It has been almost a year since Rosemount ended Lakeville South’s 2010 season in the quarterfinals of the 5A Minnesota High School State Football Tournament. The Irish actually beat South twice last season and it is safe to say the Cougars were looking for a little revenge Friday night. Lakeville players that started last season were very vocal about their desire to beat Rosemount this time around, especially the offense, which struggled in both meetings with the Irish last season. Surprisingly, it seemed as though the lingering pain still felt from last season outweighed the fact that the crosstown battle with Lakeville North was only a week away.
South made it no secret that they were looking to put Rosemount away early. On the first play from scrimmage, Lakeville head coach Larry Thompson dialed up a fly route for his speedy wide receiver Trent Bertamus, who was making his 2011 debut Friday. He had missed the first four games due to injury and suspension. The play was a success: quarterback Mitch Leidner hit an open Bertamus in-stride and Lakeville was well into scoring range after just one play. The Cougars came away with just a field goal, the only points either team would muster in the first half.
Rosemount came out the way you would expect on offense in the first half, spearheaded by quarterback Nate Lemoine and runningback Andy Gustafson. The two seniors traded carries in their Wing-T attack, combining for 35 carries and 148 rushing yards for the night. In the first half, the Irish very much had control of the line of scrimmage as well as time of possession, averaging five or six yards per carry. At one point, Rosemount had the ball for what seemed like an eternity in the second quarter. Unfortunately for them, they came up empty at the end of it all and the score remained 3-0 entering the second half.
Leidner and the South offense came out of the halftime locker room a much different team. Seemingly more focused and deliberate, the offense began to work its way down field just as they have all season – this time relying very heavily on the passing game. The Cougars ran the ball just twelve times all game long. Leidner found his favorite targets, Matt Heller and Devon Bzoskie, several times on their first drive, which was ultimately capped off with a one-yard touchdown run by the future Gopher quarterback. After a quick Irish turnover, South was on the move again.
To conclude another successful drive through the air, Bzoskie caught a three-yard touchdown pass to make it a 17-0 game.
Bzoskie finished the game with four receptions for 41 yards. Matt Heller continued his pace as one of the top receivers in Minnesota, finishing the game with 10 catches for 101 yards. Mitch Leidner threw the ball 26 times, completing 16 of them for 195 yards.
The #4 ranked Cougars finished off their revenge win over Rosemount with some strong defensive play in the fourth quarter, holding the Irish without a point to speak for.
The stage is finally set for what should be the most talked about game of the year, as both Lakeville teams enter their matchup this week undefeated at 5-0. North narrowly escaped a weaker Burnsville team Friday, but it is certain they will come out with a renewed focus and energy against their crosstown rival and the team that ended their season in 2010.
Lakeville South and Lakeville North play at 7 PM on Friday, October 7 at Lakeville North High School.
By Luke Sleeper
Luke Sleeper is a contributor to KCHKRadio.net