Coach Matt Lombardi's grand plan has been simmering long enough. After running past Prior Lake 42-21, it's apparent that the Crimson is close to the finished product that Lombardi envisioned when the season began.
"I have never had a team come as far in one season as this one has," Lombardi said. "We still have a little work to do, especially on special teams, and figure out some things on defense, but this team has gotten confident. It's very close to where we want to be."
With Isaac Collins in the Crimson backfield, it's easy to see where Lombardi's assessment came from. The lightning-quick senior running back rushed for a career-high five touchdowns behind a dominant offensive line.
Collins gained more than 100 yards on the ground, often finding room to run where it appeared none existed.
"He's a special player," Lombardi said. "And the thing that makes a difference is how unbelievably physical he is for a player his size."
Maple Grove took a quick 13-0 lead, only to see Prior Lake strike back with two touchdowns for a 14-13 second-quarter lead.
The Crimson regained the lead for good with a 35-yard field goal by Tyler Knutson, the beginning of what would be 23 consecutive points spanning the second and third quarters.
"We were clicking on all cylinders tonight," Collins said. "The offensive linemen were giving me great holes and I learned last year that when the hole is there, you have to hit it hard and go north and south."