By Luke Sleeper
Unlike last week’s game, the Lakeville South offense came out firing on all cylinders in the first half against Eastview on Friday night. But it was the defense that kick-started the Cougar attack early in the first quarter. Linebacker Nevin Andreas recovered a timely fumble in the midst of a long Eastview drive that had brought them deep into South territory. It was then that quarterback Mitch Leidner and South’s offense took over the first half.
Several plays after the fumble recovery, Leidner found his favorite target Matt Heller for a fifty-plus yard reception. This was the first of many big connections to Heller, who finished the night with six catches and 118 yards, including the game’s first touchdown. Leidner, while rolling out to his left, lofted a perfect pass into the hands of a diving Heller to make the score 7-0. As a young patron remarked after the play, “it looked like a play straight out of Madden.”
South’s defense stifled a normally strong Eastview offensive attack for nearly the entire game Friday.
The Lightning spent most of their night in passing formations, which is rather uncharacteristic of a team that typically wins with a power running game. Eastview quarterback Ryan Reeger never looked entirely comfortable in the pocket as Lakeville defensive end Brandon Meek led what was a strong Cougar pass rush throughout the game.
In the second quarter, Leidner continued to find success in the passing game through rollouts and play action. Heller caught his second touchdown on the far sideline at about the six yard line, having to make several Eastview defenders miss en route to the score. Lakeville’s third touchdown of the half came after Leidner hit senior wide receiver Devon Bzoskie on a 52-yard strike down the middle of the field. The future Gopher finished the night completing 14 out of 22 pass attempts for 262 yards and three touchdowns.
After finding the endzone early in the second half on a Chris Moore touchdown run, Lakeville South was unable to score the rest of the game. Eastview scored its first points of the contest in the third quarter on a 16-yard touchdown pass from Reeger to receiver Kenyon Phillips. Another late score from the Lightning made the score 28-14, where it would stay for the remainder of the game.
Eastview drops to 0-2 for the season, losing two consecutive weeks to opponents from Lakeville. The #4 ranked Cougars remain unbeaten at 2-0; their next game is at home against Apple Valley on September 16.
Luke Sleeper is a regular contributor to kchkradio.net