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Edina quarterback Mark handberg eluded the tackle of Eden Prairie's Tyler Young in the first half of Friday night's game. Photo: MARLIN LEVISON * email@example.com
First things first: This was no fluke.
Taking history into account, Edina’s 17-6 victory over Eden Prairie Friday might look like an upset. To those who witnessed it, however, it was anything but.
Edina (7-1) was coming off an unexpected victory at Wayzata, enough to earn the Hornets the No. 2 ranking in Class 6A. Few outside of Edina believed the Hornets could knock off another Minnesota football heavyweight. This was Eden Prairie, known for cutting upstarts down to size.
“We know the history,” Edina coach Reed Boltmann said. “Eden Prairie has such a great program and they probably have more talent than we do, so I guess you could call this an upset, but our kids always believed in themselves.”
Edina’s heroes were numerous.
There was receiver Marley Allison doing a little bit of everything: making an incredible first-half touchdown reception to give Edina a 7-6 halftime lead; booming a 64-yard punt in the fourth quarter that rolled dead on the Eden Prairie 1, and making a game-clinching interception to stifle a desperate Eden Prairie comeback attempt.
“Marley was his usual self, all over the place,” Boltmann said.
There was quarterback Mark Handberg, playing with the experienced of a senior, continuously buying time with his feet to find open receivers downfield.
Handberg repeatedly frustrated Eden Prairie’s pass rushers by keeping plays alive on the way to a 22-for-28, 184-yard passing performance.
“We call him Gumby,” Allison said. “He’s tall and he can escape from anything. I love him as the quarterback.’’
Running back Kevin Placide stepped forward, getting better as the game went on, running through arm tackles for 101 yards and a second-half touchdown that made the score 14-6.
Then there was the Edina defensive line, led by fireplug defensive tackle Deon Dorvil. The Hornets got the better of the most physical team in the state, holding Eden Prairie — a team used to exerting its will — to just 121 total yards through the first three quarters.
When Eden Prairie (6-1) did buckle down and put together a fourth-quarter drive, the Hornets’ defensive line came up with its biggest play of the night: dropping Jake Woodring for a 1-yard loss on fourth-and-two from the Edina 9.
“It’s all about belief in ourselves,” Handberg said. “We knew we could beat Wayzata. And we knew we could beat Eden Prairie. This is what it’s all about.”