Grant Harstad broke away from Liam Arbeiter (#14) during a 48-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. (Photo by Carlos Gonzalez)
In the midst of a scoreless first half — something Eden Prairie’s Class 6A, No. 1-ranked football team hadn’t experienced this season — the Eagles fell back on a foundation built on two decades of state championship team experiences.
“Once you don’t have the lead, you go into the grind-it mode,” Grant said. “Just grind it and wear ’em and, you know, eventually …”
Grant didn’t finish the sentence, but he didn’t need to. No team is more synonymous with wearing down opponents than Eden Prairie, which did exactly that in a 28-7 victory over Maple Grove.
Eden Prairie’s offense started sluggishly, with three-and-outs on its first two possessions, largely due to a fired-up Maple Grove defense. The Eagles’ defense matched their hosts stop-for-stop, keeping the game scoreless until the offense found its road-grader groove midway through the second quarter. They went 75 yards in eight plays, capped by a 25-yard bootleg scoring run by quarterback Cole Kramer.
“Maple Grove came to play,” said Antonio Montero, Eden Prairie’s linebacker/running back/kicker/do-everything backbone. “They were playing aggressive, pounding us a little bit. Our offense, we just had to find our groove, wear them down.”