Between two early turnovers and strong play from opposing quarterback Bennett Otto, conventional wisdom suggested that St. Michael-Albertville faced a big challenge Friday at undefeated Champlin Park. But running back Desean Phillips was so impressive that the turnovers and Otto's pinpoint throws didn't matter.
Phillips rushed for 275 yards and three touchdowns as St. Michael-Albertville topped the Rebels 35-20 to bounce back from an 0-2 start to the season while Champlin Park fell to 2-1.
"This game we kind of all put it together," Phillips said. "We started off a little rough, but I think we picked it up as the game went on."
Two minutes after Otto floated an 81-yard touchdown pass to receiver Kato Seley, Phillips responded with a big play of his own. He powered through several defenders for a 59-yard touchdown.
Later, Otto threw a fourth-down touchdown pass to trim the lead to one point. Phillips responded with another series of powerful runs and capped off the drive with a 3-yard touchdown rush.
In the fourth quarter, Phillips led the Knights on a long drive that ended with his final touchdown — refusing to let his team start the year 0-3, even in the face of turnovers and an elite quarterback.
"This is a really big win for us," Phillips said. "This win right here will carry us and hype us up."