To be the best, you’ve got to beat the best.
That’s been Lakeville South coach Ben Burk’s message. And in the newly-formed Metro Gold South conference, the Cougars have had ample opportunities to show it.
With wins over Lakeville North, Eden Prairie and Farmington already under its belt, Lakeville South has shown it can win in a variety of ways. High-scoring shootouts, defensive battles and blowouts. On Friday, they showed they have another side to their game, an opportunistic side. Three turnovers fueled the Cougars to a 28-14 victory over the Rosemount Irish on the road.
“I think when you play good teams you have to count on turnovers,” Burk said. “Unfortunately for them and fortunately for us we were able to capitalize on some.”
Scoreless through the game’s first 11 minutes, Lakeville South found itself facing a 4th-and-8 on the Rosemount 32-yard line. In just his second attempt of the game, Dean found tight end Zach Juckel in the seam for a 10-yard gain. On the very next play, running back Carson Hansen bounced to the outside for a 22-yard touchdown carry. A missed two-point conversion gave the Cougars a 6-0 lead after the first quarter.
Rosemount looked primed to answer the following drive, taking the ball all the way inside the Cougars’ 10-yard line. However, a fumble on a handoff by Irish quarterback Vincent Pyne gave Lakeville South the ball deep in their own end. It was the second Irish fumble of the night after Pyne fumbled in the team’s opening possession.
Suddenly, what was nearly a 7-6 Rosemount lead turned into a 14-0 Lakeville South lead as the Cougars took the ball 92 yards down field to score. The drive featured another critical pass, this time a 23-yard screen pass from Dean to running back Josh Jacobson on 3rd-and-23 to put the Cougars just outside the Irish red zone. Running back Ryder Patterson scored on a 21-yd touchdown run on the very next play.
Dean finished 3-5 for 64 yards passing. The only other completion came in the second half, a 31-yard completion on 2nd-and-20.
“We all like it when a coach calls one,” Dean said. “You can see a grin in the huddle. And we capitalized on our moments tonight.”
Rosemount responded on the next drive, orchestrating a 10-play 73-yard drive capped off by a 42-yard touchdown pass from Pyne to wide receiver Cedric Wall.
However, that brief string of momentum was quickly halted in the third quarter. On the fourth play of their opening second half drive, running back Carson Hansen broke free for a 57-yard touchdown run. Hansen, averaging 141 yards per game entering Friday, ran for 243 against the Irish. It’s the third time this season he’s eclipsed the 200-yard mark.
On the ensuring Irish possession, Rosemount turned it over again. This time on a Pyne interception in the red zone. Lakeville South then scored on its next drive.
“We had a chance in that first half to be right in it but man, the turnovers,” Rosemount coach Jeff Erdmann said. “You just can’t do that against these guys.”
Rosemount has now lost two straight games for the first time since 2018. Lakeville South, a staple atop the Associated Press 6A state rankings, is now 5-0.
“We want to be the most physical, most disciplined, toughest team in the state and we have to play the toughest teams to do that,” Burk said. “We’re just excited about where we’re going.”