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Eden Prairie comes up biggest

By Star Tribune, 11/23/12, 9:45PM CST


Eagles defeat Lakeville North 28-7 to win first Class 6A title for state's largest schools

Dan Fisher pays a high price as the wrecking ball in Eden Prairie’s demolition team offense.

Asked about maladies that kept him out of 3½ games this season — including both of Eden Prairie’s losses — Fisher said he suffered a concussion.

Asked about a rumored sore hip pointer, he responded, “Oh, I had that, too,” with a laugh. “I get pounded on.”

Fisher did the pounding Friday as Eden Prairie routed Lakeville North 28-7 to win the inaugural Class 6A Prep Bowl title and its eighth big-school crown overall. Fisher carried 31 times for 148 of the Eagles’ 309 rushing yards and scored once.

The 6-foot, 205-pound Fisher, a junior who resembles a guard carrying the football, gave credit to the boys up front.

“The offensive line is getting it done by absolutely destroying their guy,” Fisher said. “They set the tempo for the team and the offense in general.”

Center Tony Yost said the feeling was mutual. “Dan brings the confidence back to the offense with the sheer power he has,” Yost said.

Power football keyed the Eagles’ game-changing second-quarter drive. From their 4, the Eagles went 96 yards on 14 plays — all runs. Fisher had eight carries for 44 yards as Eden Prairie held the ball for 6 minutes and 21 seconds.

The drive “kind of deflated them and that was the turning point when we knew we could finish this game,” running back Jacob Woodring said.

The signature drive was mindful of 16-play touchdown drives in recent games against Minnetonka and Wayzata. Eden Prairie held the ball almost twice as long as Lakeville North, going 12-for-15 on third-down conversion attempts.

Trailing 13-0 to start the second half, the Panthers desperately needed a spark. Instead, they punted on their first possession. Eden Prairie countered with a nine-play, 52 yard drive capped by a 5-yard Woodring scoring run to build a 21-0 lead.

No. 7 Eden Prairie (11-2) became the first team to repeat as big-school champion since the 2006 and 2007 Eden Prairie squads.

No. 4 Lakeville North (11-2) was aiming to capture its first state championship since united Lakeville won in 2003. The school split into North and South in 2005.

Media speculation swirled Friday about whether Grant coached his final game at Eden Prairie. Earlier in the week Grant acknowledged interest in replacing retired St. John’s University coach John Gagliardi. Grant, son of former Vikings coach Bud Grant, was a former Johnnies player and coach.

Players said Grant did not discuss anything with them and were motivated only by the chance to win the program’s eighth state title.

“It wasn’t really on our minds,” Fisher said. “It certainly would stink if he leaves but we knew tonight was our night to come out and play hard.”

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