Efficient. Balanced. Solid.

Coon Rapids dominated in every phase to build a big first half lead, then sealed the door shut defensively in the second half to capture a 24-12 win in its home opener against Forest Lake Sept. 6.

Jordan Doe opened the scoring with a 17-yard touchdown run, then Coon Rapids doubled its lead to 14-0 by the end of the first quarter on a 40-yard passing connection between Jake Van Hulzen and Avont Shannon.

Coon Rapids stretched its lead to 24-6 by the end of the half, adding a field goal by Alex Findley and a rushing touchdown by Van Hulzen.

“I felt our team came out with a much different mentality than week one,” Coon Rapids head coach Nick Rusin said. “I loved the energy from the very start and the execution on both sides of the football. The boys were playing with confidence and playing as a team. It’s fun to see the potential of this team clicking on both sides of the football.”

Forest Lake managed a score with seven minutes remaining to cut the margin to 24-12, but could draw no closer.

“Although it was a great first half, this game was a great reminder that football is a tale of two halves; but still, very proud of this team and how they started the game,” Rusin said. “We love how our defense is playing so far this season. There is always room for improvement, but they play tough, fast, assignment football. It’s a veteran group of boys who bring it every single play. This is credit to Coach Weber and the defensive coaches who have done a great job with those boys. I felt the defense played extremely well down the stretch, making big stops late in the game. Being able to pressure the QB is a huge benefit for us, especially in those situations. We have all the confidence in the world with our defense in those situations. I am glad they are on our side.”

The Cardinals were coming off of a week one defeat at Class 5A power and last year’s state runner-up St. Thomas Academy. The game evened the Cardinals’ record at 1-1 and also marked the first career win for the team’s first-year head coach.

“It always feels good to get the first win of the season,” Rusin said. “Having it be the first one of my career does make it a little more special, but it’s not about me, it’s about our team. I just was happy for our players, especially our seniors, to win their last home opener. Our players worked extremely hard this week, so it was nice to see the scoreboard turn out in our favor. Hopefully we can use this going forward and continue to improve every day!”

St. Francis 24, Chisago Lakes 14

St. Francis won its home opener 24-14 over Chisago Lakes Sept. 6.

Trevor Patterson was a part of all three Saint touchdowns, running for two scores and throwing for another to Austin Walvatne. Hunter Dustman added a 41-yard field goal.

Centennial 42, Anoka 15

Centennial used a fast start to defeat Anoka 42-15 in the Tornadoes’ home opener Sept. 6.

Centennial jumped out to a 21-0 lead before Anoka got on the board on a 56-yard Dylan Schmidt touchdown run late in the first quarter.

Centennial answered with two more touchdowns in the second quarter to extend its lead to 35-7 at the half.

Anoka cut the lead to 35-15 in the third as Jacob Deutschman found Jameson Madland on a 46-yard touchdown pass, followed by a 2-point run from Cody Lindenberg.

The Cougars countered early in the fourth, though, putting the game out of reach.

Deutschman completed 14-of-21 passes for 192 yards, with Lindenberg on the receiving end of eight throws for 131 yards.

Rogers 13, Andover 0

With Andover driving late in the first half, Rogers scooped up a fumble deep in its own territory and returned it 96 yards for a touchdown, then added one more score in the second half to win a defensive battle 13-0 over the visiting Huskies Sept. 6.

Ethan Kalmes completed 21-of-34 passes for 162 yards for Andover, with Keaton Leukam catching seven for 61 yards.

Jack Sharon made 15 tackles, Kollin Weikel recorded nine stops and Kolton Peterson and Justin Kenning each had a sack.

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