Watching the 5A state-championship game on Friday night was like watching two kids see who can hold their breath the longest. The state title would go to whoever lasted longer, and Wayzata was the first team to gasp for air.
“They just outlasted us,” Wayzata head coach Brad Anderson said. “A lot of the time in the playoffs it comes down to turnovers and who takes advantage of opportunities when they get them.”
Expectedly, most of the game was a defensive battle, with both teams hitting a brick wall of defenders once they worked their way into the red zone. It remained that way until Eden Prarie gambled on fourth down in the fourth quarter with a reverse flea flicker that got them down to the five-yard line. The Eagles scored soon after when running back Andrew Larson took the ball into the end zone, making it difficult for the Trojans to get back in the game.
The scoring began in the second quarter after Eden Prairie pounded the ball down the field and kicked a field goal to go ahead, 3-0. The Eagles kicked another field goal in the third quarter to go up 6-0 over Wayzata heading into the fourth quarter.
The Trojans eventually got on the board in the fourth quarter by kicking a field goal if their own and cutting the Eagle lead to three.
But Eden Prairie broke the game open with some fourth down trickery and an eventual touchdown run by running back Andrew Larson to go ahead for good, 13-3.
Patch.com Player of the Game: Andrew Larson, Eden Prairie Running Back
Larson was used all night long to pick up yards and run clock for the Eden Prairie offense. He carried the ball 33 times for 124 yards, averaging just less than four yards per carry. He also carried the football for the only touchdown of the game late in the fourth quarter, which sealed the win for the Eagles.
What the Trojans Did Well
At times the Trojans ran the ball very well, and running back Antonio Ford found his way into Eden Prairie’s defensive backfield numerous times.
Wayzata's defense also played well throughout the game. Compared to the Eagle’s offensive line, the Wayzata defense was undersized, but the Trojans showed their toughness and speed in punishing the Eden Prairie offense for most of the game.
Where the Trojans Fell Short
They seemed to get receivers open down field but failed to convert on numerous pass attempts. They also turned the ball over at crucial times in the game, and the Eagles were better at converting Trojan turnovers into points.