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      Valley Lutheran's football team finally has a reason to smile

      Senior Evan Howard and SVL will make the schoolâ??s first-ever playoff appearance after 19 seasons of football.

      For three seasons, Valley Lutheran senior running back Evan Howard endured losing, going 3-24 from 2009-2011.

      In 2012, he and the Chargers will make the school??s first-ever playoff appearance after 19 seasons of football.

      "It's a good feeling because we had a couple of good games but still finished with a losing season,?? Howard said. ??Coming out this year and getting a winning record was a great thing for us."

      Second-year Valley Lutheran head coach Randy Finney has been with the team for its entire existence. He believes this team has always showed they were special throughout the season.

      ??There??s been years in the past where we??ve had good athletes but these are really hard workers,?? Finney said. ??They have a purpose.??

      Senior running back Travis Welch said this team also has chemistry. He and Howard have combined for 1677 yards and 27 touchdowns.

      ??Me and Evan feed off of each other,?? Welch said. Even emotionally we can talk and we??re very good friends.??

      ??Whoever gets the ball, we love it when they score,?? Howard said. ??We can win games whether we??re having a bad time or not.??

      The Chargers will take on Saginaw Swan Valley in the Division Four district semifinal, a team that has made four playoff appearances in five seasons. Howard said that his team would not be intimidated.

      ??We??ve stayed focused and treated it like a regular-season game but this means more,?? Howard said. ??It??s win or die.??

      Highlights of Valley Lutheran and Swan Valley can be seen on NBC25 Friday Night Football at 11.