On Senior night in "The Grove", we were fortunate to finish with a one point victory against a very good Prior Lake team that has been playing very well of late. A game that had many highs and lows, it provided a memorable victory for those Seniors and their parents that have poured and are pouring so much into Crimson football.
Offensively, it will be remembered for the final drive, but it was a game that we left knowing we can improve greatly. There were two drives in the fourth quarter where we did not move the football and milk the clock that would have kept us from having to perform dramatics to win the game. Brad Davison continued his great season going 20 - 32 passing for 243 yards with 2 touchdowns, while rushing for 95 yards on 24 carries and and an additional 2 scores. Ryan Hanscome had another great all around game with 64 yards rushing and 109 yards receiving, while Ky Carlson and Jack Dugan each had touchdown catches. Up front, we protected the passer well, and we found things on the run we can improve upon, so they keep getting better and better every week. After another week of numerous penalties, we will throughout the final week and the playoffs emphasize the importance of not hurting ourselves during drives. However, I cannot be prouder of the resilience of the final drive and staying together as a group as Prior Lake took the lead with a little over two minutes left. There was a calm and belief on the field during that drive that will pay dividends down the road, and if put in that situation again, we know we can and will succeed.
Defensively, this was a game that taught the importance of being mentally sharp every play that we are out there. Prior Lake did a great job of taking advantage of our let-downs and was able to put four touchdowns on the board on very big plays. That's what makes defense so great is you can play great 90% of the time, but that 10% can really come back to haunt you and lead to points for the other team. That's what makes defense awesome, it requires mental toughness play in and play out. We are still improving on this side of the ball and showed things that revealed we will be a great unit come playoff time. Jake Hanson continued his strong play with 12 total tackles and a tackle for loss. Eugene Horton had two huge sacks in the final drive, and Tony Joksimovic added one to his total. Curtis Haugen and Teddy Raasch added interceptions, and Ben Pachske and Zion Allen had great games from their linebacker position. We look forward to getting on the field this Wednesday to get this group flying around so playoff time they will make the impact I know they will make.
Our Special teams played very well, and was a couple penalties away from having a great game. Our kickoff return team set up good field position, but had a couple calls that negated big returns for Ryan Hanscome. Our Kickoff team did a great job all night with coverage. Teddy Raasch did a great job moving into the punting spot averaging over 30 yards a punt on his four punts into a tricky wind, and Andy Peterson was the quiet star of the game putting all four of his extra points through and doing a wonderful job with his kickoffs. This unit keeps improving and I was very proud of their efforts last Friday, and our extra points were the difference in the game.
It's hard to believe but we are to the final week of the regular season and we have put ourselves in a position that this is a big game for the Crimson. On Wednesday night, we travel to a brand new field at Shakopee and take on the Sabers. They are a team that historically plays very well at the end of the season and this is no exception as they played Prior Lake and Edina in very tough games in two of the last three weeks. It's always a challenge to play that final game because it is on a short week, so our two days of preparation have to be great leading into that Wednesday encounter. It is our last game leading into the playoffs, so we have to be peaking leaving the field on Wednesday night, and it is an opportunity to provide us a good seed come playoff time. We hope to see all of our Crimson fans taking the trek down to Shakopee on Wednesday night and getting their place rocking as we play our last regular season game. It should be fun, and it's a big one! GO CRIMSON!