It’s easy to talk about the teams on top. Everyone loves a winner. But the focus here is on which football teams with sub-.500 records are still worthy of being considered among the metro’s best. Two come to mind: Rosemount and Prior Lake.
The Irish (1-2), who lost their first two games by a total of four points — one of them in overtime — took out their frustrations on Eagan on Friday. They overwhelmed the Wildcats early, taking 21-0 first-quarter lead, which they built to 38-0 in the third quarter before calling off the dogs and winning 38-7. Rosemount has a lot going for it, with a big and strong line, game-breaking athletes and a winning tradition built by no-nonsense coach Jeff Erdmann. To top that off, many of the Irish’s skill players are juniors or younger and are getting battle-tested. They’ll be a force later this season and a likely state tournament favorite next year.
Under coach Matt Gegenhemier, Prior Lake has developed a rough-and-tumble reputation, a team that will go toe to toe with any in the state. Yet the Lakers (1-2) have yet to find that signature victory, falling at Maple Grove 9-6 in Week 2 and hurting themselves with mistakes in a 24-0 loss to Eden Prairie. The defense has been sound, as always. Now it’s up to the Lakers offense, which has playmakers such as RB Jordan Johnson, to show its capability. They’ll get that chance Friday, when they play host to Minnetonka.
Metro Top 10
1. Eden Prairie (3-0): The Eagles hit the road for the first time this season at Prior Lake and came out strong, taking a 14-0 lead in the game’s first seven minutes. Next: vs. Wayzata, Friday, 7 p.m.
2. Edina (3-0): The defense stepped up in a 29-0 romp over Wayzata, with safety Luke Glenna intercepting three passes, one of them a pick-six. Next: at Eastview, Friday, 7 p.m.
3. Minnetonka (3-0): The Skippers showed serious spine in beating Maple Grove 28-21, giving up a big lead but getting it back and holding on. Next: at Prior Lake, Friday, 7 p.m.
4. Lakeville North (2-1): The Panthers took out the frustrations of the previous week’s loss to Eden Prairie on Farmington, scoring 35 points in the second quarter of a 51-0 romp. Next: vs. Lakeville South, Friday, 7 p.m.
5. St. Michael-Albertville (3-0): Champlin Park landed a big blow with a 14-point first quarter, but it was all Knights after that in a 31-21 victory. Next: at No. 6 Centennial, Friday, 7 p.m.
6. Centennial (3-0): Confidence is growing in Cougarland after dominating Anoka 16-0. Next: vs. No. 5 St. Michael-Albertville, Friday, 7 p.m.
7. Totino-Grace (2-1): I’ll admit, this might be a little high for this still-developing group, but program history has me cutting the Eagles some slack. Next: vs. Anoka, Friday, 7 p.m.
8. Roseville (3-0): Any lingering doubts about the Raiders were dispelled by more than 400 yards of offense in a 34-14 beatdown of Stillwater. Next: at East Ridge, Friday, 7 p.m.
9. Maple Grove (2-1): Their first road test yielded mixed results — a big deficit, a big rally, an eventual loss. Call it a learning experience. Next: at Burnsville, Friday, 7 p.m.
10. Cooper (5A, 3-0): Of the undefeated metro-area 5A teams, the Hawks have been the most impressive. QB Cam King was 10-for-11 for 241 yards and five TDs Friday. Next: at Bloomington Kennedy, Friday, 7:30 p.m.