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Eden Prairie has yet to be tested

By JIM PAULSEN, Star Tribune, 09/22/13, 11:31PM CDT


The Eagles have been the most impressive football team at the halfway point of the regular season.

Running back Anthony Anderson has helped Eden Prairie retain its status as a prep football powerhouse this season.

With half of the regular season behind us, let’s give props to some of best of the metro so far:

Best team (big-school division): Eden Prairie. The Eagles are big, physical and have an abundance of playmakers. They have yet to be tested in the second half of any game.

Best team (smaller schools): Hutchinson. After sweating out a season-opening overtime victory over Becker, the Tigers are looking more like the 2012 Class 4A champions with three consecutive comfortable wins.

Best offense: Andover. Quarterback Connor Wilkie combines an accurate arm with veteran savvy, leading the Huskies to an average of 464 yards and 40 points per game.

Best defense: Lakeville North. The Panthers have shut out three of their first four opponents and went into Friday’s shutout of Bloomington Jefferson with 13 sacks.

Biggest surprise (team): Tartan. The Titans won just three games last year but are off to a 4-0 start and have a game-breaker in running back Keenan Bellphant, who has 687 yards and nine touchdowns rushing.

Biggest surprise (player): Osseo quarterback Matt Miedtke. A senior who played sparingly last year, Miedtke has completed 62 percent of his passes for 1,069 yards. He has thrown for more than 300 yards in each of his past two games.

Most valuable player: Wilkie and Minneapolis Washburn running back Jeffery Jones are worthy, but Minnetonka quarterback Nick Rooney gets the nod. He plays with a swagger, and the Skippers follow. Through five games, Rooney has 1,208 yards passing and 13 touchdowns with only one interception.

Metro Top 10

1. Eden Prairie (4-0): After pulling away for a victory over Edina, the Eagles get a week off to prepare for a huge test at Minnetonka.

2. East Ridge (4-0): The Raptors’ depth will be tested by the loss of running back Nick Leach to a torn ACL in his knee.

3. Minnetonka (5-0): Balance on both sides of the ball. The offense averages 35 per game; the defense hasn’t given up a point since Sept. 6

4. Lakeville North (4-0): The Panthers have allowed just 10 total points all year. They can’t lose if the other guys can’t score.

5. Maple Grove (4-0): Last year, the Crimson won through the air. This year, behind RBs Clark Wieneke and Tahi Nomane, Maple Grove is doing it on the ground.

6. Wayzata (2-1): After a week off, the Trojans start the second half of the season at Hopkins on Friday.

7. Andover (4-0): A rushing attack, in the form of Derek McLaughlin (191 yards, three TDs against Elk River), gives opponents more to think about.

8. Rosemount (3-1): The Irish have either led or been tied for all but 10 minutes, 14 seconds of the season.

9. Osseo (3-1): The Orioles play host to Andover on Friday in the biggest Northwest Suburban West game to date.

10. Totino-Grace (3-1): Kez Flomo ran for 234 yards and three TDs as the Eagles got back on the winning track with a victory over Park Center.

Spotlight game

The Star Tribune Spotlight game this week will be Andover at Osseo, a game pitting two teams atop the Northwest Suburban West.

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