The 2017 season did not start out like the Prior Lake Lakers’ football team wanted. After a 1-3 start, adjustments had to change. Defensively, the Lakers were keeping the team in most games, but the offense was struggling. The team…
The 2017 season did not start out like the Prior Lake Lakers’ football team wanted. After a 1-3 start, adjustments had to change. Defensively, the Lakers were keeping the team in most games, but the offense was struggling. The team would go on to win the next six games and didn’t stop winning until they were in the 6A state quarterfinals. One of the reasons for the improvement had to do with the coaching staff’s decision to change junior linebacker Spencer Shaver‘s role. It was nothing new for Shaver who has played many roles in his two years starting for the Lakers.
“We had trouble establishing our offense early in the season,” Shaver said. “The fifth game of the year I got my first start of the year at running back,” Spencer – who started every game at linebacker – said. “I was able to spark the offense a little bit from the fullback position in our Wing T. It took some pressure off our senior running backs. It helped to spread the offense around and give us more opportunities.”
Shaver brought a new element to the offense.
“I brought more power to the offense and more pressure up the middle to open more gaps for other guys.”
While Shaver helped the offense, his varsity career has been almost all on the defensive side of the ball.
“I played strong-side outside linebacker,” the soon to be three-year starter said. “I think I am good at fighting off blocks and setting the edge. My quickness to recover and get to the correct areas in the open field.”
As a sophomore, Shaver filled a role playing a position he had never played before – defensive tackle.
“I started every game as a sophomore year at defensive tackle. I moved to linebacker this year. I had always played running back and linebacker in junior high. I put on thirty pounds, and the coaches wanted to get me on the field.”
His year at defensive tackle helped his linebacker play.
“It helped me with hand to hand combat,” NFN’s 51st ranked junior explained. “I have always been one of the strongest kids on the field, so defensive tackle worked out for me.”
Shaver expects to play linebacker during his senior season, but with the addition of former Mankato West head coach Mark Esche as the Lakers’ offensive coordinator, Shaver doesn’t know what his role will be on the offensive side of the ball.
This winter he has been working in the weight room and this spring he will continue lifting but will be adding track and volleyball.
“I lift pretty much six days a week around the track schedule. In track, I run the 100, 200 and throw the shot put.”
The offseason has seen Shaver focused on his pass coverage skills.
“I want to be able to improve my pass coverage skills to make strong safety an option.”
Strong safety might be an option during his senior year but more likely at the collegiate level.
“The FBS schools have been recruiting me as a linebacker, and I have even heard the possibility of strong safety. The Northern Sun schools have been recruiting me as a running back and a linebacker.”
This summer he plans to attend camps around the Midwest.
“I am going to stick to the FBS schools that have been recruiting me. North Dakota State, South Dakota State, North Dakota, South Dakota. I have visited SDSU, UND, and USD. I am visiting NDSU this weekend. I plan to go to a Minnesota camp this summer too.”
Shaver has visited also visited St. Cloud State and Winona State.
Linebacker, running back, safety or defensive tackle; if Prior Lake needs it, Spencer Shaver will do it. He will likely have success with any of them too – making him a valuable member of the Lakers and will give him additional options after high school football as well.