The Prior Lake football team was hoping to end its season Nov. 20 with a big upset.
And for three quarters, the Lakers were even with No. 2-ranked Eden Prairie in the second round of the Class 6A playoffs. But the Eagles won the final 12 minutes with two touchdowns to secure a 21-7 victory.
Prior Lake opened the playoffs Nov. 17 with a 44-0 home win over Roseville, getting 105 yards rushing and a touchdown from senior Tyler Shaver.
It was the last playoff game for both Prior Lake and Eden Prairie due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. Tim Walz announced a four-week shutdown Nov. 18 for all youth and high school sports across the state (Nov. 21 to Dec. 18).
So the gridiron playoffs ended for all classes Nov. 20 — win or lose.
It’s the third straight year the Lakers have lost in the second round of playoffs, one victory shy of qualifying for state, even though there weren’t state tournaments for any sport this fall.
It’s also the third year in a row that Prior Lake has finished the season with a .500 record, finishing 4-4 overall. The team ended up 5-5 the previous two seasons.
Last year, Prior Lake lost 16-7 at Champlin Park in the second round of postseason play and fell 34-7 at Blaine the year before.
The loss to Eden Prairie was the 17th straight road defeat for Prior Lake in the playoffs since joining the top class in 2003. The Lakers have never won a postseason game away from home as a big-school program. They are 0-13 on the other opponents’ home field and 0-4 at neutral sites.
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.
In the regular season, Eden Prairie rolled over the Lakers 35-7 back on Nov. 6.
In the rematch, both teams played to a scoreless first half. Eden Prairie scored 6:14 into the third quarter but the Lakers answered that touchdown on their next possession.
Junior quarterback Kyle Haas found senior Jacob Anderson on a 11-yard scoring strike with 2:39 left to play before the final quarter.
In the fourth, Eden Prairie scored on two runs inside the 10-yard line to put the Lakers away.
In beating Roseville, Prior Lake had six touchdowns from six different players. Haas threw scoring strikes of 5 and 31 yards to Anderson and senior Kyle McCullough, respectively, and he also had a 3-yard scoring run of his own.
Senior Cam Miller and Shaver had scoring runs of 1 and 52 yards, respectively, in the first half as the Lakers led 30-0 at the break.
Prior Lake’s sixth touchdown came late in the third quarter when senior Preston Swartz recovered a fumble in the end zone.
The Lakers rushed for 207 total yards. Sophomore Joseph Krouse had 86 yards on the ground on nine carries, while Miller had 55 yards and 10 rushes.
Senior Tanner Newlin and juniors Drew Johnson and Cole Edwards each had seven tackles to lead Prior Lake’s defense. Senior Dustan Green had an interception.
The Lakers’ other losses this fall were No. 1 Lakeville South and to No. 3 St. Michael-Albertville, losing 49-35 to the Cougars at home back on Oct. 23 and 43-37 to the Knights on the road Oct. 30.