No drama, no defeats.
A week after withstanding a furious comeback bid, the Spring Lake Park football team dominated start to finish in a 47-7 rout at Benilde-St. Margaret’s Sept. 10, improving to 2-0 on the year.
The Panthers started fast, as Nate Litke returned an interception for a touchdown a minute into the action and Aaron Clausen followed shortly after with a touchdown carry.
Benilde-St. Margaret’s came up with its lone score early in the second quarter to close within 14-7, but the Panthers pushed the margin to 34-7 by halftime on a pair of touchdown runs by Brayden Talso and a pick-six by Peyton Thomsen.
Nick Ojile and Litke added scoring runs in the second half while the Panther defense kept BSM from putting together any sort of challenge.
“Overall, we have played well,” Spring Lake Park head coach John Stewart said. “Defensively we are excited about the effort and improving some tackling. Offensively we are cleaning up some details and starting to get things going. Special teams are making progress, but still need some work to improve on some details.”
In week one, the Panthers defeated Cretin-Derham Hall, new to Class 5A after previously being in 6A, 34-24, fending off the Raiders after they cut a 27-point gap to a field goal in the fourth quarter.
In week two, there would be no such rallies.
“Our effort and execution versus BSM was pretty good,” Stewart said. “Getting two defensive scores was big to help us get and keep the momentum. Knowing that we struggled in the third quarter against CDH, I thought we came out in the third quarter and played well.”
The Panthers have been a fixture among top Class 5A contenders in recent years, with this fall looking to be no exception in a newly realigned and deep Section 6-5A.
“We’ve got some great senior leadership that is helping our younger players see what it takes to be a competitive team,” Stewart said. “So far their drive to improve each week is probably our biggest strength.”
Also in area football action Sept. 10:
Columbia Heights 43, St. Paul Harding/Humboldt 16
Columbia Heights moved to 2-0 with a 43-16 victory over St. Paul Harding/Humboldt.
Jonathon Hackett rushed for 91 yards and a pair of touchdowns, Matt Rockwell threw for scores to Kaleb Lewis and Omari Walton-Hunter while rushing for another, and Saveon Harvey ran for a touchdown as well to lead the Hylander offense.
Jon Heveron, Kalon Webb and Lewis all intercepted passes to slow down the St. Paul Harding/Humboldt attack.
Fridley 28, Minneapolis North 21
Fridley scored a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to rally past Minneapolis North 28-21.
M.J. Newton ran for 240 yards and three touchdowns and Zachary Gotsch rushed for 104 yards and a score to lead the Tigers offensively.
Devin Williams had eight tackles and an interception and Tayjion Lee picked up five tackles and a sack defensively.
Minnetonka 28, Blaine 3
Minnetonka came away with a 28-3 win over visiting Blaine.
Ryan Schweiger put the Bengals ahead 3-0 early on a 35-yard field goal, before the Skippers rallied with a pair of touchdowns to take a 14-3 lead into the half, then added two more third-quarter scores to seal the win.
Jack Johnson had 12 tackles while Jadyn Grant, Henry Morris and Luke Studer each recorded 11 for the Bengal defense.
Maple Grove 56, Totino-Grace 18
Maple Grove defeated Totino-Grace 56-18, with Nick Ruohonen hitting R.J. Spencer on a pair of touchdown passes.