The Prior Lake football team suffered another loss away from home in the postseason.
Big plays through the air sparked East Ridge’s 31-17 home win over the Lakers in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs Oct. 31.
The Raptors had touchdown passes of 72 and 65 yards, handing Prior Lake their 18th consecutive loss away from home in the postseason.
The Lakers joined the top football class at the start of the 2003 season. The team has done well at home in the playoffs, going 16-1 in that span with the one loss being a 21-19 setback to Bloomington Kennedy in 2010.
But it’s been a different story on the road. Prior Lake is 0-14 on opponents’ home turf and 0-4 in neutral site games, which were all in the state quarterfinals.
Prior Lake finished this season with a 5-4 overall record. Over the last four seasons, Lakers are 19-18 overall, 3-4 in the playoffs.
The Lakers’ five wins in the regular season didn’t get them a home playoff game this fall. Prior Lake was seeded No. 5 out of Section 6, while East Ridge was the No. 4 seed out of Section 4.
The last time Prior Lake started the playoffs on the road was in 2009 when they lost 49-20 at Bloomington Kennedy.
Prior Lake and East Ridge met in 2015 in the second round of the playoffs with the Raptors pulling out a 26-22 win. East Ridge won the game with a trick play, lining up for a potential game-tying field goal with 14 seconds remaining, but instead it was a fake that turned into a game-winning 3-yard touchdown run.
The Raptors didn’t need any trickery in the rematch. They jumped out to a 17-0 lead on a 72-yard touchdown pass midway through the second quarter.
The Lakers fought back, scoring with 56 seconds left before the break on a 23-yard scoring strike from senior quarterback Kyle Haas to junior Joey Krouse.
Junior Logan Lehrer booted a 33-yard field goal for the Lakers early in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 7 points (17-10). But East Ridge dialed up another big play.
Tanner Zolnosky found Demeir Flemino all alone in the secondary for a 65-yard touchdown pass and a 24-10 lead. The two also hooked up on the 72-yarder in the first half, the only two passes Flemino caught for the game.
East Ridge made it 31-10 with 2:16 left in the third quarter scoring on a 2-yard run.
Haas found senior Ryan Anderson on a 10-yard scoring strike in the fourth quarter for Prior Lake. Hass completed 16 of 29 passes for 142 yards.
Anderson finished with five catches for 55 yards. Krouse had three catches for 65 yards and rushed seven times for 71 yards.
Junior Grayson Spronk had 13 carries for 65 yards to lead Prior Lake on the ground.
Senior Ryan Schultze led the Lakers’ defense with 12 tackles, while senior Matt Nelson had 11 and senior Carter Berggren had nine. Seniors Owen Dotseth and Cole Edwards had eight and seven tackles, respectively.
For the season, Haas completed 61.9% of his passes for 13 touchdowns, while adding three rushing scores.
Spronk led the team on the ground with 809 yards on 125 carries and four touchdowns. Krouse had 401 yards rushing and three touchdowns and had a team-best 28 catches for 526 yards and seven scores.
Spronk added 22 catches for 159 yards and a touchdown, while Anderson had 11 grabs for 152 yards and three scores.
Senior Daveon McMillan (258 yards, 3 touchdowns), Cooper Busch (231 yards, 3 touchdowns) and Ryan Horejsi (219 yards, 5 touchdowns) all made an impact for Prior Lake running the ball this fall.
On defense, Schultze finished as the Lakers’ top tackler with 76, followed by Berggren (71), Edwards (70), junior Martin Owusu (47), junior Aidan Gegenheimer (46), junior Aidan McGowan (45) and Nelson (40).
Junior Dylan Hanson led the team in interceptions with two.
Lehrer was a perfect 33 for 33 on extra points for Prior Lake, making 2 of 4 field goals.