The Prior Lake football team will get another tough road test Sept. 27.
The No. 6-ranked Lakers will take on No. 7 Lakeville South in a battle of 3-1 teams starting at 7 p.m.
Both teams go into the game off tough wins in Week 4 (Sept. 20). The Lakers rallied for a 27-24 win at Edina, while the Cougars earned a tough 14-7 win verus Eastview.
"Lakeville South is a very good team and present some challenges with the offensive scheme they run," Lakers coach Matt Gegenheimer said. "It will be a very physical game on both sides of the ball, so we will need to be prepared for another tough game."
The Cougars go into the game with a big of distraction. Tyler Krebs resigned as head coach Sept. 23 "amid a police investigation into unauthorized computer access."
Against Edina, the Lakers' defense did not get distracted late in the game. It made two big stops and then got a 4-yard touchdown run from senior Will Jones with 2:18 to play to pull out the win.
Prior Lake’s defense delivered in key moments, including an 81-yard interception return for a touchdown from junior Tanner Newlin right before halftime. Senior Blake Whaley and junior Tyler Shaver made a couple of huge defensive plays late in the fourth quarter on Edina’s last two possessions.
“The guys played well outside of giving up some big plays,” Gegenheimer said. “I felt like we shot ourselves in the foot a few times when we had opportunities to take the game over. We just need to continue to limit mistakes and worry about us.”
Prior Lake went into the Edina game off of a 14-10 home loss to No. 3 Wayzata Sept. 13. In that contest, the Lakers allowed a 95-yard, game-winning scoring drive in the fourth quarter and had two big penalties on their attempt with the ball to win in the closing minutes.
Against Edina, Whaley had a 9-yard sack on third down late in the fourth quarter, which forced Edina to punt into the wind from near the goal line. Senior Dylan Bair returned the short kick to the Hornets’ 19-yard line.
From there, the Lakers went in to score on Jones’ sweep to the left side. Edina got the ball back with just over two minutes left. On 3rd down, Shaver broke through the line of scrimmage and forced a fumble on a sack in which Whaley recovered.
Trailing 20-12 at the break, Edina scored on a 58-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter and took the lead in the final quarter on a drive capped off on a 1-yard touchdown run.
Prior Lake scored three touchdowns in the first half. Senior quarterback Nate Raddatz hit junior Cam Miller over the middle on a 21-yard pass. Senior Parker Ellis took a short pass on the flat from sophomore Kyle Haas on 4th-and-1 for a 47-yard score in the second quarter to put the Lakers up 14-6.
Edina blocked a Lakers’ punt late in the second quarter down 14-12. But Newlin read an Edina pass perfectly, dropping into coverage and intercepting a slant. Newlin went down the sidelines with about six Laker defenders-turned-blockers leading the way for the touchdown.
Edina missed the extra point on its first touchdown and went for the 2-point conversion on its next three scores. Prior Lake’s defense stopped each of them, which turned out to be the difference in the game.
Junior Josh Kelller was 3 for 4 on extra points for the Lakers.
Senior Sam Emmerich led the Lakers’ defense with nine tackles. Shaver and senior D.J. Doyen both had seven, and Newlin, Whaley, Bair and senior Logan Hennen each had five. Hennen also had a sack.
Raddatz completed 5 of 7 passes for 47 yards, while Haas completed 3 of 4 for 65 yards. Ellis has two catches for 59 yards, and senior Austin Gordon had two grabs for 21 yards.
The Lakers were held to just 2.6 yards per carry on the ground for the game. Shaver led with 30 yards on seven carries.
Prior Lake is back home Oct. 4 to take on No. 8 St. Michael Alberville at 7 p.m.