On Wednesday night in a brand new Shakopee Stadium, we were able to finish our season with a 48-17 victory and a 6-2 record heading into the playoffs. Finishing the season with four victories is a great springboard heading into the most exciting time of year, and we look forward to the challenges ahead.
Offensively, we were able to move the ball effectively as Brad Davison had a very efficient game going 13 - 16 passing for 257 yards and 4 touchdowns. He did a nice job mixing the ball around as Ky Carlson was able to pull down two touchdown passes, while Ryan Hanscome and Jack Dugan each added one. Ryan also added 84 yards rushing on 12 carries and a score. This is a group that we expect great things from come playoff time, and hopefully we will keep improving and playing smart, sound football as we head into the second season.
Defensively, we played a great game outside of a small lapse in the second quarter. We forced turnovers, and were able to capitalize and get our team some points on this side of the ball. Jake Hanson, Ben Pachske, and Zion Allen all made a big impact from the linebacker position combining for 28 tackles between them and 7 tackles for loss. Gabe Hanson and Curtis Haugen each added interceptions with Gabe scoring his first touchdown on a pick six, and each of our defensive lineman either had a tackle for loss or a sack on the day. This is the time of the year where this group has to take over and dominate games. The formula for success in the playoffs usually involves dominant defense, so this year can be no exception. It should be fun to see what this group does.
Our special teams had highs and lows, as Andy Peterson was 6 for 7 on extra points, but our kickoff team needs to improve as we head into the postseason. Joe Raymon showed he can be an explosive returner with a 72 yard punt return, and Teddy Raasch did a nice job again on his lone punt attempt. This will be an area we focus on during the upcoming weeks because we need it to be a positive difference maker for us.
Now, we have an opportunity in front of us that should be a blast. Playoff football truly is awesome and it requires preparation, concentration, and confidence at a different level. I cannot be more confident in a group of kids going into the playoffs, and I cannot wait to see what they do over the upcoming weeks. This team has finished with four great victories and they are peaking when we need to be peaking, so I truly am fired up for our opening game against a good Roseville team. As a #2 seed going into the playoffs, we have the opportunity to have home games leading into the state tournament. In the papers, they have brought up this seeding as controversial but being given what you think you deserve often times does not happen, but nobody can take away from you what you earn. That's what we have in front of us. Roseville is the most important game of our season as is every game that is in front of us. I already hear people looking at brackets and seeing what lies in front of us, but honestly we will ignore all of you. Our game that we are playing is our only worry. We learned from last year. Our semifinal loss was a result of people talking more about what could happen down the road instead of worrying about the challenge that was in front of us at that time. As a result, we opened with as bad of eighteen minutes as we had the entire year and we could not recover. It's fun to bracket watch, and it's awesome the format that is set up for our tournament, but we will not take part in that. All we care about is step one, and we are playing a good Roseville team that already has three very good wins this year and a few close losses against high seeds that are in the current bracket. Our best game needs to be against Roseville, and that's why the playoffs are great. It's all about capturing moments and opportunities and loving every second we are on the field. Let the fun begin! There is nothing like it and we need the Grove rocking! That needs to be a huge advantage for us!