To be the best, you have to beat the best.
That’s a message from Lakeville South coach Ben Burke. And at the newly formed Metro Gold South convention, Cougar had ample opportunities to show it off.
With wins over Lakeville North, Eden Prairie and Farmington already under its belt, Lakeville South has shown it can win in many ways. High-scoring shootouts, defensive battles and blowouts. On Friday, he showed there is another side to his game, an opportunistic side. Three turnovers propelled the Cougars to a 28–14 victory over Rosemount Irish on the road.
Burke said, ‘I think when you play with good teams, you have to rely on turnover. “Unfortunately for them and fortunately for us we were able to capitalize on some.”
With no scores during the first 11 minutes of the game, Lakeville South found themselves facing fourth and -8 at the Rosemount 32-yard line. In his second attempt of the game, Dean found a tight end Zach Jukel in the seam for a 10-yard advantage. In the very next game, Carson Henson ran back outside for a 22-yard touchdown carry. A missed two-point conversion gave the Cougar a 6–0 lead after the first quarter.
Rosemount looked ready to respond to the following drive, taking the ball inside the Cougar’s 10-yard line. However, a fumble on handoff by Irish quarterback Vincent Paine sent Lakeville South deep into the ball on his own end. It was the second Irish rumble of the night after Payne fell into the team’s opening possession.
Suddenly, a nearly 7-6 Rosemount lead turned into a 14-0 Lakeville South lead as the Cougars took the ball for 92 yards to score. There was another crucial pass in the drive, this time a 23-yard screen pass from Dean to run Josh Jacobson back on third and 23, to put the Cougars just outside the Irish red zone. Running back, Ryder Patterson scored a 21-yd touchdown in the very next game.
Dean completed 3-5 points for passing 64 yards. The second half saw only the second completed, the 31-yard completion at -20 and -20.
“We all love it when a coach calls one,” Dean said. “You can see a grin in the crowd. And we relished our moments tonight.”
Rosemount responded on the next drive, closing a 10-play 73-yard drive with a 42-yard touchdown pass from Payne to wide receiver Cedric Wall.
However, that brief string of momentum was quickly halted in the third quarter. In the fourth game of his opening second half drive, Carson sprinted past Hansen to free up a 57-yard touchdown run. Hansen ran 243 against the Irish at an average of 141 yards per game entering Friday. This is the third time this season that he has crossed the 200 yard mark.
Upon ensuring Irish occupation, Rosemount turned it again. This time on a pine interception in the red zone. Lakeville South then scored on his next drive.
“We had a chance to be right in that first half, but man, turnover,” said Rosemount coach Jeff Erdman. “You can’t do that against these people.”
Rosemount has now lost two straight games for the first time since 2018. Lakeville South, topping the Associated Press 6A state rankings, is now 5-0.
“We want to be the most physical, most disciplined, toughest team in the state and we have to play the toughest teams to do that,” Burke said. “We’re just excited about where we’re going.”