Ray Betton knows how fine the line can be between winning and losing. Which is why the Holy Angels football coach feels pretty good about the Stars' undefeated start, despite the fact that they nearly relinquished a big lead in a 35-33 victory over winless Chanhassen on Friday.
The Stars had leads of 21-0 and 28-7 in the first half but needed a failed two-point conversion and a missed field goal as time expired to hold off the Storm.
"We always tell our guys to play a full 48 minutes," Betton said. "A game isn't over until it's over. [Chanhassen] wasn't a true 0-3 team. They had some close losses. We had our hands full."
At 4-0, Holy Angels is off to its best start since the 1990s. Betton said that the difference between this year and 2010, when the Stars lost their first three games, is not that big.
"Last year, we could have been 4-0 if a couple of things had gone our way," he said. "We shot ourselves in the foot a lot. But since the start of the season, the coaches have talked about pride and doing the little things and closing out a game. We're learning how to win."
Tornadoes destroy Blaine
The 50th meeting between Blaine and Anoka was certainly notable, but how memorable it will prove to be depends on which team is remembering.
One week after losing by 23 to No. 2, Class 5A Wayzata, Anoka cranked up the offense and walloped No. 6, 5A Blaine 59-32.
The Tornadoes jumped out to a 21-7 first-quarter lead and put any thoughts of a Blaine comeback to rest in the third quarter, outscoring the Bengals 31-7.
"You have to get a couple of breaks for things to go like that," Anoka coach Jeff Buerkle said. "If we don't get a couple of fumbles, it's a three-point game."
Buerkle did point out that the key was Anoka's rushing attack, which piled up 398 yards. Blaine had held Champlin Park's star tailback Michael Sales to just 43 yards rushing in the previous week.
"Our offensive line played great," he said. "And we have three running backs. You can't just key on one. If you take away our fullback, we have two halfbacks that can hurt you."
Anoka had not beaten Blaine since 2007 and still trails in the series 29-21.
For the second consecutive season, St. Francis' undefeated start to the season was ended by Irondale in Week 4. The Saints led 13-7 at halftime -- the first time they've led at halftime all season -- but failed to score in the second half and fell 20-13.
Irondale's defense deserves much of the credit, for holding St. Francis' rushing attack, which had been averaging 300 yards per game, to 163 yards on 22 carries.
• Bemidji sent a message that it is for real with a 21-7 victory at Brainerd. It was Brainerd's first home loss since 2006, ending a string of 22 consecutive victories.
• Mankato West is crazy good. The Scarlets routed previously undefeated Faribault 63-14 Friday and are averaging 57.5 points per game.
• Rochester Lourdes became the first No. 1-ranked team in the state to lose, falling to Stewartville 21-14. The defending Class 3A state champs had their 17-game winning streak broken.
• Detroit Lakes coach Flint Motschenbacher won his 100th career game Friday when the Lakers beat Staples-Motley 40-13.