Last Friday night in Crimson Stadium, we opened our playoffs against a very good Roseville team that provided us many challenges from the outset. After a back and forth game that had many on the edge of their seats, we put together a 28 point run in the fourth quarter to pull away to a misleading 42-18 victory that took all of who were are to persevere.
Offensively, we moved the ball well all night and did not have to punt, but two turnovers proved costly and there are definitely areas that still need improving. Brad Davison continued his strong play with 214 yards passing and 74 yards rushing with two touchdowns in each area. Teddy Raasch finished with 85 yards on 4 receptions and two touchdowns and made the play on a 3rd and 27 at the end of the third quarter that was a difference maker in that game. Jack Dugan continues his great senior year with 7 more catches for 59 yards, and Ryan Hanscome added 64 yards rushing and 17 more receiving in a strong game that kept the chains moving. This group needs to keep growing up front and in our execution because we need this to be a group that is formidable to play against.
Defensively, we struggled early but finished with a bang and provided the cushion necessary to allow everybody to exhale and realize we are going to the next step. Michael Engelken led the defense with 11 total tackles, while Jake Hanson and Tony Joksimovic each had 10. In the fourth quarter, we were able to come up with three huge interceptions from Teddy Raasch, Jake Hanson, and Carter Kitterman with the final two ending up in defensive scores. That is three scores in the last two weeks, so that is an exciting habit that hopefully is forming. Next week, we obviously have to be better on this side of the ball, and that will come from the preparation during the week from both the players and us coaches, so in result we are ready to fly from the get-go next week.
Our Special teams did a nice job this week, but our coverage teams and return teams are still looking to improve. Andy Peterson converted on all 6 of his extra points and did a nice job kicking off, and our kickoff return team consistently gave us possession past the 35 yard line. This is definitely an area we will focus on this week as they ran a kickoff back for a touchdown and obviously our final extra point we were not able to convert, so this was the opponent that allowed us to know how important special teams really are.
However, what is fun about the playoffs is you rarely play the perfect game, but you have to find a way to finish that step and stay alive for the next opponent. This week we play Edina again and they have won 3 of their last 4 games with their only loss coming in a very close one to Minnetonka, so it should be a fun one. The last time we played them, it was a game that taught us a great deal on how to prepare and it gave us perspective on the importance of Monday throughThursday leading into the week. I hope we have a little chip on our shoulder going into the game this week not because we are seeking "revenge", but because the last time we played them we walked onto a field unprepared and we did not provide them our best effort until late in the game when we were in survival mode. Our goal is being the best team we possibly can be this week, and walking off of our turf at "the Grove" with our Seniors finishing their career with a victory and a proud feeling. This week is all about Maple Grove and the team we have grown up to be over the past twelve weeks or so. I am proud of this team, and excited to see what they bring next week against a familiar opponent that is playing well but also has to play against a team with five consecutive victories in us. It should be fun! Let's get step 2 and walk out of our stadium with our chests up as we look to carry that fourth consecutive section championship plaque and head into the state tournament. We look forward to seeing it packed on Friday night and rocking for all 48 minutes of the game! We love when the crowd is roaring and it really inspires the boys as they play their hearts out!