Irish route Lakeville South 31-15 in the rain to celebrate homecoming
A more miserable night for a homecoming football game would be hard to imagine than what the Rosemount Irish football team played in Friday night, but none of that mattered as the Irish went on to rout the Lakeville South Cougars. The Irish beat the Cougars 31-15 in the misting rain, cold and mud, but the game was not as close as the score would make it appear. Rosemount led 31-0 at halftime and Lakeville South was only able to score during the quarter-plus garbage time in the second half. With the win the Irish are now 4-2 overall and have won four straight since starting the season 0-2. They sit atop the Metro South sub-district at 4-0, a half game ahead of Lakeville North and Prior Lake who are 3-0 in the sub-district.
Over at halftime
Despite the amount of points the Irish scored, it was their defense that set the tone for almost the entire game. Just minutes in the game, the Rosemount defense blocked a Lakeville South punt and sophomore Jake Ratzlaff returned it for a touchdown and they went up 7-0. Later on in the first quarter, senior quarterback Max Carter hit junior wide receiver Jonathan Mann for a 40-yard touchdown and it was 14-0 Irish over Lakeville South with a minute left in the first quarter.
To start the second quarter, Lakeville South fumbled the snap when punting and were stopped at their own 7-yard line where Rosemount took over. Junior kicker Nathan Whiting then hit a 21-yard field goal and they led 17-0 with 10:01 left in the first half. Later in the second quarter. Carter threw his second touchdown of the game to senior wide receiver Cadin Rudoll and the rout was on as the Irish led 24-0. Finally, with just a minute and change left in the first half, Carter scrambled for a touchdown to put Rosemount up 31-0 at halftime.
At this point, a vast majority of teams would be throwing the ball all over the place to try and cut down on the Irish lead. However, Lakeville South runs a "T" formation straight out of the old days that is meant for a power running game, but not at all conducive to making a comeback. Combine this with the fact that the conditions were not suited to throwing the ball and an Irish victory was all but inevitable barring a complete collapse.
The Cougars scored on their first drive of the second half after driving down the field and hitting on a 20-yard touchdown pass that caught the Irish by surprise. Rosemount led 31-7 with 7:35 left in the third quarter. From there, both teams exchanged punts until the fourth quarter. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Carter was intercepted after a pass went high, but then senior defensive back Evan Geiwitz snagged an interception of his own with 5:03 left in the game. The Cougars would block a punt and hit on another big pass to set up a score with 1:55 left in the game to make it 31-15 after a two-point conversion, but that would be the final.
Offense and defense clicking
After the game, Geiwitz said that the defense went with just three defensive backs in practice to prepare for having to step up and help with the run or react to the pass. The Irish bottled up the Cougars' rushing attack and let up just the two big passing plays.
"In the film we watched and kind of diagnosed that they were a run-heavy team," he said. "So we kind of had the personnel just to do that, and if they did turn to passing we knew what to do and switch right away. We didn't use it much, but we normally did three db's in practice, so just get downhill, play pass first and if we needed to come up and make a run play."
Offensively, Rosemount was able to run the ball with a one-two punch of senior running back Garrison Green and sophomore running back Christian Graske. They were also able to hit on a few passes despite the rain.
"Christian's young, he's quick, he's probably quicker than me," Green said. "He's quick pace, get the corner and get upfield. I think I'm more of a slow down, read it and then hit it type thing. I don't think there's anything wrong with either of them, just two different people and two different playing styles. To go along with me and the o-line is him and the o-line too, we just flow and having both of us one the field we can flow left, flow right, go either way and it just works."
After struggling to get the running game going early on in this season, the Irish have really got it rolling during their win streak, which Green said has been a matter of familiarity.
"I don't think anything has really changed, but as a team we have been connecting a lot more," he said. "Because obviously as the season progresses we get to know each other better and we grow on that and things just flow. I think I have more experience now with my o-linemen, I can figure out how they're going to block people based on film and just tendencies."
Rosemount hosts Burnsville (who beat Farmington 55-17 Friday night) next Friday, Oct. 13, and then finishes the regular season at Shakopee Wednesday, Oct. 17.