The Prior Lake football team will have to shore up its run defense to avoid a second straight loss.
The Lakers are home to No. 3-ranked St. Michael-Albertville Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. The Knights go into the game with a 4-1 mark, including a 34-29 home win over Edina in Week 5 (Sept. 27).
Prior Lake (3-2 overall) goes into the contest off of a 35-17 loss at No. 5 Lakeville South Sept. 27. The Lakers gave up 342 rushing yards to the Cougars.
“Lakeville South is a good team, and they played a great game against us,” Lakers coach Matt Gegenheimer said. “That offense is challenging to scheme against and, when you don’t see it all the time, it forces you to do some different things on defense you don’t normally do.
“I thought 51 out of the 56 plays we saw on defense that we played pretty well,” Gegenheimer added. “It’s those handful of big plays that got them into good field position, and it’s tough to stop them in the red zone.”
St. Michael's offense is led by running back David Collins, who has 605 yards on the ground through five weeks, while Knights quarterback Kolby Gartner has 636 yards passing and seven scores.
Junior Tyler Shaver leads Lakers in rushing with 332 yards on 72 carries. Senior quarterback Nate Raddatz has 342 yards passing and two scores.
Against Lakeville South, Prior Lake ran the ball well, amassing 294 yards on the ground, including 137 yards on 11 carries from senior Dylan Bair. But the Lakers got down by two touchdowns in the first half and couldn’t fully recover.
Bair scored on a 70-yard run to open the third quarter, which cut the Cougars' lead to 14-10.
But Lakeville South had quick, strong answer, going 75 yards on seven plays and scoring on a 2-yard touchdown run to increase the lead to 11 points again. The Cougars scored again in the third quarter on another short run to go up 28-17 heading into the final frame.
Raddatz scored on a 6-yard run for Prior Lake midway through the fourth quarter. But again Lakeville South answered.
The Cougars salted the game away with an eight-play, 51-yard scoring drive capped by 10-yard scoring run. Lakeville South ran right at the teeth of the Lakers’ defense on that drive and pretty much all game long.
The Cougars dominated the line of scrimmage, running its three-back set right at Prior Lake.
Before the half, the Lakers had a 11-yard scoring run from senior Will Jones called back by a holding penalty. Prior Lake was forced to settle for a 32-yard field goal from junior Josh Keller.
“I thought our offense did some good things, and it was nice to get Bair more involved,” Gegenheimer said. “I’m not sure the score was a good reflection of the game we played. I think our biggest issue is we need to get our offense and defense clicking at the same time.
“I don’t believe we have played a complete game yet and, once we do, I believe we can play with anyone,” Gegenheimer added.
Shaver had 63 yards rushing on 13 carries for the Lakers in the loss. Junior Cam Miller had 34 yards on five carries, and Raddatz had 38 yards on 11 rushes.
Raddatz completed 3 of 8 passes for 23 yards.
On defense, senior Sam Emmerich led the Lakers with 11 tackles, Bair had seven and senior Nick Theis had four. Juniors Tanner Newlin and Ryan O’Connor and senior Logan Hennen each had three tackles.
In Week 6 (Oct. 11), Prior Lake will play at No. 4 Eden Prairie (4-1) and will end the regular season Oct. 16 at home to Minnetonka (0-6). Both games start at 7 p.m.