Seeking to keep his player focused, Lakeville football coach South Ben Burke asks his team what the half-time score is, expecting to hear “zero-zero” as the slogan for careful attention to every game.
The Cougars reminded themselves early and often of their motto during Friday’s 6A class semifinals at US Bank Stadium.
Lakeville South has scored twice in its first three games and has never looked back on a 40-14 win over St. Michael Albertville. Junior Carson Hansen ran 201 yards and made four touchdowns for the Cougars.
“I just think we keep doing what we’re doing,” said senior quarterback Camden Dean, who has two touchdowns. “We played fast 14-0 at the start of many games and there were a few games where they came back and equalized before half. So our idea is the same, keep doing what we are doing. ”
Lakeville South, who finished first, made the final next week against Maple Grove, who beat Eden Prairie 35-3 to advance to the title match.
The Cougars and the Knights met in the section finals last season, where Lakeville South won 14-13 in a touchdown with 21 seconds left.
Any wait on Friday ended ahead of schedule due to St. Michael-Albertville’s staff turnover.
The Knights controlled the ball enough to move the chains on their first possession until they hit the fourth and 1 on their 38-yard line.
St. Michael-Albertville failed the fourth attempt, and it was won back by Lakeville South. The knights fought for each of their first four realms, losing three of them.
“It’s not part of the recipe,” said St Michael-Albertville coach Jared Essler. “They have a good team, and they have their own character of the game, the character of the movements of the ball. We were hoping to limit ownership, and they had too many of them. ”
Two games after the first fumble, Hansen ran 38 yards to the touchdown to open the score. Hansen capped the second fumble recovery with a 31-yard touchdown on the first drive game.
The Cougars were leading 14-0 after three attacks in which they had possession of the ball for only 43 seconds.
“We never wanted to release the gas at any point,” said Lakeville South senior Zachary Jackel.
Dean may have surprised St. Michael Albertville on his next two trips to Lakeville South. Dean capped a 79-yard seven-game ride with a 23-yard touchdown pass to Chase Androff. Dean and Hansen teamed up on a 34-yard touchdown pass to make the score 27-0 before halftime.
Blessed with another big advantage at half-time, Burke said he doesn’t have to do much to keep the Cougars focused as the score spirals out of his opponents’ control.
“I don’t need it, man, they’re locked,” Burke said. “The only thing I tell them is during the halftime break, I ask them what the score is. … Our business is that we talk with children all the time about how to control what they can control. An account that they have no control over. They control their attitude and their efforts in every game, every rep. ”
Hansen added his fourth touchdown at 47 yards in the third quarter, making it 40-0.
“He’s a damn good player and that really says a lot about him: when he scores a goal, he walks up to the bench and the first people he thanks is his O-line,” Androff said.
The score is 0-0 again for Lakeville South, who will try to win their first state championship since Lakeville split into two schools in 2005.