There wasn’t a need for an extra jolt of adrenaline.
Playing a section foe, in just the season’s second game, a rivalry matchup to boot – there was plenty of excitement to go around already.
But it certainly didn’t hurt.
After Irondale’s opening drive of the game quickly stalled, Spring Lake Park’s Jacob Fritz broke through the line and blocked the Knights’ ensuing punt, scooping and scoring a touchdown that set in motion a 34-7 rout for the visiting Panthers Sept. 6.
“Blocking the punt on the first series was a huge momentum boost,” Spring Lake Park head coach John Stewart said. “Jacob Fritz made a great play. There was a little bobble on the snap and Fritz was able to get by and get the block; it was an extra bonus that he was able to scoop and score after the block.”
Spring Lake Park extended its lead to 12-0 after the first quarter and 27-0 by halftime. The teams traded touchdowns in the fourth quarter, long after the outcome had been decided, as the Panthers evened their record at 1-1 after falling in week one at Robbinsdale Armstrong.
“We played much more disciplined and tough in game two,” Stewart said. “Our defense really came to play, they made a number of huge plays throughout the night. Offensively we were able to get our run game going and hit a few big passes. Special teams were solid with the blocked punt and good coverage from our kickoff team. All in all the coaching staff thought we made a big improvement from week one to week two, and now we need to take another step headed into the Coon Rapids game.”
Henry Dennis rushed 10 times for 113 yards and a touchdown on the night, with Zack Dunbar running for 42 yards and Brian Orellana adding 28 yards and a score.
Dunbar also completed all three of his passes to Kaleb Skelly for 100 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensively, Blaine Cooper and Joey Sorenson each had 14 tackles, Darius Robinson had 10 tackles, Nick Wetzel made eight stops and Adam Clausen collected seven tackles and a fumble recovery.
Kicker Raul Soloro made two field goals and two extra points.
With the win, Spring Lake Park holds onto The Block, the traveling trophy between the two rivals.
“The Irondale game and playing for The Block is special every year,” Stewart said. “It is a fun rivalry and the excitement that surrounds the game is part of what makes high school football so great. Getting a win was awesome.”