The Case Western Spartan football team is headed to Puget Sound this Saturday to take on the Loggers. The first time match-up comes after two bye weeks, weeks the team spent recovering from a walloping by nationally-ranked Linfield in the Homecoming game in which they lost 45-0. To make matters worse, the Spartans were racked by injuries.
The last two weeks have seen the Spartans healing, with six injured players practicing for the first time Tuesday, though there are an additional five out for the year. “We’re going to be the healthiest we’re going to be this week,” said head coach Greg Debeljak. “They’re doing everything they can, they’re doing their rehab and they’re coming along. If we had had to play last week, we’d have had 11 guys out, so I’m glad we didn’t play last week.”
Ahead of the match up versus Puget Sound, the Spartans will have a practice session at the Seahawks facility, an occasion Debeljak says is exciting. “That’ll be a nice experience,” he said. “We want to give the kids a good experience but also realize it’s not a vacation, we’re out there to play a game and we certainly need a win badly.”
Despite the injuries, Debeljak says there is an upside. “Some kids that we normally wouldn’t get a lot of work with, we got a lot of work with. We answered some questions about some kids: if they’re ready, if they’re not ready, what they need to do to get better. All in all, I think it was a good week. We got healthy and we got a chance to work with our younger kids.”
With the Puget Sound game ahead, and a game versus Trinity the week after, the Spartans will be entering conference play with a home game against Chicago on Nov. 2. “We did make some changes on both sides of the ball as far as philosophy and what we do, and we’re going to work on those this week in a game condition and we feel it’s the way to go. But you never know until you get out there and experience it against another team.”
Turning to the game versus the Loggers, Debeljak is expecting a less intense battle than the Spartans’ last two games. “They’re playing a lot of young kids, so it won’t be what we faced last week, or even against Frostburg State. They’ve got some good players, but not the depth that Linfield, or even Frostburg State had that presented some challenges. So my expectation is that we play much better.”
The Spartans face the Puget Sound Loggers on Saturday at 4 p.m.