Lakers Defense

Prior Lake defenders Ryan Schultze (7) and Dylan Hanson can’t catch Eden Prairie’s Takhi Vaughn on a long scoring in the Lakers’ 52-17 home loss to the Eagles Oct. 1.

The Prior Lake football team followed a big road win with a blowout loss at home.

The Lakers earned a 17-14 victory at Lakeville North Sept. 24, getting a 19-yard yard touchdown run by junior Grayson Sponk in the fourth quarter. Prior Lake went for two and converted on senior Kyle Haas’ pass to senior Ryan Anderson to go up 15-14.

The Panthers were forced to a safety in the closing minutes and tried to get the ball back, but couldn’t do so.

The win hoped to fuel Prior Lake’s showdown with No. 4-ranked Eden Prairie Oct. 1. But the Lakers struggled controlling Eagles running back Takhi Vaughn, who rushed 11 times for 208 yards and two touchdowns.

Eden Prairie was up 21-0 after the first quarter, led 35-10 at the break and was ahead 52-10 heading into the final quarter. The Eagles had two scoring plays of 60 and 81 yards, rolling up 378 yards on the ground for the game.

Prior Lake (3-2 overall) have two more tough games — at No. 1 Lakeville South (Oct. 7) and home to No. 5 Rosemount (Oct. 14) — before ending the regular season versus Park (Oct. 20).

The Lakers may need to win out to get a home playoff game in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs. Prior Lake is seeded with seven other Section 6 teams, including No. 3 Shakopee (5-0), the Eagles (4-1), Minnetonka (4-1) and No. 2 Wayzata (4-1).

Burnsville (1-4), Edina (0-5) and Hopkins (0-5) are also in the section.

The last time Prior Lake started the playoffs on the road was in 2008 when they lost 35-13 at Apple Valley. The Lakers are 0-17 on the road and in neutral sites in the postseason since becoming a big-school program at the start of the 2003 season.

Conversely, Prior Lake is 16-1 at home in the playoffs since joining the top class. The one loss was 21-19 to Bloomington Kennedy in 2010.

Against Eden Prairie, the Lakers went into the game ranked No. 8 in the state. The team also went in with a 0-9 record against the Eagles since 2003.

In the 10th meeting, Prior Lake got a touchdown pass from Haas to Anderson from 10 yards out in the second quarter to cut the Eagles’ lead to 21-7. After two more Eden Prairie touchdowns, junior Logan Lehrer added a 29-yard field goal for the Lakers to end the first half.

Prior Lake got a 4-yard scoring run from senior Daveon McMillan midway through the fourth quarter for the game’s final score.

Against Lakeville North, the Lakers were down 14-7 at the half, before rallying for 10 points in the fourth quarter. Senior Cooper Busch had a 1-yard scoring run in the second quarter for Prior Lake that tied the game.

Lakeville North scored with 15 seconds left in the first half to go up seven points.

The Lakers rushed for 265 yards in the game. Spronk led the way with 15 carries for 87 yards. Senior Ryan Horejsi had 18 carries for 63 yards, while junior Joey Krouse had eight carries for 43 yards.

Haas had 47 yards rushing and was also 6 of 9 for 94 yards through the air. Anderson had one catch for 41 yards. Spronk had two grabs for 14 yards.

Seniors Cole Edwards and Ryan Schultze and junior Martin Owusu each had 11 tackles to lead the defense, while senior Carter Berggren had eight. Owusu also had a sack.

Tom Schardin covers sports for Savage and Prior Lake. He is dependable, sarcastic and always joking around. Tom enjoys running and swimming and is often busy coaching his two kids' sports teams.