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Football: Stage set for Irish-Cougars collision

By Mike Shaughnessy, 09/29/21, 12:00PM CDT


Top-ranked Lakeville South comes to Rosemount this week

There was a chance for the second No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup in three weeks, but Eden Prairie spoiled those plans.

The Eagles’ 13-3 victory over Rosemount on Sept. 24 almost certainly will move the Irish down a few spots in this week’s Associated Press Class 6A football rankings (the rankings had not been released when this edition went to press). Before playing at Eden Prairie last week, Rosemount had been ranked second in the enrollment class.

The Irish will be at home against No. 1-ranked Lakeville South at 7 p.m. Friday. South’s place at the top of the poll remains secure after its 36-14 victory over Farmington last week.

Lakeville South (4-0) is one of five unbeaten teams in Class 6A, with Shakopee, Woodbury, Stillwater and Wayzata being the others. Rosemount enters Friday’s game with a 3-1 record.

It’s a game that might have happened last season had COVID-19 not intervened. The Cougars and Irish did not meet in 2020, either in the regular season or the playoffs. South finished 8-0, Rosemount was 6-0, and they were two of the three teams that could make a case for being the unofficial Class 6A champion (the other was Eden Prairie, which also went undefeated).

Friday’s game features a Lakeville South team known for its powerful rushing game against a Rosemount offense looking to establish one. The Cougars rushed for 255 yards against Farmington last week, with quarterback Camden Dean gaining 55 yards on seven carries and scoring three times. Carson Hansen and Josh Jacobson also had touchdown runs for the Cougars, who led 36-0 after three quarters. Jacobson led the Cougars with 97 yards on the ground.

Defenses can’t sell out to stop the run against South. Dean completed just three passes (in five attempts) against Farmington, but all went for 37 yards or more.

Rosemount will look to activate its running game Friday. The Irish had just 72 yards on the ground and 145 yards of total offense against Eden Prairie. The Rosemount-Eden Prairie game might have turned in the second quarter, when the Irish fumbled inside the EP 5-yard line and the Eagles recovered in the end zone. Eden Prairie then drove 80 yards for a touchdown and a 10-0 lead.

Jayden Washington rushed for 52 yards on 16 carries against Eden Prairie and quarterback Vincent Pyne completed 10 of 15 passes for 72 yards, but the Irish’s only scoring was a 20-yard field goal by Leyton Simmering in the third quarter.

The Class 6A football realignment completed in the offseason means teams such as Lakeville South and Rosemount are in the middle of a grueling part of the schedule against other Class 6A powers. After playing Rosemount, Lakeville South takes on a Prior Lake team that was 3-1 this week and a Shakopee squad that won its first four games. Rosemount moves on to a rivalry game against Farmington, followed by a game at Prior Lake.