Last Friday night at Wayzata, we had the opportunity to play a program that has won 3 state championships in the past ten years and is widely considered one of the best in all of Minnesota. On a crisp and beautiful evening with stands completely filled on our Maple Grove side, our players took part in a high profile game that was exciting for all and prevailed 34-7. Even though there were many articles focusing on my return to the place I coached for many great, successful years, this game truly was about how far our kids and the program itself has come due to the hard work and dedication that has taken place throughout this period. I could not have been prouder of the player’s effort on a big stage and the patience and composure they showed throughout this game.
Offensively, we were able to run for 272 yards throughout the evening, with Clark Wieneke running for 131 yards on 23 carries, Isaac Collins running for 95 yards on 14 carries, and fullback Kyle Anderson adding 44 yards on 6 carries. Our offensive line, tight ends and fullbacks did a great job opening holes against a defense that presented a ton of movements, and they did a great job of getting us all short yardage opportunities. Again, sophomore Brad Davison did a great job leading the club and making big passes on 3rd down and 4th down situations. He finished 6-13 passing for 86 yards, and he rushed for his first touchdown of his career. Adam Brant, Peter Doyle, and Eddie Lee all pulled down passes and did a great job stalk blocking throughout. We still have to improve on finishing drives, but again we controlled the clock and closed the game in the 2nd half with three long possessions.
Defensively, we made great progress and allowed no points throughout the night. During the 2nd half, before the final possession, our defense allowed only eight yards total and no first downs setting the tone for the entire squad. Adam Brant had a big game from the safety position with 9 total tackles, 1 fumble recovery and a touchdown. Christian Ujhelyi also had 9 tackles, Lucas Burrington had 6 tackles and a forced fumble, Kyle Anderson had 7 tackles from a defensive line position, and Sam Franta did a great job on an island at cornerback with 3 pass break ups. In the process that is this year’s defense, we made great strides this week and hopefully we will be even better next week against an explosive Champlin Park team.
However, the play most people will be talking about is the opening kickoff return by Isaac Collins that went 95 yards for a touchdown that set the tone for the entire night. Our special teams were filled with unbelievable highs and cavernous lows, but they proved a big part of the game. Our kickoff return team supplied two great returns on the night, but our punt team also gave up seven points due to a personnel miscue. All part of the learning, but it’s an area we need to be better at because our punter Jebah Doe is averaging close to forty yards a punt. He can be a major asset to our team!
Next week we have a big game at home against a very good Champlin Park team that is one of the top teams of the Northwest Suburban Conference this year. After big wins against Blaine and Andover, they will be coming into our game sky high. I can’t wait to see the growth our team has this week because all of us know we have a long way to go, and to do it on our home field will be special. Following what was perceived as a successful big game, these are the games that truly reveal what kind of a team we truly are because it is just as big a game for where we are trying to go. Hopefully our players will cherish how great the process is each week to get ready for another opponent because each week is another opportunity to do great things! Go Crimson! It was a great week for the program, let’s have an even better one against Champlin!