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Maple Grove Voice

Maple Grove, Lombardi About to Get Defensive Again

Aug 29, 2017 07:10PM ● By Doug Erlien
Seven years ago, Maple Grove Senior High School Football Head Coach Matt Lombardi stood on the sidelines as Crimson head coach for the first time.

The story has been told many times, but bares repeating. Lombardi or as he’s known in the football world as Lombo, led helped build the Wayzata Trojans program into a Minnesota powerhouse winning three state championships in seven seasons beginning in 2005.

Lombardi ran the defense while at Wayzata, and his defenses were dominating. In the three state championship seasons, 
Wayzata allowed an average of 9.65 points per game and combined for 12 shutouts.

Inside the Huddle Episode 2 Maple Grove Football Matt Lombardi - Aug 17 2017 0607PM

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Fast Forward to Maple Grove
In his first four seasons as head coach, the Crimson improved in points allowed per game every season including a team best 89 points allowed in 2014 (according to 
MN Football Hub) which included five shutouts.

After two seasons coaching the Crimson offense, Lombardi is back coaching the defensive side of the ball.

“For the last few years I’ve had great defensive coordinators in Tommy Becker and Adam Spurrell and they’ve done a good job,” Lombardi said. “It was one of those things that I never thought it was fair as a head coach because I would always watch the defense and there’s a pride in it. If things weren’t getting done the way I wanted to, I’d get frustrated in ways that really weren’t fair.”

The strength of this Crimson team appears to be the defense. With several starters back, getting the most out of the defense will be a key to success.

“I’ve said it historically and I’ll keep saying it that if you look at the champions, yeah there’s a lot of great teams, but the teams that win it in the last years, Totino, Osseo, Eden Prairie, every one of them played very good defense that year and ran the ball,” Lombardi said. ”I know everybody kind of likes the fantasy football end of it and likes to see the world spread around but what it always comes down to and you watch the chips fall the teams that win it are the ones that control it up front on offense and play great defense and that’s normally a good formula.”

The program continues to grow. Four straight trips to the state tournament under Lombardi have put Maple Grove on the football map. If the Crimson want to extend that streak, the defense will need to dominate. 

“If I’m going to have those expectations on that side of the ball if we’re good or bad, it’s going to be my fault,” Lombardi said. "It’s up to the kids to buy into it, but it’s a challenge for me. I’m a little bit nervous because I’ve got to go back on that side of the ball.”

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