Success with the spread

New Prior Lake offensive coordinator Mark Esch brings a wide-open spread formation to a traditionally button-down, albeit successful, Lakers approach.

Esch stepped down as Mankato West's head coach in 2016 after 11 seasons, nine state tournament appearances and two Prep Bowl titles (2008, 2014). His teams, led by dual-threat quarterbacks such as Ray Teachout, Philip Nelson and Ryan Schlichte, were known for scoring points in bunches. Prior Lake, meanwhile, ranked last in points per game (21.7) among last season's eight Class 6A state tournament qualifiers.

"He's battle-tested," Prior Lake head coach Matt Gegenheimer said. "He's very good at taking what a defense gives him and he gets after it."

David La Vaque