On Wednesday night we closed our regular season against 4th rated Champlin Park and walked off the field with a 31-15 loss. From the 1st offensive snap, the power of momentum was on display with Champlin park forcing 3 turnovers and blocking a punt all directly leading to 28 of their 31 points they scored in the first half. We settled down a bit in the second half, but we dug ourselves far too big of a hole to get out of. Give Champlin Park a ton of credit, they outplayed, outcoached, and out hustled us in that first half which led to us playing with desperation, leading to many decisions on both sides of the ball that put us behind the eight ball.
Offensively, we immediately forgot the role of this side of the ball with three first-quarter turnovers that led to us falling behind 17-0 before the game even seemed to start. It was a valuable lesson heading into the playoffs reminding us to just remain within ourselves and make good decisions play in and play out. We made single plays throughout, but we were unable to string things together giving us a chance to control the field position and the tempo of the game. There will be improvements on this side of the ball starting from the coaching all the way down heading into our opening round game against 'Tonka.
Defensively, we were put in many tough situations throughout forcing us to lose our composure on this side of the ball for one of the first times this year. Champlin had a very talented three-headed monster with their quarterback, running back and receiver and they seized their momentum when the opportunities were presented to them. Defensively, we have to stand firm when put in tough situations and hold them to minimal points during those moments. There were some bright spots on this side of the ball. Jake Johnson had his greatest tackle output this year and Anthony Gipson continued his great season with a ton of plays. This side of the ball will still be a difference-maker for us this year in the playoffs, and we are counting on them to be great!
Our special teams had highs and lows during this game. A blocked punt at the end of the first half by Champlin led to more points that needed to be avoided. However, Sophomore Micha Vayee had a great kickoff return for a touchdown where he showed just how explosive he can be when he attacks it full speed. We need to sure up this part of our team and this needs to be an asset for us come playoff time.
The fun begins this week! There is nothing like playoff football. It takes supreme joy and sacrifice from all involved, and the intensity of every play is really quite special. We open with a very reputable program in Minnetonka who has lost a ton of very close games against great competition, so they will come into 'The Grove' well-coached and ready to go for this game. We need to be excited about the opportunity in front of us and execute play in and play-out for these upcoming weeks. Other than two bad halves of football, we are playing well going into the playoff finishing the regular season with a 4 - 2 record, so we should feel good going in. It will be fun! We need the place packed and rocking giving us an edge to take down the Skippers! Go Crimson! The time is here!