Lakeville South’s Heller shines in regular season finale win over Burnsville 21 Oct 11

A lot of things have gone wrong for Lakeville South recently. The Cougars had lost two consecutive games by wide margins to Lakeville North and Prior Lake going into Wednesday night’s game against Burnsville. It was certain that South had some issues that needed fixing. Lakeville’s solution: give the football to your best players as much as possible; it worked pretty well. For the first time in South history, head coach Larry Thompson handed over the play-calling duties to offensive assistant coach Kirk Golberg. It was obvious that Golberg and Thompson made a pointed effort to get the ball in star receiver Matt Heller’s hands after having just three receptions in last week’s game versus Prior Lake.

The Cougar offense started out somewhat slowly in the first quarter, failing to make it past mid-field on the first two drives. The offense began to find some success through the air once quarterback Mitch Leidner started targeting Heller consistently, which would be the case for the rest of the game. When South reached the Burnsville 15-yard line, Golberg called for a reverse to Heller, who ran it in seemingly untouched for the first touchdown of the game thanks to a key block by Leidner. Heller found the endzone two more times in the second quarter, each on passes from Leidner for 29 yards and 21 yards respectively.

After struggling to contain the strong running games of North and Prior Lake, the Lakeville defense came into Wednesday night’s game with a little extra focus. Burnsville couldn’t get anything going on the ground all night, getting forced to punt on all first half possessions. Mitch Leidner proved his versatility even more on defense, getting the chance to play a few series at defensive end. The future Gopher quarterback made a tackle and even knocked down a pass from Burnsville quarterback Will Reeger. This was one of only six pass attempts Reeger could get off as Lakeville defenders were in his face all night. Nevin Andreas (2), Dillon Lampert, Tom Peterson, and Bryan McNelis all collected sacks for the Cougars.

Lakeville’s offense didn’t let up in the second half. Leidner continued to find success in the passing game, due to improved play by the offensive line. Just a few minutes into the third quarter, Leidner found Matt Heller once again – this time for 65 yards, making the score 27-0. Heller’s fourth touchdown reception came later in the third quarter on a corner route near the Lakeville sideline, where he juked several Burnsville defenders in the process on the 25-yard score. Heller finished the game with 10 receptions, 210 receiving yards, and five total touchdowns. The five total scores as well as the four touchdown catches are Lakeville South school records.

After receiver Devon Bzoskie caught a 25-yard touchdown, the score was now 43-0. A very late Burnsville touchdown catch from Brian Vanderwoude prevented the Blaze from being shutout. The Lakeville defense held Burnsville to just 68 total yards. Linebacker Eric Heintze led South with 6 tackles. Mitch Leidner had his best passing game of the season, completing 15 of 25 pass attempts for 268 yards and 5 touchdowns. Chris Moore, Austin Britnell, Braden Kaufenberg, and Heller combined for 111 yards on the ground.

Lakeville South (6-2) begins Section 1AAAAA play next Tuesday night as the fifth seed, where they will have to travel down to Rochester to play the #4 Mayo Spartans. The winner of that game will go on to play South Suburban Conference Champion and undefeated Lakeville North on Saturday, Oct. 29. Lakeville South has never lost to a team from Rochester in its 6-year history.

Luke Sleeper is a contributor to

By: Luke Sleeper