Defense starts Lakeville North football's title quest

  • Article by: BRYCE EVANS , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 12, 2014 - 3:59 PM

Lakeville North doesn’t just want to reach the football state tournament this season.

 

Teams win through preparation, Lakeville North middle linebacker Jesse Cardenas said. They win during the hours spent in the weight room or the final drill of a two-a-day practice.

“Win at everything you do” — that’s the Panthers’ motto, Cardenas said.

“It’s on and off the field, having the right mindset, the right work ethic, the right character,” he said. “We know we have the chance for something special, and we’re going to do everything we can to put ourselves in that position.”

That position is in the Class 6A Prep Bowl this fall.

After three consecutive trips to the state tournament and returning what could prove to be the metro’s best defense, Lakeville North has its sights set on the school’s first state championship since the district split Lakeville High School into North and South in 2004.

As with any team with championship aspirations, it will be the journey to get there that will define this Panthers group, coach Brian Vossen said. The closeness of the team’s defense is already starting to write that definition.

“We’re like brothers,” said Jordan Cardenas, a free safety and identical twin brother of Jesse Cardenas. “We know where each other are on the field. We know that each guy is going to do his job. It makes it really easy. We trust each other.”

The Cardenas twins are among the eight returning starters, all seniors, on defense. Between them, outside linebacker Tristyn Hanson and a slew of other talented defenders, Vossen said, Lakeville North could have its most Division I-caliber players on one team at one time.

Talent, though, won’t be enough. Hanson said the road to a state title still “goes through Eden Prairie,” the three-time big-school champions who ended the Panthers’ season in each of the last two state tournaments. Lakeville North competes in the South Suburban Conference, which Hanson considers to be the toughest in the state.

“We have to be focused on getting better every single day, because the days we’re not, those other teams are,” Hanson said.

The Panthers have been working out each week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and holding an informal practice once a week. There are also passing leagues and recruiting camps. Some players, like the Cardenas twins, work with personal trainers as well.

“They’re putting in a lot of work, but it’s not all football all the time,” Vossen said. “We’re only actually practicing football about an hour a week. The rest is just them trying to get better and improve and work.”

And build team chemistry, Hanson said.

Both Hanson and Jesse Cardenas were a part of Lakeville North’s 2012 Prep Bowl runner-up squad as sophomores. The biggest thing they learned from that experience, Cardenas said, was the tightness of that group.

“They never slacked off and they played for each other,” he said. “That’s what we’re trying to do this year. I mean, getting to play with my brother and my best friends is amazing. We’re all doing this together, and that’s what makes all the hard work worth it.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets 4 FINAL
St. Louis 5
Pittsburgh 4 FINAL
Minnesota 2
St. Louis 1 FINAL
Washington 1
Boston - LP: C. Buchholz 2 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: J. Teheran 4
NY Yankees 10 FINAL
Philadelphia 0
Tampa Bay 0 Cancelled
Baltimore 0
Detroit 1 FINAL
Toronto 4
Chicago WSox 3 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 6
Texas 6 FINAL
Oakland 7
Cleveland 2 FINAL
Arizona 3
Arizona 7 FINAL
LA Angels 2
Miami 0 Cancelled
Houston 0
Seattle - LP: J. Paxton 1 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 5
San Francisco 8 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Colorado 5 FINAL
San Diego 7
Milwaukee 8 FINAL
Cincinnati 6
Detroit 111 FINAL
Orlando 97
LA Clippers 119 FINAL
Philadelphia 98
Charlotte 107 FINAL
Washington 110
Boston 96 FINAL
New York 92
Cleveland 98 FINAL
Brooklyn 106
LA Lakers 83 FINAL
Toronto 94
Miami 86 FINAL
Atlanta 99
Golden State 107 FINAL
Memphis 84
Sacramento 88 FINAL
New Orleans 102
Minnesota 110 FINAL
Houston 120
Dallas 76 FINAL
San Antonio 94
Utah 91 FINAL
Denver 107
Portland 87 FINAL
Phoenix 81
Calgary 2 FINAL
Minnesota 4
Columbus 5 FINAL
Chicago 2
Dallas 0 FINAL
Edmonton 4
UCLA 62 FINAL
Gonzaga 74
NC State 65 FINAL
Louisville 75
Utah 57 FINAL
Duke 63
Kent State 73 FINAL
Northern Ariz 74
Michigan State 62 FINAL
Oklahoma 58
(15) North Carolina 65 FINAL
(3) South Carolina 67
(18) Iowa 66 FINAL
(5) Baylor 81
(9) Arizona State 65 FINAL
(7) Florida State 66
(14) Stanford 60 FINAL
(2) Notre Dame 81

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Will Major League Soccer be successful in Minnesota?

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