In the lulls between the hurricane-like deluges Saturday night, Eden Prairie and Totino-Grace managed to get in a little football. Some of it was sloppy, as expected of a season opener. Some was superb. Mostly, it was just long.
When it was finally over shortly before 11 p.m., 3½ hours after it started, visiting Eden Prairie rode the momentum of a 24-point second-half blitz in Fridley for a 38-20 victory, its 31st in a row.
As long as the game was — it started 15 minutes late and was delayed by lightning in the area just before halftime for 1 hour, 45 minutes — it's safe to say Eden Prairie lineman Connor Novak-Goar would have preferred the night never end.
Novak-Goar had not one but two chances for glory with the ball in his hands. He intercepted a screen pass in the first half and returned it 40 yards, setting up Eden Prairie's first touchdown.
In the second half, he covered a fumble by teammate T.J. Conrad in the end zone for a score of his own.
"I've never actually scored a touchdown before," Novak-Goar said. "I'm kind of in shock, really. I didn't do anything special. I just played football, did my job, and it turned out to be a great night."
The first half lived up to the billing of the rematch of the 2014 Class 6A championship. Totino-Grace went 80 yards in 11 plays, capped by a 4-yard run by junior quarterback Kyle Halverson, to take a quick 7-0 lead.
That lead stood until late in the second quarter as both teams worked out kinks. What followed was a game-changing flurry of points — very Eden Prairie-ish.
After Novak-Goar's interception and the ensuing touchdown, Eden Prairie's J.D. Spielman snatched a tipped pass and returned it 41 yards for a touchdown. Despite only 56 yards of total offense and two fumbles, Eden Prairie had scored twice in 17 seconds and led 14-7.
Totino-Grace showed resiliency on its next drive, going 58 yards on 10 plays, overcoming four penalties. It pulled within one when Gayflor Flomo scored a 7-yard touchdown.
Then came rain and lightning, even before the extra point was attempted, and the weather delay.
When play resumed, Eden Prairie picked up where it left off. Totino-Grace, which finished with six turnovers and one first down after halftime, did not.