Dedicating the game to program coaches battling cancer, Eagles pull away for big win
Eden Prairie welcomed Lakeville North to Aerie Stadium on Friday night in an early-season marquee matchup of the top two ranked teams in the state’s big-school class, 6A.
The No. 1 Eagles led 13-0 at the half and used big plays on both sides of the ball to pull away in the second half.
Junior quarterback Cole Kramer threw his fourth touchdown on the evening midway through the third quarter as Jack Tuttle caught the pass down the sideline for a 61-yard score to take a 28-6 lead, 32 seconds after North running back Brian Curtis Jr. completed a 62-yard halfback pass to Ryan Dalrymple for the visitor’s first points.
Not only was it the second home game for the Eagles (2-0) but coach Mike Grant’s legendary father, Bud Grant and John Gruden were in attendance.
Gruden stopped by Eden Prairie as he was in town to work the Monday Night Football broadcast from U.S. Bank Stadium.
The night was also dedicated to four members of the football community in Eden Prairie, three of which are battling illnesses and another father who recently passed away.
Lyle Schutte was on the coaching staff for 23 years and before the game shook the hands of each Eden Prairie player during a pregame ceremony. Bruce Grant, Mike’s brother who is battling cancer and Steve Born. Tim Anderson, father of last year’s captain Danny Anderson, who is a walk-on with the University of Minnesota this season, passed away on Aug. 24.
In addition to Kramer’s four touchdown passes, linebacker, running back and kicker Antonio Montero scored twice in the second half.
Kramer completed touchdown passes to Daejon Wolfe and Will Sather in the first half to build a 13-0 lead into halftime.
Wolfe caught a swing pass from Kramer, sidestepped his way through the secondary for a 57 yard touchdown after Solo Falaniko broke off a 22 yard run to get to midfield to set up the first score of the game.
The possession came after Lakeville North recovered a punt that was touched by Benny Sapp III near the Eagles 40 yard line.
The second quarter didn’t lack action with Eden Prairie linebacker Quintin Matsui intercepting a Brennan Kuebler pass on the Panthers 25 yard line to set up what appeared to be a first down before the ball was knocked free and bounced off the pylon to count as a touchback, Panthers ball on the 20 yard line.
Looking to get the ball back, Montero knocked the ball loose from the Lakeville North ball carrier and junior Caden Fey recovered it.
Eden Prairie went with a goalline formation six yards out before Sather slipped wide left from his spot on the offensive line before Kramer hit him for a 6-yard touchdown pass with 4:51 left in the second quarter.
After trading big passing touchdowns in the third quarter, North’s drive stalled later in the quarter when Eagles senior defensive end Mason Groth brought down Kuebler on third down to force a punt.
Montero went in for his first touchdown run with 59 second remaining in the quarter to lead 34-6. Eden Prairie junior linebacker Collin Penn intercepted a pass with nine seconds left in the quarter.
Montero, Johnson and Falaniko marched the ball behind a standout effort by the offensive line anchored by seniors Joe Schriber and Ryan Smith all game, including the final scoring drive. On third and goal from the seven yard line Johnson reached the one yard line to set up another short-yardage opportunity for Montero. He converted with his second touchdown of the game.
Eden Prairie hits the road for the first time this season with a trip to Prior Lake (1-1) on Friday, Sept. 15. The Lakers lost a low scoring affair at Maple Grove 9-6 on Sept. 8.
Follow Jason Olson on Twitter @SunSportsJason.