Loss drops team to 2-3
by Nick Clark
Sun POST Newspapers
The most surprising team in Northwest Suburban Conference football so far this fall played a visit to Champlin Park for the Rebels homecoming Sept. 27, where Centennial once again proved they are legitimately among the contenders for a league title five weeks into the year.
The visiting Cougars amassed 457 rushing yards, which included 100-yard plus performances form both Tucker Trettel (184) and Tyler Iaquinto (119), in delivering the Rebels a 35-12 defeat last Friday night.
That output, which came almost entirely after the Rebels had taken an early 6-0 lead on Datrice Mulsumo’s sixth touchdown in two games, was more than enough for a Centennial defense that has now allowed just 19 points in the last four weeks.
Not-so-coincidently, the Cougars have ripped off four straight victories in that stretch, answering a 21-6 Week 1 loss to Osseo with a 4-1 record heading into a Week 6 homecoming game of their own vs. undefeated Maple Grove (5-0) at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4.
“They are a really good football team,” admitted Champlin Park head coach Mike Korton, whose team fell to 2-3 with the loss. “I talked to their coaches before the game and they tried to downplay it, but they come off the ball as well as anyone we’ve played, and they played hard.”
The Rebels had a chance to make a move early, when with the wind at their back, Champlin Park drove the ball to the Centennial 10-yard line before Mulsumo dropped his first touch of the game to turn the ball over.
The Cougars would be forced to punt after then however, and Champlin Park went right back to work with an 11-play drive that ended with Mulsumo running in from three yards out to put the Rebels up 6-0 with 3:33 to play in the opening quarter.
The lead would last until the midway point of the second when Centennial went ahead 7-6 on a 30-yard run from Iaquinto. Trettel added a 4-yard touchdown run a short while later to give the Cougars a 14-6 lead at the half.
“We were right there,” said Korton. “I thought if we could have put that first one in to get to two scores that would have been huge for us, but then they widened out their linebackers and ran through underneath. We weren’t picking them up, and we just didn’t really do much at all the rest of the night.”
Champlin Park isn’t the first team to utter that type of phrase this fall. The Cougars entered the game on the heals of consecutive shutouts of Armstrong and then Anoka; a pair of victories that followed a 26-7 win in Elk River Sept. 6.
Their rise has gone largely unnoticed, expect for at Champlin Park.
The Rebels beat Centennial twice a year ago. The first came on a last second touchdown, and the latter ended the Cougars season in the section playoffs.
Their incentives were obvious. More so, the defense lived up to its billing, and the ground game was relentless.
Centennial had padded its lead to 28-6 with a touchdown in the third quarter and then another one early in the third. Then, with 8:23 to play, Trettel took a handoff, dashed to his right and carried it 75-yards to put the game away.
Champlin Park would add a late touchdown on a 39-yard run from Jusias Kalis, but it would mean little.
“We have a lot of work to do,” said Korton, who will take his team to Blaine (3-2) for a 7 p.m. kick-off Friday, Oct. 4. “I knew this was going to be tough tonight, and it was. All we can do is regroup and get ready to come back and play next week.”
Contact Nick Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org