The most anticipated match-up of the early season is here and expect a packed house at Minnetonka tonight when they host rival Wayzata. Just to gear everybody up we take a quick look and some of the match-ups as well as some of the atmosphere that will surround tonight's clash of the titans.
Fiercest of Rivals
Wayzata and Minnetonka have been at each other's throats for some time on the football field and it seems they are always playing the part of sport called one-upmanship. When it comes to Wayzata and Minnetonka it's a game of what have you done for me lately.
Just last week I was on my way home from the Hopkins vs. Owatonna game and I stopped at a local joint to get some grub. I live within walking distance of Minnetonka High School so the eatery was jam packed with Tonka fans. Hearing me talk on the cell about football everybody wanted to know how the Trojans did. Just finding out I said the Trojans also spanked the Big Nine in their opener and everybody groaned. Students, workers, parents, random folk, and even the creepy dude with yellow boats, overalls, and the Mike Much beard, they all looked sour to hear that the Trojans picked up a W.
The rivalry will continue tonight in front of thousands. The teams will take the field at one of the best football facilities in the state although Wayzata is one that could match. Both schools have state of the art preparation equipment for video, training, etc. They both added the field turf when it became popular and they have been neck and neck in terms of overall production as well. Just a couple years ago Wayzata won a state championship but the year before it was Minnetonka who hoisted the trophy.
Last year Wayzata nipped the Skippers 23-21 in what was one of the better games of the early season. It was almost as good as the mistake filled yet extremely exciting opener the teams played at Minnetonka two seasons ago when Wayzata won 31-28. In fact Minnetonka has not beaten Wayzata since they hoisted the state title in 2004. But the rivalry is alive and well.
The Wayzata Passing Attack
The Skippers will be led by Kyle Risinger in the defensive backfield and let's remember that in last year's close game it was Fritz Rock scoring on both Minnetonka corners in each corner of the end zone. Between Rock and Cecil Doe (who caught four balls for 100 yards last week) the Skippers have to find a way to stop the big play. And that will start with…..
The Battle in the Trenches
Getting pressure on the Wayzata quarterback is going to be essential. Last year when Wayzata fell to Edina it was the aerial game that the Hornets shut down. So the Skippers up front led by Beau Allen need to apply the needed pressure to move John Ries and company around the pocket. Wayzata will put doubles on Allen most likely but he should have an effect one way or another. Beau will either be drawing several blockers or he will be busting through making Ries's life uneasy. Not only does Tonka have to stop the passing game but also they need to….
Minnetonka has a solid ground game led by a pair of talented runners. Last week Paris White ran for 106 yards, Ismail Karron for 77 on only six carries, and the team averaged over eight yards a carry on Mayo in 35 tries. Karon had two touchdowns early of 21 and 24 yards and it set the tone for the contest. If Minnetonka can control the ground game and keep the Wayzata defense on the field they will be at a big advantage. So A.J. Tarpley and friends on the defensive side of the Wayzata football have to stick to Karron, White, and company in the middle of the game when the energy is down.