After starting the season with a 2-2 record, the Chaska Hawks won six of the next seven games and advanced to the state tournament. One of the keys to the season was an old football standby – run the ball and stop the run. When the Hawks started doing that, they – sorry for the pun – took off. One of the keys to that philosophy was soon to be senior Max Lommel. Now Lommel is set up for a big senior season.
“I feel like we started a little bit slow,” Lommel said about the 2018 season. “After our second loss, we flipped a switch and realized we could do this. We could beat any team we came across. We built chemistry, kept working hard, and met off the field to talk about things. It transitioned to the field. We trusted each other and were able to play as a team.”
The run soon became the focus of the Hawks’ season.
“On the defensive side, our front seven was rock solid,” Lommel said. “We didn’t give up many rushing yards. That built a foundation for the team. From there, we started pounding the ball on offense. It worked for us.”
Even with a successful junior season, Lommel knows he has things to work on.
“I thought the season went pretty good. There are always things I can improve on. I could stay lower and more square when I am pulling on the offensive line. I could be playing mean and physical,” Lommel told northstarfootballnews.com. “On the defensive line, I could work on being able to read where the running back is going instead of just guessing. I need to be the one who dictates where my man is going – not letting him push me around.”
Lommel started at center as a sophomore. As a junior, his position changed.
“At the beginning of the season, I was left guard. As the season went along, we had some injuries, so I played both sides and learned both sides.”
Switching from left to right had its challenges.
“It is mirrored, so you have to do this, but I have to flip it to the other side,” Lommel explained. “As the year went on, we all helped each other when we would go up to the line saying where we need to go, who we need to block. We built a lot of trust in each other. Even though we didn’t always have everything memorized, we trusted each other to do our job.”
Lommel’s athletic ability shows – especially when he is on the move.
“My strength is pulling, finding the first guy and can and knocking him back on his feet.”
A part-time player on defense as a sophomore, Lommel’s role expanded as a junior.
“I was the strong side defensive end in a 3-4 defense. As a defensive end, I think I am good at knocking the tackle back and not letting him get to the middle backer. I am able to stay in my gap and not get pulled into chasing the running back and getting out of position.”
A two-sport athlete, Lommel still was focused on his football career.
“In the winter, I was lifting and working on my conditioning. In the spring, I played baseball. I played outfield and also lifted with the football team when I could. I have been playing baseball since I was young and can get back on balls and track balls in the outfield. At the plate, I try to power the ball.”
Along with lifting and baseball, Lommel has been on the campus visit and camp circuit.
“Recruiting has been going well. It is great to go around and see all the schools and see what each program offers. With camps, it has been great watching how the coaches’ coach and how I can learn things I can take back to for this season.”
“I went to Minnesota, Iowa State, Wyoming, North Dakota, North Dakota State, Bemidji State, Minnesota-Duluth, and Minnesota State Mankato,” Lommel continued. “I have offers from Mankato, Bemidji State, Augustana, Sioux Falls, Southwest Minnesota State, and University of Mary.”
Lommel – who has continued his workouts this summer – is being recruited almost exclusively as a defensive tackle.
“They like how physical I play off the ball. Also, they like that I don’t let linemen get their hands on me, and I have quick hands and quick feet.”
Lommel expects to play the nose from time to time as a senior, so adjusting to defensive tackle will not be as big a change in college. With the changes he has made on the football field already, one or two more changes this year and into his college career won’t phase him.
UPDATE: Lommel just committed to Minnesota State-Mankato.