For Maple Grove, it’s all about taking it one game at a time. After starting out the season 4-0 and taking the top spot in the Star Tribune Metro Top 10 rankings from Sept. 27, Maple Grove came up against Champlin Park. Head coach Matt Lombardi had his players forget the rankings and focus on their play on the field.
“I think if you ask our team, they realize the level you have to play,” Lombardi said. “They don’t think we’re close to that yet. We have things to work on day-in and day-out.”
The Crimson did live up to their lofty ranking this week and used steady offense throughout the first three quarters against the Rebels on Thursday en route to a 43-14 victory at Maple Grove Senior High School.
For the majority of the game, Maple Grove handled its business. A strong showing from the Maple Grove running game and defense proved to be too much for Champlin Park as the Crimson went out with the 43-14 victory.
It was a tight start from both teams, with Champlin Park answering Maple Grove’s first touchdown just two plays after that game-opening score with an 80-yard run from running back Arthur Russell. Champlin Park recovered the ensuing kickoff and Maple Grove looked for a wake-up call.
A fumble by Maple Grove quarterback Jacob Kilzer on the goal line led to a tackle in the end zone by Jackson Powers and a safety. With Maple Grove back up 9-7, the Crimson looked to gain confidence and their offense showed it. In stride, running back Jordan Olagbaju and Kilzer began to take over.
A combination of 243 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns between Olagbaju and Kilzer handled the game and burned the clock. With little chances for Champlin Park in the second half, it looked too hard to overcome for the away team.
Champlin Park running back Richlu Tudee did break off a 59-yard touchdown run with 2:54 left in the game but it was too little, too late. Maple Grove took the win, 43-14.
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