After a mostly scoreless first half, Maple Grove (3-2) surrendered four Eagles touchdowns the rest of the way for a 28-7 home loss Sept. 28. A fumble and a couple interceptions proved costly for the Crimson, who haven’t beaten the Eagles (5-0) since they joined the same district in 2015.
“We went into that game thinking we could hang with them,” said Crimson coach Matt Lombardi. “We learned the importance that when you play a really good team that you got to play in and play out. You can’t just play 93 percent of the time really well and then hope that the other seven percent doesn’t matter because that’s where 21 points comes from.”
Joe Raymon had one of the brighter spots for the Crimson defense with a team high 12 tackles. Jake Hanson had 10 tackles. Justin Stolp posted nine tackles and collected on of two forced fumbles by the Crimson. Ben Bristol had the other in addition to his five tackles.
Evan Hull breaks open for Maple Grove’s lone touchdown against No. 1 Eden Prairie. (Photo by Rich Moll – richmollphotography.com)
Adam Skogman had the lone sack for the Crimson in addition to his seven tackles. Ben Paschke finished with eight tackles.
Maple Grove kept Eden Prairie off the board until 1:41 remained in the first half. Quarterback Cole Kramer put the Eagles up 7-0 on a 25-yard TD run.
Eden Prairie didn’t score again until past the midway point of the third quarter when Kramer found wide receiver Davis Jaeger for a 5-yard TD pass with 5:06 left. The Eagles extended the lead on a 48-yard TD run by running back Grant Harstad with 1:33 remaining.
Maple Grove chipped away early in the fourth quarter with a 1-yard TD run by running back Evan Hull. He finished with 160 yards rushing.
“Evan Hull keeps getting better every week,” Lombardi said. “I truly think he is somebody that is learning the position every day, and his work ethic and passion are second to none. He is a great kid that truly has a chance to be special if he keeps growing as a player like he is.”
Hanson also chipped in on the run game with 38 yards on eight carries. Crimson quarterback Curtis Haugen threw 5-16 for 56 yards and two interceptions.
Wide receiver Erik Christensen caught three of those passes for 35 yards. Ben Schroeder had a 12-yard reception, and Raymon had a 9-yard catch.
Things get no easier for Maple Grove with a visit to Lakeville North (4-1) on Friday at 7 p.m.