Wayzata vs. Eden Prairie: Bragging rights and so much more

  • Article by: JIM PAULSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 10, 2013 - 8:03 PM

The titans of Class 6A football, Wayzata and Eden Prairie, have nothing to prove — except to each other.

hide

Wayzata quarterback Jake Marsh threw to one of his receivers during a recent practice. The Trojans, after a 1-1 start, got back to basics and gradually improved.

Photo: Photos by JOEL KOYAMA • joel.koyama@startribune.com,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

The players and coaches are saying all the expected things about Friday’s Lake Conference game between Wayzata and Eden Prairie, about respecting their opponent and preparing for the postseason and improving themselves one game at a time, etc.

“Just another big game,” they say. Or “We just want to play our best.”

Despite all the clichés and cautiously vague, noncommittal remarks, it doesn’t take much prodding to get the participants to admit that a game between the state’s two biggest schools and perennial football powerhouses comes with more gusto.

“You do get a little more excited for this game,” Eden Prairie offensive lineman Rob Olson said. “You look over the last few years and it’s always Eden Prairie and Wayzata. When you think of Minnesota football, you think of those two.”

The 7 p.m. game at Eden Prairie is the latest edition of what has become the highest-profile prep football rivalry in Minnesota. The teams have combined to win seven of the past eight large-school state championships dating to 2005. Eden Prairie has won four, Wayzata three. Cretin-Derham Hall has the other, in 2009.

This is Packers vs. Vikings on a high school level. Love ’em or hate ’em, when Wayzata plays Eden Prairie, everyone notices.

“The whole school is fired up,” Wayzata defensive end Drew Greely said. “I know they’re fired up, we’re fired up. It gives you the motivation to make the extra effort to prepare during the week.”

Getting ready for their opponent can be less of a concern than dealing with the hype.

“We have to stay focused on what the game is,” Eden Prairie fullback Dan Fisher said. “Instead of two powerhouse teams, it’s just another step towards reaching our goals of winning the Lake Conference and winning a state championship. You guys [in the media] are the ones who hype it up.”

The attention starts with Eden Prairie, with a 5-0 record and ranked No. 1 in Class 6A. The team, seeking a third consecutive state title, features its usual complement of muscular linemen and athletic playmakers. The Eagles lean heavily on a running game led a pair of powerful backs in seniors Fisher and Anthony Anderson, both of whom weigh well over 200 pounds.

“And we have a big, experienced offensive line,” Fisher said. “They make us look a lot better than we are.”

Wayzata (4-1) started the season with a tight double-overtime victory over Rosemount and then stumbled in a loss at Lakeville South. The Trojans took stock of their play after that and got down to basics, recommitting themselves to a more fundamental approach. Since then, they have looked like the Trojans of years past, ripping off three consecutive comfortable victories heading into tonight’s game.

“That loss was probably the best thing that has happened to us,” Wayzata running back Tanner Bedard said. “It made us all realize how much work we need to do to get back to where we belong.”

The game’s magnitude is not lost on the players.

“We’re 2-2 against them over the last two years,” Eden Prairie tight end Zach Hovey said. “They won in the regular season, we beat them in state. All of those games could have gone either way. We know it’s going to be a dogfight.”

“This is one of those weeks we mark on the calendar,” Wayzata center Matt Beck said. “We work hard every single week to prepare for a game like this.”

If there is one common thread that binds the two teams, it’s respect — for each other and for the game itself.

“Wayzata, we know, has a great program and they always play us tough,” Eden Prairie linebacker Johnny Heller said. “They want to do the same thing to us that we want to do to them: run it down each other’s throats. It’s going to be a smashmouth game. I can’t wait.”

  • related content

  • Wayzata coach Brad Anderson talked to his players before practice. This week is special: preparing to face two-time defending state champ Eden Prairie.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Kansas City - LP: B. Finnegan 4 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: Y. Petit 11
Detroit 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
Carolina
Buffalo 2 FINAL
San Jose 1
Boston 4 FINAL
Toronto 1
NY Rangers 1 FINAL
Montreal 3
New Jersey 3 FINAL(OT)
Ottawa 2
Dallas 5 FINAL
NY Islanders 7
Detroit 2 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Chicago 2 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Pittsburgh 3 FINAL
Nashville 0
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Minnesota 7
Florida 1 FINAL(OT)
Arizona 2
Washington 3 FINAL
Calgary 1
So Florida 17 FINAL
Cincinnati 34
Troy 13 FINAL
South Alabama 27
BYU 30 FINAL
Boise State 55
(6) Oregon 59 FINAL
California 41
North Texas 21 FINAL
Rice 41
UAB 17 FINAL
Arkansas 45
Rutgers 24 FINAL
(16) Nebraska 42
Maryland 7 FINAL
Wisconsin 52
Texas 0 FINAL
(11) Kansas State 23
Minnesota 24 FINAL
Illinois 28
Memphis 48 FINAL
SMU 10
North Carolina 28 FINAL
Virginia 27
San Jose St 31 FINAL
Navy 41
Northern Ill 28 FINAL
Eastern Mich 17
(25) UCLA 40 FINAL
Colorado 37
Akron 21 FINAL
Ball State 35
Massachusetts 35 FINAL
Toledo 42
Ohio U 21 FINAL
Western Mich 42
Ga Southern 69 FINAL
Georgia State 31
Kent State 3 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 10
Oregon State 14 FINAL
Stanford 38
Fla Atlantic 16 FINAL
(23) Marshall 35
Louisiana Tech 31 FINAL
Southern Miss 20
(1) Miss State 45 FINAL
Kentucky 31
Georgia Tech 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 28
(22) West Virginia 34 FINAL
Oklahoma State 10
Texas Tech 27 FINAL
(10) TCU 82
Michigan 11 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 35
Boston College 23 FINAL
Wake Forest 17
Central Mich 20 FINAL
Buffalo 14
Vanderbilt 14 FINAL
Missouri 24
Old Dominion 51 FINAL
Western Ky 66
UNLV 20 FINAL
Utah State 34
Temple 14 FINAL
UCF 34
(15) Arizona 59 FINAL
Washington St 37
Texas-El Paso 34 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 0
Wyoming 31 FINAL
Colorado State 45
Syracuse 6 FINAL
(21) Clemson 16
Texas State 22 FINAL
ULM 18
(3) Ole Miss 7 FINAL
(24) LSU 10
(4) Alabama 34 FINAL
Tennessee 20
So Carolina 35 FINAL
(5) Auburn 42
(13) Ohio State 31 FINAL
Penn State 24
(20) USC 21 FINAL
(19) Utah 24
(14) Arizona State 24 FINAL
Washington 10
Nevada 26 FINAL
Hawaii 18
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Memphis
Purdue 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
(17) Oklahoma 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa State
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(22) West Virginia
Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
Northwestern 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
Army
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
FIU
(18) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Temple
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Connecticut
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Miami-Florida
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Syracuse
Texas State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico St
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
(20) USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Louisiana
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UNLV
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(5) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(1) Miss State
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(6) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(7) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Navy
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(15) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(19) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(14) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Hawaii
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
Seattle 2
D.C. 1 FINAL
Montreal 1
Toronto FC 0 FINAL
New England 1
Portland 2 FINAL
FC Dallas 0
Colorado 0 FINAL
Vancouver FC 1
Montreal 23 FINAL
Ottawa 17
Saskatchewan 27 FINAL
Calgary 40
Hamilton 24 FINAL
Toronto 26
Brt Columbia 28 FINAL
Winnipeg 23

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings do Sunday in Tampa Bay?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close