Week 5 Recap: Burnsville
Spencer Shaver rushed for 200 yards on 26 carries and two touchdowns as the Prior Lake Lakers defeated Burnsville in the Battle of Savage to reclaim the Dan Patch Trophy 22-20 Sept. 29 at Burnsville High School.
Shaver got the bulk of the touches for the Lakers in Week 5 after spending much of the first half of the season on the defensive side of the ball.
“Spencer has proved he can impact a game both on offense and defense,” Prior Lake head coach Matt Gegenheimer said of Shaver. “He had to carry the workload for us and proved that he can be an every down (running) back.”
The Prior Lake offense got back on track early, scoring on its first possession of the game, the team’s first offensive score since the fourth quarter of Week 2 against Maple Grove.
Two plays after a Burnsville punt, Shaver bounced an inside run to the perimeter and took off down the Laker sideline and into the end zone. However, Prior Lake was called for an illegal block on the play, negating the touchdown but setting the Lakers up in the red zone at the Blaze 18-yard line.
Luckily for the Lakers, the penalty didn’t stop the drive as Shaver scored from 1-yard out four plays later. Shaver also converted the two-point conversion following the score, making it 8-0 Lakers with 4:34 left in the first quarter.
The defense forced a turnover on the next drive when safety Derek Kay intercepted Burnsville quarterback Tommy Tester’s pass, getting the Lakers the ball back at their own 42-yard line.
The Laker offense then put together an 11-play 58-yard drive, capped off with a 6-yard touchdown by running back Nathan Herber. The two-point try by Shaver was unsuccessful, keeping the score at 14-0 with 7:42 to go in the second quarter.
“The fast start was big and something we emphasized this week,” Gegenheimer said. “(It) was nice for our offense to get going.”
The defenses exchanged stops on the next few possessions and the score remained 14-0 at halftime.
The Lakers were marching down the field on the opening drive of the second half before a false start and pair of incompletions had Prior Lake facing a third-and-15 at the Blaze 36-yard line. Laker quarterback Ryan Schipper’s pass intended for wide receiver Tanner Wermerskirchen was intercepted by cornerback/receiver Marcus Shepley and returned 70 yards for a touchdown to cut into the lead and get back in the game.
The score was 14-6 with 8:10 to go in the third quarter after Prior Lake blocked the extra point.
The Lakers answered with a 10-play touchdown drive, finished with a Shaver 1-yard touchdown run and two-point conversion run by Colin O’Connor, extending the lead to 22-6 with 2:44 left in the third quarter.
Perhaps the weirdest play of the game came on the ensuing kickoff when the ball took an odd bounce and stopped near the goal line, allowing the Lakers to tackle the Burnsville returner at his own 2-yard line.
The Blaze offense took a shot on the very next play with Tester connecting a 98-yard touchdown pass to Shepley after the receiver got open behind the Laker defense. Burnsville did not convert on its two-point conversion attempt, putting the score at 22-12 with 2:25 to go in the third quarter.
The teams exchanged stops on the next two possessions.
Burnsville forced a three-and-out early in the fourth quarter and got the ball back at their own 46-yard line.
Seven plays later, running back Tre Thomas scored from 1-yard out and succeeded on the two-point conversion to cut the Prior Lake lead to 22-20 with 5:55 to go in the game.
The Lakers didn’t score but got three first downs and milked the clock on the next drive forcing the Blaze to use all their timeouts before punting the ball with about 1:30 to go.
“Long drives and scoring is huge, but it’s also important to have long drives and flip field position,” Gegenheimer said. “Either way, to control the ball and the clock equals more success.”
The Prior Lake defense forced three incompletions before the Blaze faced a fourth-and-10 on its own 20-yard line.
It looked as if Tester completed a pass for the first down to receiver Levi Gutierrez but the officials felt Tester was across the line of scrimmage when he released the ball, making the play an illegal forward pass, resulting in a loss of down and giving the ball back to the Lakers who could simply take a couple knees to run out the clock and seal the victory.
“It was the most complete game we have played so far,” Gegenheimer said of the team’s performance. “Minus the pick-six and their big pass play, we played pretty well the entire game.”
The win gave the Lakers an 11-10 lead in the all-time series with Burnsville and kept the Dan Patch Trophy with the Lakers, staying undefeated against the Blaze since the two started playing for the trophy in 2010.
The next opponent: Eagan
It will be a big night for the Lakers Oct. 6 when they host Eagan in what is this year’s homecoming game as well as senior night.
The Eagan game will also be “Tackle Cancer Night”, benefiting the Randy Shaver Research and Community Fund.
Prior Lake last faced the Wildcats in a section-crossover game in 2014 on Halloween, a game the Lakers won 20-14 to advance to the state tournament.
This year’s Eagan team (1-4) got off to a slow start, losing its first three games to Minnetonka 42-7, Lakeville South 35-21 and Rosemount 38-7.
The Wildcats have rebounded the last two weeks defeating Shakopee 31-21 in Week 4 and leading Farmington 13-0 in Week 5 before ultimately losing the game 31-16.
Eagan’s offense is led by its passing attack from quarterback Kaden Hanson, who currently ranks second in the Metro South District in passing, completing 75 of 132 passes for 777 yards and seven touchdowns along with two interceptions.
Receiver Jake Tauer also ranked second in the district in receiving with 16 catches for 305 yards. However, Tauer did not record a catch against Farmington.
“Eagan has a big play offense and some athletes who can make plays,” Gegenheimer said. “They have played some teams very tough and we will have to play well to have success on Friday.”
Kickoff against Eagan on Friday is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Dan Patch Stadium.
If you can’t make it to the game, you can watch the online video stream with Ben Tressel and John Wahlstrom.
Follow @plhsfootball, @pl4lstreaming and @pllakers on Twitter for updates.
Be sure to check back next week for a recap of the Eagan game as well as a preview of the Week 7 matchup against Lakeville North.
Taylor Smith can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @taysmith2013.