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Lakeville North's win streak goes to three with win against Wayzata

By Ryan Williamson, SportsEngine , 09/28/17, 9:45PM CDT


21 first-half points allowed the Panthers to ease past the Trojans.

Lakeville quarterback Brennan Kuebler (13) finds a hole in the offensive line for one of two rushing touchdowns on Thursday night. The Panthers ran over the Trojans 24-7 at Wayzata High School. Photo by Cheryl Myers, SportsEngine

If you were to base Lakeville North’s performance on Thursday solely based on Panther junior quarterback Brennan Kuebler’s passing numbers, it wouldn’t be pretty.

Outside of a first quarter touchdown pass, Kuebler was 5-for-15 for 89 yards and threw two interceptions.

Thankfully for Lakeville North and Kuebler, the Panthers are fully capable of making up can for a few mistakes. The defense and running game led the way as Lakeville North defeated Wayzata 24-7 at Wayzata High School on Thursday.

For the Panthers (4-1), their success this season has generally started with defense. Outside of a 41-13 loss to Eden Prairie, which is ranked No. 1 in the 6A Coaches’ poll, Lakeville North’s defense has punished the rest of its opponents. Coming into the game, the Panthers had allowed 379 total yards in their three previous victories.

Against the Trojans (1-4), Lakeville North once again showed its ability to shut down nearly any opponent. Wayzata had 108 total yards for the game and rushed for zero yards.

The Panthers’ success can be traced to strong play in the trenches. Junior defensive end Will Mostaert led the way for Lakeville North with six tackles that included one tackle for loss and a sack.

“Having a strong defense like this helps a lot,” Kuebler said. “They’re stopping everyone and it’s giving us more and more opportunities to see the field.”

Taking the ball away has also been a strength for the No. 5-6A Panthers, who picked up two more turnovers in the win.

On offense, Lakeville North found some success in the air despite Kuebler’s pair of interceptions. The junior got his team on the board with an 11-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver RaJa Nelson. The sophomore opened the game with a 65-yard rush to get the Panthers deep into Trojan territory.

Unfortunately for Lakeville North, Nelson left the game with a leg injury. This meant the Panthers’ loaded backfield would have to pick up the slack. The run attack started with Kuebler, who ran for 21 yards and two touchdowns.

“Having the depth we have in the run game is huge,” Lakeville North head coach Brian Vossen said. “If anyone gets dinged up, we are able to have that next man up mentality and continue to succeed.”

Outside of Lakeville North’s loss to Eden Prairie, the Panthers have allowed just one touchdown this season, while the offense has averaged 41.25 points per game with a first-year quarterback. Kuebler has experience surrounding him, starting with his offensive line. The Panthers’ starting center and left guard are both seniors.

“For (Kuebler) a lot of his confidence comes from playing behind such a strong offensive line,” Vossen said. “This is a group that is play really well together and staying strong up front.”

Unfortunately for Wayzata, neither side of the ball has had much to boast about. After starting the season with a thrilling win against Rosemount, the Trojans have now lost four consecutive games while adjusting to life with first-year head coach Lambert Brown.

Though there have been plenty of losses for Wayzata to dwell on, the Trojans can hang their hats on the quality of their opponents. Wayzata has already played ranked teams such as the Panthers, Eden Prairie, Edina and Minnetonka.

“This has been a great learning opportunity for us,” Brown said. “You want to be able to compete with the best and do it the right way. We’re getting to see of the importance of doing things well and not making mistakes.

Lakeville North has faced similarly tough competition, but have seen different results. While looking at his team loading the bus on Thursday, Vossen appeared to have confidence in what is to come for his team.

“It’s great to see how well this team plays together,” Vossen said. “There isn’t really much of an offensive vs. defensive approach to this group. They all want to see each other succeed and right now we’re doing that.”

Lakeville North defender Pete Bercich (84) pushes past the Wayzata offensive line. The Panther defense held the Trojans to just seven points and forced two turnovers in the 24-7 win. Photo by Cheryl Myers, SportsEngine

First Report

Thanks to a strong rushing attack and another staunch defensive performance, Lakeville North defeated Wayzata 24-7 on Thursday at Wayzata High School to give the Panthers their third consecutive win.

Lakeville North (4-1) scored 21 points in the first half thanks to two rushing touchdowns from junior quarterback Brennan Kuebler. The Panthers’ starting quarterback also had a passing touchdown on their first drive, completing a pass to sophomore wide receiver RaJa Nelson.

On defense, Lakeville North allowed the Trojans to score on just one drive. After Wayzata (1-4) recovered a fumble at the Panther 5-yard line, the Trojans cashed in. Wayzata junior quarterback Marco LoPesio threw his first touchdown pass of the season to senior wide receiver Charles Engdahl.

Lakeville North held pat for the rest of the game and forced two Trojan turnovers. Senior linebacker Braden Walsh caught an interception and senior linebacker Nick Spitt recovered a fumble in the victory.

Charles Engdahl (6) pulls down a short pass and lands in the end zone for Wayzata's only touchdown of the night. The Panthers hand a 24-7 homecoming loss to the Trojans in the Metro district matchup. Photo by Cheryl Myers, SportsEngine

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A Lakeville North defender pops the ball loose, ending Wayzata's final scoring drive in the last minute of the contest. Photo by Cheryl Myers, SportsEngine

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