I don't know how Eden Prairie didn't get the number one overall seed in the 6A bracket. In my opinion, the fact that they are playing Friday is sort of embarrassing. Based on the way they played – on the…
I don't know how Eden Prairie didn't get the number one overall seed in the 6A bracket.
In my opinion, the fact that they are playing Friday is sort of embarrassing. Based on the way they played – on the road – against a tough Edina Hornets team and the schedule they have played this year I don't get it. That being said, here are my thoughts on the guys I felt stood out in the Eagles' 35-10 victory.
Quarterback Cole Kramer badly overthrew a short pass early in the game but looked solid the rest of the game. Everyone knows an EP quarterback isn't asked to do much, but Kramer is not just a turn around and hand it off quarterback. Don't get me wrong, he still did a lot of handing off, but showed he has the tools to be much more if they need him to be. He picked up a first down on what looked like a designed run to the outside. He spun out of a tackle to avoid a sack and then he made the biggest play – yardage-wise – of the game.
Backed up on the three-yard line, Kramer threw a 97-yard touchdown pass to Daejon Wolfe. Kramer missed a similar pass earlier in the game, but this time he was right on the money. Later he threw a nice ball while rolling out and then picked up a first down by scrambling. His touch pass to Wolfe that picked up a first down and then the junior hit a deep cross. He put the game away with a play action pass to tight end Will Sather down the middle for a short touchdown.
“Cole hasn't thrown an interception in his career yet,” Eden Prairie head coach Mike Grant said. “He has thrown 13 touchdown passes with no picks. He did not throw an interception last year. He managed the game, made big plays on bootlegs and was a great leader.”
Wolfe made plays through the air but also helped out in the running game. He took an end around and made a nice cut to get upfield for a first down.
The guy who made the Eagles' offense go was running back Solo Falaniko. He cut to the outside for a nice gain. He got behind Sather for a big gain on a sweep. Later Falaniko spun in the hole to turn no-gain into a short gain. He used his speed and power making a move in the hole then broke a tackle downfield. He is quick in and out of the hole and can make plays when the play breaks down.
“Solo is a beast,” Grant said. “Sometimes we didn't block it very well, but Solo is just a beast.”
On a run to the outside, Falaniko was boxed in but made a move to get out of it and picked up twenty yards. Later he should have been stopped for a loss, but he broke a tackle to get back to the line of scrimmage. He has a low center of gravity and is a tough bowling ball type runner.
A re-made offensive line paved the way for Falaniko and fellow running back Antonio Montero. Ryan Smith – on a trap block – kicked out a defender to spring Falaniko. Another Smith trap block freed Falaniko for a two-yard touchdown.
“I was proud of our offensive line our left guard is about 200 and our right guard is about 190,” Grant said. “With all of our injuries, we have moved some guys to defense. I thought we wore them down.”
Offensive lineman Michael Fabel made the key block on an end around. Joe Schreiber, Jacob Foss, and Smith opened two straight holes right in the middle of the defense, the second for a touchdown.
D.J. Johnson had a nice run behind Clayton Binner. Binner executed a nice one on one block. Later Johnson ran through a tackler on an end around. Defensively Johnson had excellent coverage on a downfield throw. He also made an open field tackle, broke up a fade into the back of the end zone, and made a quick break on a ball for an interception.
Montero also plays linebacker. He made one on one tackle in space. Then he shot a gap on a run blitz for a tackle for loss. In the second half, he made another tackle inside and chased down a run from the backside.
Defensive end Davis Jaeger made a move on a lineman and made a tackle for loss. Later he came down the line to make a tackle for a short gain. Edina tried to sweep at Jaeger, but he held the edge and allowed his teammates to make a tackle. Jaeger's penetration forced the running back to change direction allowing teammates to make the tackle. Then he read a draw play and came down the line to make the tackle.
“We've got our top three defensive tackles out with injury,” Grant said. “We have offensive linemen playing defensive tackle.”
Grant Harstad might have had the most impressive performance. He started with a nice tackle at corner to stop a sweep. He defended a back shoulder throw and deflected the pass. Edina tried to throw a fade against the 5'7″ 145-pound senior, but as the ball got to the receiver, Harstad ripped the receivers arm down preventing a completion. Edina continued to attack him, but he forced a fumble on a short out pattern.
Collin Penn filled the hole to stuff a run. Then he kept outside leverage to force the running back inside for a short gain. Penn and fellow linebacker Quentin Matsui later combined for a tackle for no gain.
Safety Caden Fey stayed step for step with a receiver to knock away a pass in the end zone. Then he read a cutback play and made an open field tackle.
Even though they are playing the opening day of the 6A playoffs, if as many guys have games like they did Wednesday night – it won't matter. They will again be a threat to raise the trophy.