Lakeville South head coach Larry Thompson was confused as to why he and his team had to travel down to Rochester on Tuesday night. The Cougars, at 6-2, were seeded fifth in section 1AAAAA behind a pair their first round opponent, #4 Rochester Mayo (6-2), whose season schedule was not of the same caliber as South’s. Nonetheless, Lakeville came into Tuesday’s game with a focused intensity as a rematch with crosstown rival and section seed #1 Lakeville North was looming.
Cougar wide receiver/defensive back Trent Bertamus entered the 2011 season expecting to be one of South’s biggest impact players. An injured hamstring and a behavioral suspension have gotten in the way of Bertamus’ success, but finally on Tuesday night his big-play potential was felt in full force. After a muffed return of the opening kickoff, South was pinned back to their own 1-yard line. On their first play from scrimmage, quarterback Mitch Leidner hit a streaking Bertamus for a 99-yard touchdown pass.
After his record-breaking game against Burnsville last week, Matt Heller started strong once again against Mayo. He caught several key passes on Lakeville’s second scoring drive, which was capped off by a 3-yard touchdown run by Austin Brtinell. Unfortunately for South, Heller did not play the second half due to injury. He finished with 4 catches for 49 yards. It is uncertain whether Heller will be able to play in South’s second round game on Saturday.
Lakeville South’s third scoring drive was very much a microcosm of what the season has been like so far for the Cougars. While inside Mayo territory, Leidner threw an incomplete pass, a fade intended for senior receiver Devon Bzoskie. After the play, Leidner and Bzoskie traded some harsh words and eventually even a few shoves before Larry Thompson called a timeout to sort out the mess. The feud was extinguished shortly after and just moments later the two senior teammates shared a hug after Leidner found Bzoskie in the endzone for a 9-yard score. This year has truly been a rollercoaster ride for the Cougars thus far.
Rochester Mayo’s offense found a pretty good deal of success when it came to gaining yardage on the Cougar defense, although finding the endzone was a different story. Spartan quarterback Nate Penz led the way for Rochester, throwing for over 200 yards in the contest. Alexander Proell and Justin Ashbaugh shared the running duties for Mayo, gaining a combined 102 yards on the ground. Wide receivers Zachary Rhodes and Gunnar Olson were the leading pass catchers for Mayo with 71 yards and 42 yards respectively.
With the score 20-0, Mayo began the second half with the ball, but not for long. On their first play from scrimmage, Proell fumbled the ball after being berated by a host of Cougar defenders. Subsequently, Trent Bertamus picked up the loose fumble and returned it for a touchdown. Ball control was the primary issue for Mayo for the entire game. Several fumbles and too many dropped passes plagued the Spartans all night. It was a fumble though, that gave Mayo their only score. Receiver Mike Fix caught a pass from Penz, fumbled it, and then recovered his own fumble in the endzone for Rochester’s only points of the game.
A late Joel Williams 25-yard touchdown run made the score 35-7, which was ultimately the final score. Rochester Mayo’s season ended Tuesday night with a record of 6-3. Lakeville South’s victory puts their win total at seven for the year as they look forward to their rematch with #1 seed and rival Lakeville North this Saturday. In their first meeting on Oct. 7, North embarrassed the Cougars to the tune of 30-6. Saturday’s second round matchup is sure to be far more competitive than their regular season meeting.
By Luke Sleeper
Luke Sleeper is a contributor to KCHKRadio.net