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Maple Grove Tops Hopkins in a Shootout

By Coach Lombardi, 08/30/15, 1:15PM CDT


On a beautiful Friday night in front of a great crowd in “The Grove”, our boys took on a very talented 1-0 Hopkins team and prevailed in an entertaining 44 – 36 shootout.   In a game filled with tons of momentum swings, we were able to find a way to finish the game on top and move on to the next step in our process of becoming a better football team on a weekly basis.

Defensively, there were glimmers of what they will become down the road.  Even though the points given up do not meet our expectations, there were other elements where they made a much bigger impact in the game that will pay big dividends down the road.   Over the course of the game, we scored a defensive touchdown on a blocked punt, forced two interceptions in Hopkins territory that set up our offense nicely to score some easy points, and played with more enthusiasm and emotion throughout.   The process of being mentally sharp every play is still in progress, but this is a group I think can become great down the road.    Peter Doyle and Lukas Burrington were able to record their first interceptions of the year, and Zion Allen made a huge play with a blocked punt that Lasana Sesay alertly scooped up and took in for six.   Isaac Collins made some big plays in the secondary with three pass break ups and 6 total tackles, and Tony Joksimovic recorded his first sack of the year.

Offensively, we did a nice job controlling the football, but we still have to capitalize on opportunities and finishing with points.  On the three possessions the defense and special teams gave us the ball inside the forty yard line, we only garnered three total points on those possessions, and we missed numerous chances to put us in front by three scores throughout the game.   However, we did a great job on possessions after Hopkins scored and thwarted their momentum with scoring drives throughout including an eighteen play drive late in the 2nd quarter.   Our running backs ran exceptionally hard and kept getting us a ton of yards after contact.   Isaac Collins finished the game with 29 carries for 182 yards and 4 touchdowns while Ryan Hanscome added 18 carries for 129 yards and a score.   Any time you can have your tailbacks combine for over 300 yards is a great day for the offensive line, tight ends and fullbacks, and they did a much better job blocking to the whistle this week and getting movement up front.    Brad Davison did a nice job Friday night moving the sticks and getting some key completions that kept drives going.   He finished 10 – 15 for 102 yards, with big receptions being made by Teddy Raasch, Eddie Lee, Isaac Collins, and Ryan Hanscome.

One of the unsung elements of the game that I feel won it for us when all was said and done was Special Teams.   As stated before, we blocked a punt for a score, Joe Wallick made a great play on Kickoff recovering a loose ball, Eddie Lee made a huge field goal at the end of the half and all of his extra points, and Isaac Collins and Will Ampe were very effective returners putting us in great field position each time.    It’s a part of our game we have to keep improving because it can be a huge asset for us that will propel us to victories against great opponents week in and week out.

Next week on Thursday night at “The Grove”, we play a very good Edina team that returns 16 starters from last year’s squad and has a ton of size.   Hard to believe, but after next week, we already have completed half of our regular season home games before school even starts, so we need the place rocking to allow us to get to a record of 2-1.   There is nothing better than the home games and the atmosphere that is becoming present every week.   With the smell of Malone’s burgers in the air, last week our anthem was sung by three talented young men from our choir, the band did a great job throughout on the track, the student section is filled up to the top, parents of alumni and community members are still coming to support, Coach Wurm and Vorlicek do a great job getting the crowd up dancing and singing with music that sets a great atmosphere throughout, and to top it off you look in the endzone and you see our youth players in their jerseys throwing the ball around, having a ball and cheering on our players.   Game days are intended to be a blast and a wonderful opportunity to get our community together cheering loud, having fun, and making a scene that represents all of the talents and great things a good high school can truly represent.   Let’s get it rocking Thursday night at “The Grove”.   It means a ton to our players, and let’s create an atmosphere that is unmatched.   GO CRIMSON!

- Lombo