Defense dominates in SSC rivalry game
Although it’s too early in the season to call it a must-win game, Rosemount linebacker Nate Sackett didn’t hesitate to call his team’s 24-0 victory over Eastview an important one.
“Eastview’s always been one of the games we get up for, and we haven’t played them in a while,” said Sackett, a senior captain. “We really wanted this game.”
Rosemount dominated Friday night’s South Suburban Conference football game on the statistics sheet, and by the second half the Irish also started dominating on the scoreboard. Rosemount quarterback Jackson Erdmann threw three touchdown passes, two to Dimitri Williams, while the defense held Eastview to 164 yards. The Irish were able to limit Eastview standout running back Will Rains to 33 yards on 19 carries.
It was the first game between the schools since October 2011, when Eastview won 49-13 in the section quarterfinals. Because of a South Suburban Conference schedule rotation, Rosemount and Eastview did not play last season.
Eastview coach Kelly Sherwin said after Friday’s game there was no sense in trying to deny the obvious.
“We played like we practiced this week, and we had a rough week of practice,” Sherwin said. “We were outplayed and out-physicaled.”
Rosemount (1-1) might already have established itself as one of the top teams in Class 6A. The Irish lost to Wayzata 24-21 in double overtime in their season opener – a game Sackett said they believe they should have won – before dismantling Eastview, a state quarterfinalist last season.
Sackett said he sensed no panic among the Irish after the opening-week loss.
“I don’t know about the other guys, but for me one game wasn’t going to make or break our season,” he said. “A lot of us were here last season when we started slowly then made a run in the playoffs. We felt we were going to improve after our first game, which we thought we kind of gave away, and I think we did improve.”
Rosemount will be a heavy favorite against Bloomington Kennedy at 7 p.m. Sept. 13 at Bloomington Stadium, but there are some tough games ahead. The Irish play both of last year’s South Suburban co-champions, Lakeville North and Prior Lake, as well as Lakeville South, which on Friday defeated the same Wayzata team that beat Rosemount.
Eastview ran as many plays as Rosemount, but had less than half of the Irish’s 352 yards.
“Our coaching staff is always in the game,” Sackett said. “Last year when we started playing well it was because of some adjustments our coaching staff made, and we had confidence in the game plan they had for us (Friday).
“To be honest, we weren’t overly concerned about stopping Will (Rains). I mean, we know he’s a good player, but he’s one guy and we have 11. Every time he carried the ball, we had three or four guys on him.”
The Lightning (1-1) crossed midfield twice and never advanced beyond the Rosemount 28-yard line.
Sherwin said he was surprised Rosemount was able to contain Rains “because that really hasn’t happened before, and it’s a credit to Rosemount. We made a lot of mistakes, which our kids are going to see on the film, and it will be up to us to fix them.”
Sherwin said the Lightning held up well in the first half, which ended with Rosemount leading 7-0, and added that different outcomes on a couple of plays could have led to Eastview being tied or even leading at halftime.
On one of those plays, Lightning quarterback Mark Dwyer found Montrell Moore with a well-thrown deep ball down the sideline, but a Rosemount defender knocked the ball out of Moore’s hands before he could secure it.
Erdmann and Williams connected for a 33-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter. Williams caught the pass crossing the field, then shed an Eastview tackler before speeding down the sideline.
It was still a one-score game in the third quarter when Tyler Hartigan caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from Erdmann. The Irish added 10 points in the fourth quarter on Cole Jalivay’s 20-yard field goal and a 16-yard pass from Erdmann to Williams.
Erdmann completed 16 of 25 passes for 220 yards. Williams had seven catches for 108 yards and rushed seven times for 47 yards. Trent Woodcock led Rosemount in rushing with 71 yards on 15 carries.
Moore had three catches for 48 yards for Eastview, which plays at Lakeville North (2-0) at 7 p.m. Sept. 13.