Eden Prairie Ends Maple Grove's Football Season
Nov 12, 2016 08:34AM ● Published by Doug Erlien
Crimson receiver Teddy Raasch couldn't come down with the pass against the Eagles.
Gallery: Eden Prairie 63 Maple Grove 21 [11 Images] Click any image to expand.
Head Coach Matt Lombardi rallied his team and the student body as he does after every game, win or lose.
“No regrets,” Lombardi shared with the students.
Maple Grove made their fourth straight state tournament appearance and needed to play a near perfect game against the Eagles to advance.
That didn’t happen.
“You play a team like that and we knew that’s what they do. We had six or seven turnovers and after 15-yard gains we’d fumble,” Lombardi said. “I was proud of how we kept after it. You could tell on the field, every kid was giving every ounce of what they had.”
Eden Prairie took advantage of the Maple Grove miscues and jumped out to a 14-0 lead after the Crimson fumbled the first two times they touched the ball. They quickly grabbed momentum back with a pair of first quarter touchdowns of their own to tie the score at the end of the first quarter.
The Eagles, who have won four of the last five state championships, took over from there. Running back Solo Falaniko gashed the Crimson defense running for 247-yards on 11 carries and scoring three touchdowns. In total, Eden Prairie put up nearly 450-yards of total offense in their 63-21 win.
“When you make mistakes against a team that is a state championship caliber team, they make you pay for it,” Lombardi said. “The scoreboard gets like that quickly. It was just one of those games.”
Senior Brad Davison finished the game 16-for-27 for 266-yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also ran for another score.
“He’s meant so much,” Lombardi said. “He’s going to hold every record in the Maple Grove books, but more importantly he’s just an unbelievable leader. Somehow he has enough hours in the day to be there for everything. He’s a throwback, an important person for all sports because a guy who has great opportunities ahead of him still poured his heart and soul into something because he just loved it.”
“I’m proud of our kids,” Lombardi said. “It’s been a really, really good year. This was not by any means our most talented team we’ve ever had at Maple Grove and I thought they battled their hearts out.”