Despite finishing 4-4 in the regular season a year ago, Orono flipped the script in the playoffs and did something other teams couldn’t when it defeated Benilde-St. Margaret’s.
The Red Knights, the reigning Suburban Red subdistrict champions, went a perfect 8-0 -- including 5-0 in league play -- last season before being bounced by the Spartans 19-15 in the Class 4A, Section 5 playoffs.
The victory sent the Spartans to the section title game, where they lost to Holy Angels 35-14. However, Orono hopes the taste of beating its previously undefeated league foe is something that the team carries into this year’s regular-season matchup.
Orono (0-1) and Benilde-St Margaret’s (0-1) both lost in Week 1 and hope to gain ground early in the competitive Suburban Red standings with a victory on Friday, and weight of the game makes it a perfect selection as our featured Top Game of the Week.
The Spartans offense often goes as senior quarterback Nick Prentice goes. He is the program's leader with 245 career completions, 3,894 passing yards and 26 passing touchdowns, and he averaged 241.6 passing yards in Orono's six wins compared to just 141.0 passing yards in its five losses a year ago -- including 155 yards on 12 of 29 passing in a 14-0 regular-season loss to the Red Knights. In the playoff victory, he 23 of 38 passes for 285 yards and two touchdowns.
Last year, Benilde-St. Margaret's had a balanced attack averaging 168.5 passing yards and 223.8 rushing yards per game. A different offense showed up Aug. 30, however, when the Red Knights suffered a 23-9 season-opening loss to Waconia, with Benilde-St. Margaret’s compiling just 92 yards of total offense.
Junior quarterback Nick Peterson looks to bounce back after completing just five of 16 passes for 50 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions in Week 1.