The Prior Lake football team overcame some turnover woes to win its Class 6A playoff opener Oct. 25.
The fourth-seeded Lakers turned the ball over three times in the second half, but was still able to hold off fifth-seeded Cretin-Derham Hall at home, 20-14.
The biggest recovery of the game came with just over a minute to play. After the Raiders scored with 1:26 remaining, Prior Lake senior Matt Becker sealed the win by recovering the onside kick.
"You can't relax," Prior Lake coach Matt Gegenheimer told the Minnesota Football Hub. "In 6A football, most games come down to a handful of plays and you can't relax ever."
Prior Lake (5-4) will play at top-seeded and third-ranked Champlin Park (7-1) in the second round of the playoffs Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. The Rebels had a bye in the first round. The winner earns a spot in the state quarterfinals.
Prior Lake and Champlin Park have never met on the gridiron since the Lakers joined the top class in football in 2003. Prior Lake is 3-9 versus Northwest Suburban Conference schools since 2011, which was the first year the Lakers made state losing to Totino Grace in the quarterfinals.
Prior Lake also made the state quarterfinals in 2012, 2014 and 2017.
For complete Class 6A playoff brackets, go to mshsl.org.
In beating Cretin, senior Sam Emmerich had a pair of touchdown runs in the first half for the Lakers. He scored on a 4-yard run on Prior Lake's first possession of the game.
Emmerich scored from 2 yards out in the second quarter to give his team a 14-0 lead at the break.
Cretin mounted a challenge in the second half. A 61-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter cut the deficit to 14-7. At that point, both teams starting playing some defense.
Six straight possessions were three-and-outs, three from each team. With just under five minutes to play, Prior Lake made some plays on offense to go up two scores.
Sophomore quarterback Kyle Haas hit senior Austin Gordon on a 16-yard scoring strike to give his team a 20-7 advantage with 2:42 left to play.
Haas hit junior Tyler Shaver for a 21-yard gain on 3rd-and-8 to keep the drive alive. Haas completed just 3 of 5 passes in the game for 80 yards and two completions came on that drive.
Haas was starting is third straight game for injured senior quarterback Nate Raddatz, who could be back for Champlin Park. Raddatz injured his hand in Week 6, a 20-16 home loss to St. Michael-Albertville.
Meanwhile, Cretin ended the season losing its last five games after opening the year with four straight wins.