Maple Grove footballers stay perfect with impressive victory over Blaine

Maple Grove’s Adam Brant (10) and Isaac Collins make a stop in the game against Elk River. (Photo courtesy of Rich Moll)

Maple Grove’s Adam Brant (10) and Isaac Collins make a stop in the game against Elk River. (Photo courtesy of Rich Moll)

Maple Grove defenders celebrate Jake Engelken’s 79 yard fumble return for a touchdown against Elk River. The Crimson defense not only is stopping other teams, it also has scored two touchdowns in the last two games. (Photo courtesy of Rich Moll)

Maple Grove defenders celebrate Jake Engelken’s 79 yard fumble return for a touchdown against Elk River. The Crimson defense not only is stopping other teams, it also has scored two touchdowns in the last two games. (Photo courtesy of Rich Moll)

by Bob San

SUN PRESS Newspapers

 

The defense was almost perfect and the offense got four touchdowns from Clark Wieneke as Maple Grove defeated host Blaine last Friday

31-7. The victory improved Maple Grove to 4-0.

“Any time you beat Blaine is a good thing. They have a pretty reputable program and they’ve been to the top of mountain. It’s a program that we respect,” Maple Grove coach Matt Lombardi said.

The Crimson did not show much respect for the Bengals on the field as they dominated the lines of scrimmage and were in control from the get

go.

Maple Grove’s defense scored the game’s first touchdown when defensive lineman Theo Freier intercepted a pass and ran it back 43 yards for a

touchdown.

“That was huge,” Lombardi said. “And a big thrill for Theo.”

Wieneke than made it 13-0 on Maple Grove’s next possession with a 49-yard touchdown run. He went on to add touchdowns on runs of 6, 25

and 26 yards to complete the scoring. Blaine managed just one third-quarter TD pass.

“Other than one drive, the defense played probably as complete a game as they have played all year,” Lombardi said. “They were able to stem the tide. Every time Blaine had something going, the D stemmed the tide.”

Senior linebacker Emmanual Ehrich returned after missing one game because on an injury and anchored the defense with 13 tackles, six for

loss. But he wasn’t alone as a host of other Crimson made big contributions.

“We don’t have stars  but we have a lot of kids who make a lot of plays,” Lombardi said. “We want our defense to be great and be dominant come playoffs time. We are not there yet but we are working to get better every week.”

Offensively, the Crimson continued to display a powerful ground attack. Wieneke finished with 183 yards on 15 carries and Tahi Nomane managed 71 yards on 12 rushes.

“Our offense picked up as the game went on and we ran the ball well again with 280 some yards,” Lombardi said. “It’s good to have Clark back. Tahi is still battling a bad ankle and is toughening it out.”

A healthy Nomane along with Wieneke and power back Tyler Coyne will give Maple Grove a formidable running attack. And Lombardi said

sophomore quarterback Karl Altenburg (98 yards against Blaine) is gaining experience and confidence with each outing.

“He is getting more and more comfortable,” Lombardi said.

Maple Grove next hosts Anoka for homecoming Friday, Sept. 27.

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