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Posted by Guest (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 11/25/2011 10:31:49 PM

By Luke Sleeper

Going into Friday’s 5A state title game, many believed that Wayzata’s speed on defense would once again be too much for Eden Prairie. In their regular-season matchup on Oct. 19, the Trojans shut out their Lake Conference rival 9-0, kicking three field goals on their way to victory.

Defense was again the story in the championship rematch. The physicality of the Eagle defense disrupted a typically powerful Wayzata passing attack. Trojans quarterback Nick Martin rarely looked comfortable in the pocket, completing only 44 percent of his passes. The most controversial of those passes occurred late in the second quarter when a deep jump ball appeared to be taken in by Jeff Borchardt as he fought for possession with Eden Prairie defender Matt Knoff. The officials ruled in favor of the Eagles, preventing Wayzata from a prime scoring opportunity on the Eden Prairie 2-yard line.

The speed of Wayzata’s defense was as advertised. Early on, the Trojans were very effective at hitting Eagles star running back Andrew Larson in the backfield, holding him to just 35 yards in a first half that ended with the Eagles holding a 3-0 lead.

In the third quarter, Larson’s luck began to change. Suddenly, the senior running back was beginning to make large gains, breaking into the second level past the tough Wayzata front seven.

“I have to give credit to my offensive line,” Larson said. “They started making huge holes for me to run through and the coaches reminded me to keep running downhill and not so much side to side.”

Another Eden Prairie field goal made the score 6-0. Soon after, Martin and the Wayzata passing game began heating up. Several big plays through the air found the Trojans inside the Eden Prairie 20. Then the defense of Eden Prairie stepped up once again. A big third-down sack forced Wayzata to kick a field goal. On the next Trojans offensive drive, Eagles defensive end Melvin DeSouza forced and recovered a fumble from Martin, putting Eden Prairie in great position to make a go-ahead score.

The Wayzata defense responded, though, holding the Eagles on three plays to force a fourth and 14. The next play proved to be the deciding factor in the game.

“It was my last play on a 120-play sheet,” Eden Prairie coach Mike Grant admitted. “We put it in specifically for this game and sure enough we needed it.”

The play is called “Chuck Norris,” a reverse flea-flicker that was pitched back to quarterback Grant Schaeffer, who found an open Jake Woodring 25 yards downfield. The gutsy fourth-down call led to a 10-yard touchdown run by Larson. The touchdown was the first and only scored between the teams in their two games this year, after 93 minutes and 15 seconds without one.

The Trojans attempted a comeback drive, only to be stopped yet again by a turnover. Eden Prairie’s Logan Duitsman intercepted a Martin pass in the end zone, giving the Eagles the chance to run out the clock on their way to a seventh Prep Bowl title.

--Luke Sleeper is a journalism student at the University of Minnesota


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