Nick Larson

Nick Larson looks for an opening on a kickoff return in No. 6 Prior Lake's 28-13 home win over Rosemount Aug. 29 in the season opener.

The Prior Lake football team hopes to continue its momentum against rival Shakopee.

The No. 6-ranked Lakers take on the Sabers on the road Sept. 6 at 7 p.m. Both teams are coming off solid wins in their openers.

Prior Lake scored 28 points in the second half, including 21 in the fourth quarter, en route to a 28-13 home victory over Rosemount. The Sabers scored 35 points after the break in a 42-0 win Shakopee.

"Shakopee has some athletes," Lakers coach Matt Gegenheimer said. "They have a new offensive scheme, which can be challenging.  Shakopee always plays us tough, so we will have to be ready to go."

In the win over Rosemount, Prior Lake’s defense was stout all game, getting three interceptions and holding Irish receiver Jonathan Mann to just one catch for 12 yards.

Mann is considered one of the top receivers in the state and has verbally committed to the University of Minnesota, but he couldn’t break free from the Lakers’ secondary.

Seniors Alex Gordon and Will Jones and junior Tanner Newlin each had interceptions. Senior safety Dylan Bair was all over the field in coverage, as were senior linebackers Sam Emmerich and D.J. Doyen.

“We knew they had some explosive offensive players, and our secondary did a good job of taking away big plays for them,” Gegenheimer said. “Overall, I thought the defense played fast all night. Getting four turnovers the first game was huge.

“It was great to see our conditioning was good and we were able to take the game over in the second half,” Gegenheimer added.

Prior Lake started slow on offense, trailing 6-0 at the break. The Lakers’ defense held Rosemount to two field goals in the first half after the Irish had the ball deep into Prior Lake territory three times.

With less than a minute to play, senior Parker Ellis hauled in a 45-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Nate Raddatz. A holding penalty negated the score, but it was a sign of things to come for the Lakers.

“We could feel the tide turning right before half,” Gegenheimer said. “We could tell they were starting to get tired.

“Our offense played well in the second half and executed well,” Gegenheimer added. “These guys are getting more comfortable in the new scheme and will continue to improve each week.”

Prior Lake took a 7-6 lead on junior Cam Miller’s 6-yard scoring run in the third quarter. Emmerich scored on an 8-yard run early in the fourth quarter to put the Lakers up 14-6.

Junior Tyler Shaver made it 21-6 with a 2-yard touchdown run before Raddatz capped off the Lakers’ scoring by going 20 yards for a score with 3:59 to play.

The Irish scored on a 75-yard touchdown pass with 3:36 remaining — the only breakdown the Lakers had in the secondary all game. The Irish recovered the ensuing onside kick, but Prior Lake forced another turnover, which sealed the win.

Raddatz completed 11 of 15 passes for 65 yards. Shaver led the Lakers on the ground with 14 carries for 54 yards, and Miller had 40 yards on 14 carries. Prior Lake rushed for 205 total yards.

Shaver also led the team with four receptions for 22 yards. Junior Jake Anderson had three catches for 23, and Ellis had two grabs for 14 yards.

Senior Blake Whaley led the Lakers’ defensive line with a pair of sacks, adding six tackles. Rosemount had just 34 yards rushing in the game on 24 carries.

Doyen and Emmerich both led in tackles with nine, Gordon had six, and Jones and senior Carter Effertz each had four.

In Week 3 (Sept. 13), the Lakers will return home to take on No. 4 Wayzata at 7 p.m.

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.

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