Quote Me, Howie: Erik Lofald

Hunters football coach Erik Lofald, on the team’s 2020 summer training camp:

“We’ve had a tremendous turnout, about 55 kids signed up, and it’s been hot, muggy. The kids have really responded well, and we’re just super impressed on how things have started.”

Lofald, on his expectations for next season:

“Optimistic, because we’re trending towards having a season. It will look different in a lot of ways with the fans in the stands and how the sidelines might look. Obviously, the Minnesota State High School League will make a final decision on the season and following the lead of the Department of Health, which has been the trend so far this summer. We’re practicing with a summer waiver. The Minnesota State High School League still hasn’t put out a lot of information other than we can do some things and put limits on numbers. Maybe they will eventually set a cap on how many fans can be in attendance at games. We might stream games in some capacity. On the sidelines, the coaches’ box might be extended from the ten yard line to the ten yard line and limit only players, coaches and maybe the student managers on the sidelines.”

Lofald, on last season, his first as Hunters’ head coach:

“The primary focus was creating a positive culture and establishing a foundation that we can build a program on. That took sacrifice from our seniors who had a great attitude while leading a mostly inexperienced team. We’ll be a little inexperienced again this year, but some guys who were really young and raw last year now have valuable experience. We have a great feeder program and some great young classes coming in, so the future is really bright. That’s encouraging.”

Lofald, on the state of Denfeld football:

“There’s the community pride piece that Denfeld has always had in the western part of town. Public Schools Stadium is iconic, the epicenter of football for a long time and a jewel in the community. Servant leadership is a huge piece for us moving forward: players and coaches serving our community, our schools, and each other. That’s the culture we want to bring back — the blue collar, working class grind-it-out approach. I think that’s what you’re seeing here today, with these players working really hard and understanding that they will beat a lot of teams by outwork them.”

Lofald, on the importance of continuing to invest in the rapid development of the youth program in West Duluth:

“We have a great partnership with the Duluth Junior Football League, and we’ve been able to retain a lot of those kids. We’re working to make it fun for kids to play football, to get them to stick around. Sometimes fun is equated to wins and losses, but if that’s all we’re going to hang our hat on, then we haven’t had a successful, fun program here for a while. So that can’t be our only sales pitch. Our culture must be great, as out student-athletes learn core values that extend beyond the football field and into their post-high school endeavors. So, we’re committed to helping to develop great, well-rounded Denfeld student athletes.”