It’s a well-traveled path for those familiar with Eden Prairie football.
The bigger, stronger, more physical team slowly grinds on its opponent until the other guys break.
Only this time, it was Eden Prairie that was being broken.
Lakeville North, leaning on its massive offensive front and a relentlessly aggressive defense, out-Eden Prairied Eden Prairie for a 14-0 victory.
The victory marks the first time Lakeville North defeated the west-metro powerhouse in school history, which dates to 2005, when Lakeville split into two high schools.
“We kept reminding our players to just be who we are and trust that who we are was good enough,” Lakeville North coach Brian Vossen said. “We’re built to wear and tear on other teams.”
By remaining steadfast in its approach and true to its character, Lakeville North proved plenty good enough. The Panthers ran a steady diet of hard-nosed running back Brian Curtis Jr. at the Eagles, interspersed with an occasional burst of speed from junior Raja Nelson. Curtis ran 27 times for 102 yards and scored both Lakeville North touchdowns.
“They outweigh us 80 pounds a guy, literally,” said Eden Prairie coach Mike Grant, exaggerating just slightly. “Tip your hat to Lakeville, they pounded and pounded and that’s what I would do, too, if I had that team.”
Eden Prairie moved the ball well in the first half, twice getting into the Lakeville North red zone, only to come up empty on two missed field goal attempts. Lakeville North, meanwhile, had just 53 yards of offense in the half, which ended 0-0.
The game swung Lakeville North’s way on the first offensive play of the second half. Eden Prairie quarterback Cole Kramer’s long pass down the middle of the field was intercepted by Lakeville North cornerback Erik Weckman, who returned it to the Eden Prairie 10. Two plays later, Curtis squirted through from 8 yards out for a 7-0 Panthers lead.
They doubled their margin five minutes later on their next possession. Curtis scored again, this time on a 7-yard run to cap Lakeville North’s best drive of the night — 52 yards in eight plays.
Eden Prairie moved the ball fitfully thereafter, picking up a first down or two but never generating any momentum. Lakeville North’s defense harassed Kramer throughout the second half. He completed 12 of 27 passes for 125 yards in the game but was just 4-for-16 for 22 yards after halftime.
The last time Eden Prairie lost a game was in the 2016 Prep Bowl to Totino-Grace. The Eagles had not been shut out since losing to Wayzata 16-0 on Oct. 17, 2012.
“We were able to lock them down the whole entire game,” Lake- ville North defensive lineman Will Mostaert said. “We got sacks, tackles, picks, whatever we needed to do. It was just a perfect game for our defense.”