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Defending 4A champ SMB powers past Columbia Heights

By MATT STEICHEN, Special to the Star Tribune, 08/30/19, 8:45PM CDT


The Hylanders held star Jalen Suggs mostly in check but the Wolfpack's defense and young running backs stepped up in a 35-7 victory.

St. Paul Academy/Minnehaha Academy/Blake's Dewayne Givens (34) winds through two defenders on his way to the end zone. Givens scored two touchdowns helping SMB defeat Columbia Heights 35-7 on Friday night. Photo by Cheryl A. Myers, SportsEngine

Some new members of the SMB Wolfpack got to play starring roles for the defending Class 4A champions on Friday against Columbia Heights.

Sophomore Sanjay Redd and freshman Dewayne Givens combined for four rushing touchdowns and the Wolfpack’s revamped defense held the Hylanders scoreless in the second half of a 35-7 victory.

“We lost a senior running back and we knew we had to step up and fill his shoes. The line was blocking really well,” said Redd, who scored his first varsity touchdown from 10 yards out in the second quarter and added a 6-yard score in the third. “It’s just fun to get back on the field with my teammates and be playing football.”

Sanjay Redd

The Hylanders closed to within 14-7 with 21 seconds left in the first half on a 4-yard touchdown lob from Aaron Severson to Spencer Alvarez.

SMB, a co-op program of students from St. Paul Academy, Minnehaha Academy and Blake, responded with three unanswered touchdowns in the second half.

“This was a great starting point for us. We faced some adversity in the first half and our young running backs and young guys on defense really stepped up,” SMB first-year coach Chris Goodwin said. “We’ve got five (defensive) starters back and some of them are in new positions. They played really well.”

SMB senior quarterback Jalen Suggs, the state’s top basketball recruit and one of its top college football prospects, rushed and passed for a combined 10 touchdowns in five post season games last year when he led the Wolfpack to a perfect 13-0 season. He got in the end zone for the first time this season with a 70-yard interception return early in the fourth quarter that gave SMB a 28-7 lead.

SMB defender Trent Finney (87) breaks through the line of scrimmage and finds Columbia Heights quarterback Aaron Severson (7) for a sack. Photo by Cheryl A. Myers, SportsEngine

First report

The SMB Wolfpack began defense of its Class 4A title with a 35-7 road victory Friday at Columbia Heights.

With senior quarterback Jalen Suggs held mostly in check by the Hylanders' defense, SMB -- a co-op program made up of students from St. Paul Academy, Minnehaha Academy and Blake -- leaned on its defense and young running backs. Freshman Dewayne Givens ran for touchdowns in the first and fourth quarters, and in between sophomore Sanjay Redd rushed for two scores.

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