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Crimson Fall to Eden Prairie in State Quarterfinal to End the Season

By Coach Lombardi, 11/13/16, 4:15PM CST

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Recap Week 11

Football is a sport of momentum and we were the victim of the team in the state that takes advantage of that better than any other in the state right now.  We went from down 21 - 14 with first down on the three yard line going into score to a 42 - 14 disadvantage three game minutes later.  That's how quickly a game can change and a defense that flies around and causes turnovers are what causes that to happen.  Give Eden Prairie credit, they did that to us and turned a game that was completely in doubt into a blow-out during that time frame and we never could recover.    However, the final score of the game does not represent the effort given by our kids that night, and they finished our season with a score that did not represent the persistence this team showed throughout this entire season.  It just was a game that snowballed.  We experienced that earlier this year on the other end against a very good Minnetonka team, and last week we were on the receiving end against a championship caliber Eden Prairie ball club.

Offensively, we moved the ball against a defense that I truly believe is the best we have faced since I have been here at Maple Grove and we amassed over 400 yards of offense during the night.  Brad Davison finished his career playing brilliantly against a tenacious defense going 19 - 29 for 283 yards and 2 TD's.   He kept plays alive all night with his feet and did a great job finding all of our receivers throughout the night.  Very rarely at a high school game do you see four receivers with four receptions and one other with five, but Erik Christenson, Teddy Raasch, Ryan Hanscome, Jack Dugan, and Ky Carlson did that respectively with Ky getting to the endzone twice.  It's a testament to this team how we spread the football out and it was a blast to see them develop this year.   Also,  our offensive line did a nice job protecting Brad all night against a defensive line that can really run.   However, we turned the ball over seven times throughout the night and there is no recipe that can recover from that.   Sometimes when you are trying to do too much, you end up taking away from the simple things that are important like protecting the football.   Our kids gave every ounce of who they were out there, and from a coach that is all I can ask and I loved the way they competed against an elite defense.

Defensively, early on we faced two turnovers immediately which gave Eden Prairie two short drives and led to hard fought scores which provided them momentum for the night.  The frustration of the night impacted this group but their effort never wavered and they learned to see first hand how momentum can be affected by the defensive side of the ball.   It was a night that I think will shape this program from here on out.   Sometimes the content of the level of what you are has to be challenged to force you to become the greatness that you will be.   This game will inspire us to be great down the road and raise our expectations of what we can become in the future.   I am very proud of this group throughout the year and they fought constant adversity and stepped up when called upon.   Time after time this group gave us opportunities to win football games, and they gave great effort on a nightly basis.    Also, our special teams made up of primarily defensive players did a great job Friday night outside of a couple miscues and gave us opportunities to do big things during the night.   That will only get better down the road as well. 

The sadness of Friday night will linger for a while which is normal when a group pours their heart into something, but the pride they should have for what they accomplished should not waiver one second.   What they accomplished was awesome, and this Senior class has been a part of four state tournament appearances.   Not many teams can say that.   On a personal note, the relationships built with these young men is truly special and the growth I have been lucky to witness over these four years has been astronomical.  Watching them battle through ETS, Crimson Power, SDSU camp, Fall camp, a tough regular season and a very difficult playoff run has been tremendous to watch, and the blood, sweat and tears they laid out on that field can never be questioned.   Hopefully, cherishing the process will carry on throughout their years and each and every one these young men will be leaders for others because they will embrace all the struggles that will face them down the road.    I truly believe the greatest moments of our lives come from the rockiest of paths and too many run from those obstacles to take the easiest path at a particular time.   My wish is every one of these boys will face each one of those harrowing moments with grit and know they always will have the toughness to persevere.  

I want to thank all of the coaches for a great season and giving everything you have to these boys.  You make a huge impact and our program cannot be what it is without you.   To the families of all of the coaches.  Thank you for allowing us to pursue this dream while sacrificing so much at home for the betterment of the program.  We love you and are grateful for just how much you mean to us.    To the parents of our Seniors.  Thank you for believing in Crimson football and hopefully we have given you a rewarding experience for your family and one that has made an impact for all.   Your support is what allows us to do what we do and I truly value all that you sacrifice for this to run appropriately.   To our booster club and all of the volunteers this year, the work you put into this team on your own time is unbelievable and I am always amazed at all you do.   We wouldn't have a chance without you.   To our sponsors and community.  Thank you for all of your time, donations and support that give our boys such a wonderful experience during their time with us.   To MGYFA and all of our youth football players.  Thank you for continuing the dream and you inspire our players more than you know.   To the Party Zone, administration and all of Maple Grove, your support means everything to the players and you are a big reason they go out there and give every ounce of who they are.  They want to make you proud every time they set foot on that field, and your support of them means the world.    This season was an unbelievable ride and though the outcome of the final game was not what we wanted, the pride I have in what this group accomplished is impossible to measure.   They were a team that many doubted, but they continued to believe and put themselves on the biggest stage in the state tournament.   The boys of 2016 have a lasting place in the legacy of Crimson football and everybody that follows in years to come owes them a ton.  Thank you boys for giving me all you have and know that you are a group that I will always hold dear to my heart.

GO CRIMSON!

Lombo