Spring Lake Park needed just 10 seconds to build an insurmountable lead over Suburban District rival Park Center. But its offense, especially the running game, was rumbling all night. The Panthers consistently ran the ball for positive yardage and benefited from four Park Center turnovers. Quarterback Zachary Ojile scored a 2-yard rushing touchdown, and running back Luke Stafford scored twice, as Spring Lake Park scored 21 unanswered points in the second half.
Ojile's score came late in the third quarter and capped an eight-play, 60-yard drive. Stafford scored on a fumbled kickoff 10 seconds later, and Ojile connected with Jacob Levahn for a 27-yard touchdown early in the fourth. Stafford scored a 6-yard rushing touchdown on the Panthers' first drive after a Park Center fumble. The Pirates responded in the second quarter with an 11-yard rushing score by Iowa recruit Amani Hooker after a muffed punt by Spring Lake Park.
Key of the game: Stafford's fumble recovery. It was his second score of the night and put Spring Lake Park up 21-7. The game was the senior's first full varsity game.
Quote: "Running backs on this team, they get all the glory, but really it starts at the line," Stafford said.
One thing to know: Spring Lake Park tried three passes, including the touchdown score. That was three more than it attempted in its 28-21 victory over Chaska on Aug. 22.