From Matt Lombardi's perspective, it was far from perfect. To just about everybody else, it appeared pretty darn close.

Maple Grove jumped out to a quick early lead, stumbled a bit, then regained its balance with a 29-point onslaught after halftime to pull away from Osseo for a 45-7 season-opening victory at Maple Grove.

Lombardi, the Maple Grove head coach, is an astute judge of potential. He took it slow a year ago, watching his team methodically build momentum that carried it to within a whisker of a state championship, falling to Lakeville South in the Prep Bowl.

He's not so cautious this year. He knows what his team is capable of. He just has to make sure there are no missteps along the way.

"I feel like we're a big-time work in progress," Lombardi said. "I don't feel like our personnel is close to what it's going to be come playoff time."

The Crimson took the opening kickoff and looked in midseason form right out of the gate, going 77 yards in nine plays for a quick 7-0 lead, which they boosted to 9-0 with a Cayden Vokal tackle for loss in the end zone soon after.

After a brief spurt of unexpected hijinks that allowed Osseo to cut the lead to 9-7, Maple Grove regained the lead 16-7 just before halftime on Jordan Olagbaju's second scoring run of the first half.

The floodgates opened on mistake-prone Osseo in the third quarter.

Maple Grove quarterback Jacob Kilzer recovered well enough from first-half cramps to throw a letter-perfect 39-yard scoring strike to tight end Sam Peters after Osseo fumbled after halftime.

"I was throwing up in the first half," Kilzer said. "I had a problem with cramping last year, so I drank too much water this year. I threw it all up and then I still got cramps."

He laughed and said: "Me and the trainer will have to get it worked out."

Maple Grove also got a pair of touchdown runs from slot back Charlie Rausch, and defensive end Ben Jameson capped a strong all-around evening by recovering a fumbled punt snap in the end zone. Jameson also had a sack, another fumble recovery and kicked six touchbacks on kickoffs — as Maple Grove found plenty of ways to dominate, all thanks to Osseo miscues.

"When you have a big run like that, it's because of your defense." Lombardi said. "I was proud of that in the second half. Our D caused a short field, and that gave us a chance to go in and do some things."