If you liked hard-nosed defensive football, Maple Grove High School Stadium was the place to be Nov. 1 for a state Class 6A first-round playoff game.
Minnetonka gave everything it had in an attempt to knock off unbeaten Maple Grove, but the Skippers lost the defensive struggle 14-9. The Crimson improved their record to 10-0 while Minnetonka finished its season with a 6-4 record.
Last season, Minnetonka relied on strong defensive efforts to beat the Crimson 17-3 in the playoffs. But the Skippers couldn’t pull out a victory this time around in their bid for a spot in the state quarterfinals.
“Our defense developed well throughout the season,” said Minnetonka head coach Dave Nelson. “I thought we played well enough to win Friday’s game.
“But we didn’t capitalize on the scoring opportunities we did get. Maple Grove’s backs ran hard against us.”
Minnetonka and Maple Grove battled through a scoreless first quarter before the Crimson’s Clark Wieneke scored on a 1-yard run in the second quarter. Maple Grove kicked the extra point for a 7-0 lead.
Minnetonka put points on the scoreboard in the third quarter when Perry Smith kicked a 25-yard field goal to cut the deficit to four points (7-3).
Maple Grove increased its lead to 14-3 in the fourth quarter on a 5-yard scoring run by Isaac Collins.
Minnetonka’s Ian Cote provided a 2-yard touchdown run later in the quarter. The Skippers’ conversion pass attempt failed leaving Maple Grove with a 14-9 lead.
Minnetonka had one more scoring opportunity with 2 minutes, 18 seconds remaining in regulation thanks to a fumble that the Skippers recovered at the Crimson 44-yard line. But Minnetonka was forced to turn over the ball after four offensive plays and Maple Grove was able to preserve its hard-fought victory.
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