By Bob San
Playing their best offensive game of the season, Maple Grove routed Anoka 41-20 in Northwest Suburban Conference football Friday, Sept. 28.
The Crimson collected over 500 yards in total offense and displayed a balanced attack.
The Crimson threw for 315 yards. Quarterback Blake Skaja completed 16 or 22 passes for 244 yards and had three touchdowns. Receivers Jake Wieneke (174 yards) and Brycen Wojta (133 yards) each had seven catches and even teamed up on a big touchdown pass play.
Maple Grove added 187 yards in rushing. Brian Yasosky had 81 yards on 8 carries and Jack Wallick added 61 yards on 6 rushes.
“The offense played very, very well. By the time our starters came out we threw for 300 yards and ran for 200,” Maple Grove coach Matt Lombardi said. “Offense sometimes takes more time to mesh. It’s our goal to take what defenses give us and you have to do both pass and run. We are playing very well up front and that’s what it all starts. They are starting to believe and I hope they are having fun with it. I think it makes them feel that good things are going to happen.”
Good things happened quickly for the Crimson. On the first play from scrimmage, Maple Grove completely surprised Anoka when Wieneke played the role of the quarterback and tossed a pass to a wide-open Wojta, who galloped 71 yards for a touchdown.
Anoka came back with a score to make it 7-6 but the Crimson exploded for 34 unanswered points to put the game out of reach.
In the second quarter, Tyler Coyne made it 13-6 with a one-yard TD run and Skaja threw a 12-yard TD pass to Wojta to make it 20-7.
The Crimson added three more scores in the third quarter. Yasosky scored on touchdown runs of 30 and 5 yards and Skaja tossed a 75-yard TD pass to Wieneke. Anoka scored twice against the Crimson reserves.
The Crimson starting defense gave up only six points. Emmanual Ehrich led with 11 tackles, Gunnar Ayres had 10, Peder Olson 8, ZBlake Whitecottom 7, and Matt Enders (two sacks) and Grant Perdew each had 6. Sam Franta and Ben Dahl-Maglone each intercepted a pass.
“They still have their moments when they are kind of lackadaisical, but on the whole they are playing very, very well and I am proud of their effort,” Lmobardi said of his D.
The win improved Maple Grove to 5-0 overall and 2-0 and in first place in the North side of the conference. The Crimson next host Centennial Friday, Oct. 5.
“Centennial lost in the last 12 seconds to Champlin Park and beat Anoka by about the same score as we did, so they are formidable,” Lombardi said.