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Eden Prairie pulls away from Shakopee in second half

The Eagles scored three straight touchdowns to build a 35-14 lead
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The No. 1 Eden Prairie Eagles (4-0) defeated the No. 6 Shakopee Sabers (3-1) 42-28 Friday at Eden Prairie High School.

Each teams traded touchdowns through much of the first half. The Eagles converted with a Liam Berndt touchdown run with fewer than 30 seconds to go in the second quarter to take a 21-14 into halftime.

The Eagles momentum carried over in the second half as they got a quick score after forcing a three-and-out to take a 28-14 lead. 

Eden Prairie added another touchdown midway through the fourth quarter to take a commanding 35-14 lead. 

Shakopee fought back by adding a touchdown of its own, but a crucial fumble cost the Sabers a chance at getting back into the game. Eden Prairie added another touchdown late as the Eagled held on to win, 42-28.

Here are three takeaways from the game:

Double pass kickstarts the Eagles' offense

The Shakopee defense held its own in the early stages of the first quarter. The Sabers were able to force the only punt of the half after stuffing the potent Eagles rushing attack on the first drive.

On the cusp of another big stand, the Eden Prairie offense had to do something they rarely do: pass the football. The Eagles would convert on a beautiful double pass from Josh Kelly to Luka Ratkovich to even the game at seven 

“Honestly, it was just really cool seeing the ball in the air and come towards me” Ratkovich said. 

The play would result in a 35-yard touchdown, the Eagles longest all year. 

Head coach Mike Grant added: “We've had that in the playbook all year, It's just you have to find the right time to use it. They were being super aggressive in the secondary so we thought we could pull it off.” 

The play itself would stand as the only touchdown through the air in the entire game by both teams.

Back to the basics for the Eagles

Having a couple running backs a team can cycle in and out is a huge luxury for any team, and Eden Prairie has four of them. 

Four different eagles ran for touchdowns tonight as Shakopee had no answer for the Eagles run game. 

“We’re really fortunate to have multiple good running backs, but we're trying to keep them healthy. We don't want to have to give one of them the ball 25 times a game,” Grant said. 

Liam Berndt was the leader of the backs as he had a game high two touchdowns, both in the second quarter. Berndt was able to punch it in the end zone late in the first half to give the Eagles a 21-14 lead into the break.

Shakopee stays in it till the end

It's easy to pack things in when you're down 35-14 to the number one team in the state, but the Sabers fought till the end. The Sabers drove down the field late in the fourth, and Bradley Hanson punched it in to make it a two score game. 

Shakopee recovered the onside kick, but just two plays later, an attempted pitch play became a Saber turnover. When asked about how his defense performed, Grant said, “inconsistent. There were times where we looked great, and there were times we let up big plays, we just have to get better on defense.”

The Sabers will look to get back on track next Friday as they'll take on Minnetonka at home. The Eagles will look to remain perfect on the year as they'll travel to Wayzata.


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