Seventh-ranked (Class 6A) Lakeville North turned in its second straight shutout and put the finishing touches on a 7-1 regular season with a 35-0 blanking of Rosemount last Wednesday in Lakeville.
The Panthers opened the scoring with a 50-yard touchdown run on their opening drive and had their way on the ground the rest of the game. Jamiah Newell ran the ball in from two yards out later in the first quarter to make it 14-0 and went on to rush for 128 yards and three touchdowns -- all in the first half. In all, seven running backs combined to rack up 293 rushing yards, helping the home team mount a 27:02-20:58 advantage in time of possession and rack up 21 first downs.
After a scoreless third quarter, Mitch Johnson capped off the scoring with a one-yard touchdown run that made it 35-0 with 11:22 to go.
North, which moved up to No. 4 in the final state rankings, was given the No. 2 seed in Section 3AAAAAA and will take on No. 7 Eagan in the opening round. The Panthers will enter on a three-game winning streak where they've outscored opponents, 112-7.
The Irish managed just five first downs and 78 yards on 32 plays in being shut out for the first time this season. Trent Woodcock ran for 45 yards on 12 carries and Ali Al-Khatib returned from injury to carry five times for 28 yards.
Quarterback Jackson Erdmann finished just 3 of 8 for 15 yards. All three completions went to Sean Kalinowski.
Gabe Ehlers punted five times for 188 yards, an average of 37.6 yards per punt.
Rosemount's three-game winning streak came to an end and left the team at 4-4, which earned the Irish the No. 4 seed in Section 3AAAAAA and a first-round home game against fifth-seeded Lakeville South tomorrow night at Irish Stadium. The Irish won on the road at South 12-0 three weeks ago.
The two teams tied for fifth in the South Suburban Conference with matching records of 4-3.