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Edina isn't winning easily, so winning often will just have to do

By JIM PAULSEN, Star Tribune, 10/07/12, 10:12PM CDT


Is it time to believe in Edina?

Edina running back Marley Allison churned for first-half yardage against Holy Angels in September.

Is it time to believe in Edina?

While the Hornets (6-1) have not had a comfortable victory all season -- the average score is just 21-14 -- they've shown the ability to find ways to win, largely by relying on their defense.

Friday's 20-17 victory over Wayzata was proof.

After Wayzata had rallied to take a 17-13 lead in the third quarter, the Edina defense stepped up and held the Trojans in check for the remainder of the game. Wayzata, which lost a Lake Conference game for the first time since 2009, managed less than 100 yards of total offense.

The opportunistic Hornets then got the big play they needed when Marley Allison turned a routine pass from Mark Handberg into a 97-yard fourth-quarter touchdown.

Rugged defense. Playmakers on offense. That's a time-tested recipe for success.

Looks like Edina is no fluke.

Rebels hang on

Champlin Park rode a rollercoaster of emotions in the final minutes of Friday's remarkable 28-27 victory over Blaine.

The Rebels, who led 21-0 at halftime, thought they had won the game 21-19 when Blaine failed on fourth-and-5 with 1:37 left. But a late pass interference flag gave Blaine new life, which the Bengals turned into a go-ahead 33-yard touchdown pass on another fourth-down conversion with 50.4 seconds left.

Champlin Park bounced back spectacularly with a 54-yard touchdown pass from Trevor Garrison to Bryce Marquardt 20 seconds later, retaking the lead, 28-27.

Yet the Rebels were stressed again when Blaine marched to the Champlin Park 27-yard line in the final seconds, benefitting again from penalties. Blaine's Zach Wright nearly made a game-winning 44-yard field goal into the teeth of Friday's wind, but the kick fell inches short of the crossbar.

"I was holding my breath," Garrison said.

Quick slants

• Look out for East Ridge in the Class 5A playoffs. The Raptors are 3-3, but their losses have been by a total of 16 points to Cretin-Derham Hall, Mounds View and Stillwater.

• Hutchinson (6-0, No. 3, 4A) is making a case as the best team in Class 4A after a convincing 36-12 victory over No. 10, 4A Delano. The Tigers have not had a close game all season, with an average margin of victory of 38.2 points


1. Eden Prairie (6-0): The Eagles finish the season at home against Edina and Wayzata.

2. Edina (6-1): Kicker Patrick LeCorre has made 10 field goals, three from beyond 40 yards.

3. Wayzata (5-1): Injuries and a struggling running game are worrisome.

4. Totino-Grace (6-0, Class 5A): A little luck always helps -- a 14-12 victory Friday thanks to missed extra points by Andover.

5. Lakeville North (5-1): Bounced back from its first loss with a solid if unspectacular victory over Burnsville.

6. Osseo (4-2): The record is misleading because of forfeits. On the field, the Orioles are 6-0.

7. Stillwater (5-1): Winning despite Nate Ricci and Nick Anderson battling injuries.

8. Mounds View (5-1): Beat White Bear Lake in one of the metro's more intense rivalries.

9. Prior Lake (5-1): No letdown after beating Lakeville North; scored 48 first-half points against Bloomington Kennedy.

10. Maple Grove (6-0): QB Blake Skaja's impressive passing numbers: 86-for-125, 1,105 yards and 11 TDs.

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