Battle for the Apple: The Sequel

AV, Eastview football teams meet again Friday

Da’Shawn Lewis of Apple Valley picks up yardage against Bloomington Kennedy. Apple Valley plays at Eastview on Friday in the second “Battle for the Apple” game. Photo by Rick Orndorf

Da’Shawn Lewis of Apple Valley picks up yardage against Bloomington Kennedy. Apple Valley plays at Eastview on Friday in the second “Battle for the Apple” game. Photo by Rick Orndorf

Eastview and Apple Valley high schools have work to do to top the success of last year’s “Battle for the Apple” football game – both on and off the field.

In 2012 the school sought to re-brand the football rivalry into something with just as much passion and a little less acrimony. The schools worked together on a fundraising project, raising $5,500 for the “Tackle Cancer” program sponsored by the Minnesota Football Coaches Association, and Randy Shaver Cancer Research and Community Fund.

The game was one of the most memorable of the 2012 season, with Eastview rallying to win 29-26 after trailing 26-0 in the third quarter. The Lightning took possession of the traveling trophy created for last year’s game. Apple Valley goes to Eastview at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4, to try and get it.

The game once again will be a “Tackle Cancer” program fundraiser. Both teams are looking to build momentum after breaking losing streaks last week.

Although it’s unlikely Eastview (2-3) and Apple Valley (1-4 overall, 1-3 conference) can get back in the race for the South Suburban Conference championship with just three regular-season games remaining, a victory would improve each team’s chance for a favorable playoff seeding.

The weeklong event, which included a dinner for both teams Monday, is “a chance to teach the kids about something that’s bigger than football,” Apple Valley head coach Chad Clendening said. “As far as the rivalry is concerned, it enhances it, but it was always strong.”

Last Friday, Eastview beat Bloomington Jefferson 42-7 to end a three-game losing streak. Apple Valley’s 42-0 shutout of Bloomington Kennedy was its first of the season after opening with four consecutive losses.

“Every day the kids came to practice with the same attitude. They wanted to get better,” Clendening said. “But in high school athletics, confidence is so important. That’s why last week was big for us.”

Apple Valley quarterback Tommy Singer threw three touchdown passes against Kennedy, two to Matt Morse and one to Joey Skora. Da’Shawn Lewis rushed for two scores and Adrian Lally had one rushing touchdown.

The Eagles have scored 68 points in their last two games, which has taken some pressure off their defense.

“We preach to our kids on defense that you don’t always control when you get on the field, but you have to play stout defense no matter where you are on the field,” Clendening said. “But we have been looking for better balance, offense and defense, and we’ve been getting it the last two weeks. Kennedy also was the first game we didn’t turn the ball over.”

Eastview took the lead against Jefferson behind its powerful junior running back, Will Rains, who scored on runs of 1 and 2 yards in the first quarter. The Lightning then went up top in the second quarter as Mark Dwyer threw touchdown passes of 66 yards to Montrell Moore and 7 yards to Tommy Hutsell. Hutsell scored on a 14-yard run in the third quarter and Amari Kennedy added a 9-yard touchdown run in the fourth.

Jefferson didn’t get on the board until the fourth quarter, and by that point the game was on running time because of Eastview’s big lead.

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