to then have to try and score more points to advance. In theory, they might have to run plays at a time they might otherwise be running out the clock. A close win — most likely — will not get it done.

That could create some uneasiness, but as Beauchamp said before, everyone knows what is at stake.

“If we are in a position to go ahead by 11 or more late in the game instead of running it out, we will have to try,” Beauchamp said. “If we don’t play it that way, we’re cheating our own kids. We have to play in that system.”

Lindbergh will travel to Oakville with a second chance to take care of business. The game will start at 7 p.m. Friday at Oakville Senior High School, 5557 Milburn Road.