Eden Prairie gets rolling

  • Article by: DAVID LA VAQUE
  • Star Tribune
  • August 31, 2012 - 12:34 AM

Less than five minutes into Thursday's game at Champlin Park, defending champion and No. 1-ranked Eden Prairie found itself suffering from identity theft.

The Eagles' steady if conservative offense? Shaky. Two offensive plays yielded an interception and fumble lost. The stout and experience defense? Leaky. No. 6 Champlin Park converted both turnovers into touchdowns.

From there, Eden Prairie rediscovered its patient and pounding rushing attack to score four times in the second quarter and run away with a 55-20 victory. Junior fullback Dan Fisher carried 26 times for 145 yards and four touchdowns.

Fisher, a 205-pound bull of a fullback, scored three touchdowns in the second quarter -- one a 44-yard rumble that featured a deft downfield cutback. Charlie Venable, a speed merchant, added a 34-yard score as Eden Prairie built a 28-20 halftime lead. Venable finished with 133 yards rushing.

"It's kind of a joke on the team that I really don't have any moves," Fisher said of his 44-yard score. "I saw him overpursuing so I just kind of slapped him away and kept going."

A linebacker on the sophomore team last season, Fisher started taking handoffs in the past few weeks. He played Thursday with the ferocity of his former position, though he admitted the number of tough yards took a toll.

"I was dying out there," Fisher said. "I kept getting the wind knocked out of me."

Fisher wasn't the only runner whose talents were on display. Michael Sales provided Champlin Park's lone second-quarter highlight. Taking an inside handoff, Sales churned and bobbed through traffic before breaking away for a 60-yard touchdown. He finished with 15 carries for 77 yards.

Eden Prairie's opening drive of the second half stalled at the Champlin Park 16. Facing fourth down, the Eagles boldly called a naked bootleg, sending the running backs and offensive line right and quarterback Grant Shaeffer left without escort.

It worked. The Rebels defense overcommitted and Shaeffer ran the ball in untouched for a 34-20 Eden Prairie lead.

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