Going into last Friday’s game against Wayzata, Eden Prairie’s Zach Hovey had all of one catch this season. Not what one would expect of a tight end with nine Division I football offers on the table.
Hovey, though, cares little about such statistics. The No. 1, Class 6A Eagles have rolled through the regular season, winning all six of their games by an average of 27 points per game.
“It really doesn’t matter to me how many catches I have,” said the 6-5, 235-pound Hovey, who boosted his season total to three catches after hauling in two passes against Wayzata. “I just want to win.”
Staff writer Jim Paulsen spoke with Hovey on Sunday, two days after Eden Prairie’s 49-14 victory over Wayzata.
Q: How does it feel looking back on a victory over your biggest rival?
A: Watching film the next day, to be honest, it felt good but not as good as it felt that night. When you factored out their mental mistakes [Wayzata had five turnovers in the first half], it was a close game. It was a great win, but you could see a lot of places where we could improve.
Q: Is that something that makes Eden Prairie so good, not being satisfied?
A: The whole point is to get better and better as the season goes along. Don’t get me wrong, our defense did an unbelievable job stripping the football and creating turnovers. But I’m excited to see that we can improve.
Q: What sets Eden Prairie apart?
A: I think our coaching staff is one of the best in the nation. Coach [Mike] Grant is not a screamer or yeller like you see on “Friday Night Lights.” He really gets with the kids one-on-one and gets the best out of them. In practice, we spend our time learning what we need to do. We don’t hit as much as other teams. We know Monday practice doesn’t matter as much as Friday games.
Q: You did catch two passes in the game. That must have felt nice.
A: It did. I was pretty excited about that. But winning is most important. If running the ball is the best way to win, I’m fine.
Q: What are your responsibilities other than catching passes?