Motivated Eden Prairie team is next up for Irish
Rosemount is getting better at defending against the run – and just in time, too.
After shutting out Lakeville North 17-0 last Friday, the Irish’s next two games are against teams that are heavily run oriented – Eden Prairie (an away game at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24) and No. 1-ranked Lakeville South (who Rosemount faces at home Oct. 1).
The Irish, 3-0 and ranked fourth in Class 6A last week, made some big plays early and held Lakeville North (1-2) to 170 yards in last week’s victory. Lakeville North did have 120 yards on the ground but never threatened to score.
When asked how successful the Irish have been at run defense this season, coach Jeff Erdmann said, “I don’t know if we would agree we’ve defended the run very well this year. Eagan had almost 200 yards rushing (in Week 1), and Edina in the second half ran the ball well (in Week 2). This is nice to be able to come out and play against a team that is a physical, run-oriented team and shut them out. That’s a great thing for us.”
Rosemount didn’t waste time making a big run-stopping play, holding North to no gain when the Panthers tried to convert fourth and one from their own 29-yard line on their first possession. That led to a 28-yard field goal by Leyton Simmering and a 3-0 Rosemount lead.
Quarterback Vincent Pyne threw a 72-yard touchdown pass to Cedric Wall later in the first quarter. In the second quarter, a 66-yard pass from Pyne to Wall moved the ball to the North 1, and Pyne ran it in from there as the lead grew to 17-0.
Rosemount gained just 77 yards rushing, something Erdmann said will need to improve in the next few weeks. However, “Vincent’s made great decisions on where he’s putting the ball, and as long as we do that and win the turnover battle we should be in games,” Erdmann added.
“We felt confident at the start of the game and came out strong,” Pyne said. “We’re not satisfied yet, but we’re happy with the result tonight.”
Lakeville North left Irish Stadium wondering what to do next to fix an offense that was shut out for the second consecutive week. The Panthers have allowed fewer than 10 points a game but have won just one of their first three.
North switched quarterbacks, going from Jackson Hanson to Seth Johnson, but it didn’t help last week. Hanson is the Panthers’ second-leading rusher. Johnson ran the ball once and threw 15 passes, completing six for 50 yards.
“We prepared for all the QB run stuff, then they switched quarterbacks,” Erdmann said. “That took a lot of the QB run away so we could focus on the backs, and I was pleased with how we adjusted to that.
“We competed. I’m anxious to see if our (defensive backs) came up better in run support. That was something we really wanted to focus on this week.”
North senior Gavyn Schraufnagel rushed for 77 yards on 18 carries and Najee Nelson caught four passes for 35 yards. But Lakeville North crossed midfield only once, and it was for one play before a sack pushed the Panthers back to their own half of the field.
Lakeville North will look to revive its offense when it plays host to Prior Lake at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24. The Lakers are 2-1 after defeating Edina 42-21 last week.
Rosemount will see an Eden Prairie team that likely is anxious to take on the Irish, for a couple of reasons. Eden Prairie (2-1) will be looking to put its 42-7 loss to Lakeville South last week in the past as quickly as possible. The Eagles also were eliminated from the 2019 Class 6A playoffs by Rosemount, which completed a do-or-die two-point conversion pass to win 18-17 in overtime.
In that game, the Irish also blocked a field goal attempt on the last play of the fourth quarter. They also dealt with their communication system going down, which forced them to patch together a conference call on cellphones so the coaches on the sideline could speak with the coaches in the pressbox.
Pyne was asked if he attended that game and responded, “the blocked kick game? Yeah. We have a little history with them and we’re excited for the challenge. They’re a really good team.”