Players as successful as Carson Hansen, and programs as successful as Lakeville South, don’t dwell on mistakes too long.
They know something better is usually waiting around the corner.
That was certainly the case Friday night as Hansen, an Iowa State recruit, shrugged off a fumble late in the second quarter to run for a school-record 87-yard touchdown in the third as the defending Class 6A state champion Cougars rolled past crosstown rival Lakeville North 34-0 at home to extend their winning streak to 23 games.
“When we have those turnovers, we say ‘flush it and forget it,’ ” said Hansen, who rushed for 254 yards and two touchdowns in all. “You can’t pout or whine about anything because you know you have to play the next down.”
Lakeville North (1-1) leads the overall series between the two schools 12-9, but Lakeville South (2-0) has now won the last four matchups. The Panthers’ last victory over the Cougars came in 2018.
“It’s always a great time when you play your crosstown rival,” said Hansen, who averaged 12.1 yards per carry Friday. “It’s nights like these you’ll always remember. When you’re 70 or 80 years old in a rocking chair, you’ll look back to these kinds of games.”
Though Lakeville South jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first half on 1-yard touchdown runs by senior quarterback Jacob Royse and Hansen, a pair of fumbles gave Lakeville North the chance to crawl back into the game.
The first, by Hansen late in the first half, prevented the Cougars from expanding their lead and gave the Panthers the ball back at their own 20.
The second, by senior Ryder Patterson in the third quarter, gave Lakeville North the ball at the Cougars’ 20. But Patterson too quickly found redemption, coming up with a fourth-down interception as Lakeville South regained possession at its own 13.
On the very next play, Hansen took the ball 87 yards for a touchdown to expand the Cougars’ lead to 21-0. It was the longest touchdown run in school history by one yard, exceeding an 86-yard touchdown run by Ben Troop in 2007.
“We do things to respond to adversity,” Lakeville South coach Ben Burk said. “That was a great test, right? Ryder fumbles the ball and gets a big pick right after that. Carson fumbles the ball at the end of the second quarter and runs for a school-record touchdown in the third.
“Those are the kind of things that make us proud as coaches.”
A pair of 11-yard touchdown runs by senior Jackson Hall and junior Jay Winters late in the fourth quarter closed out the scoring. The Cougars rushed for 343 yards as a team and held Lakeville North to just 34.
“It was hard to not come away with points when we had the chance,” said Panthers sophomore quarterback Riley Grossman, who threw for 124 yards, most of it coming in the second half. “We just have to try to move on to the next drive and the next play and let that roll off our back.”
That’s certainly the approach Hansen takes, and it has paid off. With much of his senior season still to go, he is already the school’s all-time leader in rushing yards (3,296), rushing touchdowns (41) and scoring (290 points).
“He’s a kid who is about the game and about the moment,” Burk said. “When he was younger, he was just happy to be here. Now that the spotlight is on him and everybody knows who he is, that he’s still able to produce the way he does tells you he’s got a really level head and understands his role.”
Next up for Hansen and his teammates is a big matchup at Eden Prairie next Friday.
“We expect them to come out strong like every team,” Hansen said. “We don’t take any game lightly around here. We just have to stick to our game plan and hopefully it will be a fun time.”