Sports column: Lake Superior Rage looks forward to successful seasonThe Lake Superior Rage is back for its third season of action and is off to a strong 3-0 start.
The Lake Superior Rage is back for its third season of action and is off to a strong 3-0 start.
“We play in Duluth, but we have players from everywhere,” offensive coordinator Dan Renfroe said. “We’re representative of the whole Northland.”
Tryouts were held earlier this year for those 18 and over who were looking to continue playing football and represent the Northland. Renfroe said that probably close to 80 percent of the players on the team have played college football at some level and the other
20 percent of the players played in high school and were good enough to play college football, but didn’t.
“The perception is that it’s just a bunch of washed up guys,” he said. “But it’s really high-caliber football. It’s a pro style of football that’s really entertaining.”
Each Saturday on the field, the team looks to put on a performance that will keep the crowd coming back for more, but it can be hard, with only one practice time a week.
“It really represents a challenge with practice only one day a week, as we have the mindset of putting a good product on the field,” Renfroe said. “We really rely on guys being in shape. It’s a balancing act with personal lives and careers. We’ve been lucky we’ve been able to retain a lot of players so guys are familiar with each other.”
Renfroe said he and the other coaches and all the players participate in the Rage’s season for the love of the game; in fact, this is his 20th season of coaching football. He graduated from Duluth Central in 1992 and began coaching after that. He spent time with Duluth Central, Duluth East, and with the Superior Stampede before ending up with the Lake Superior Rage.
Players on this team do not get paid to play; in fact, they pay a small fee in order to help pay for expenses such as field time and transportation to away games.
The Rage is the Northland’s third semiprofessional football team that has been formed since the early 2000s and Renfroe said this team hopes to be able to stick it out in the Northland.
“I’m not an owner of this team; I’m just a coach, but I can promise this program is solid,” he said. “This group is really classy and wants to be well-established in the Northland. Everyone simply loves the game and wants to be involved positively in the community.”
Besides weekly games, Rage players are often out and about in the community volunteering at various events or participating in meet-and-greets for fans of all ages.
“What’s better in the summer than sitting outside on a 70-degree day and watching football?” Renfroe said. “It’s inexpensive entertainment, and people get to see a good ball game, and there’s a lot of guys they’d probably recognize from the community.”
Although the Rage is currently sitting at a 3-0 record, Renfroe said there is still work to be done.
“We have a lot of improvements to make,” he said. “It’s very good to be 3-0 and we’re very fortunate, and our goal is to win every game, secure home playoffs and win another championship.”
The next home game for the Rage will be against the North Bank Bulls on June 8. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. at Duluth East High School.
Duluthian Sarah Packingham writes about sports for the Budgeteer. Contact her at email@example.com.