Hometown teams open in balanced win-loss fashion

Coon Rapids kicked off its 2012 football season with a resounding 48-6 loss to Totino-Grace last night (Thursday, Aug. 30). But Cardinal Nation’s not about to give up.

Cardinal quarterback Alex Boxwell (7) runs into the endzone with 6.41 remaining in the third quarter of last night’s home opener against Totino-Grace. Boxwell’s touchdown would be Coon Rapids’ only score in their 48-6 loss to the Eagles. Photo by Sue Austreng

Cardinal quarterback Alex Boxwell (7) runs into the endzone with 6.41 remaining in the third quarter of last night’s home opener against Totino-Grace. Boxwell’s touchdown would be Coon Rapids’ only score in their 48-6 loss to the Eagles. Photo by Sue Austreng

Head coach Jon Young described the game as a valuable demonstration of football’s true-life lessons.

“You cannot turn the ball over, have lack of effort, miss tackles, or have assignment miscues against great teams or they will make you pay.  Great teams don’t make those mistakes,” Young said.

The Cardinals’ second half play on the field was encouraging, Young said.

“We grew up a little bit in the second half and showed signs of life improvement,” he said.

But before promising improvement was demonstrated late in the game, Coon Rapids quarterback Alex Boxwell threw four interceptions resulting in four Eagles touchdowns in the first half – two of those returned to the end zone by Totino’s defensive back Ben Mezzenga.

“Those interceptions were a combination of solid cornerback play by Totino, poor route running by Coon Rapids and not seeing through the play by our quarterback,” Young said.

The head coach vowed to have the team review film and discover the areas of breakdown in last night’s game.

“The turnovers, decision making, lack of effort at times and poor footwork are all correctable,” said Young, describing the game plan to refocus and prepare for the Cardinals’ Sept. 7 game at Minnetonka.

Other Eagles touchdowns last night came on running plays into the end zone in the arms of fullback Kai Barber, halfback Mason Kaliszewski and halfback Carlton Djam. Eagles quarterback AJ LaPanta completed a pass to wide receiver Charlie Miller for another Totino first half touchdown.

Coon Rapids held Totino scoreless in the second half, while in the third quarter, Boxwell carried the ball into the end zone for the Cardinals’ only touchdown of the game.

“A huge positive was that the kids were able to re-energize themselves for the second half, find a way to continue playing hard, experience success on offense and defense and not quit,” Young said.

 

Notes from the sidelines

Other Northwest Suburban Conference and North Suburban Conference 2012 season openers had Blaine at Elk River, Park Center at Anoka, Andover at Edina and North Branch at Spring Lake Park last night (Thursday, Aug. 30). The final season opener for local teams has St. Francis at Irondale this evening (Friday, Aug. 31) for a 7 p.m. kick-off.

Those results are as follows:

 

Blaine 28, Elk River 14

Blaine’s junior quarterback Alex Copa threw two touchdown passes and ran into the end zone for the Bengals’ two additional touchdowns. Copa totaled 20 carries for 116 yards and 11 completions in 20 attempts for 73 passing yards.

 

Park Center 12, Anoka 34

(Game stats and notes for this game were not available before posting time today.)

 

Andover 23, Edina 24

Andover started the game out strong with two touchdowns in the first quarter. It was scoreless in the second quarter before entering the end zone in the third quarter and scoring a safety in the fourth. Quarterback Connor Wilkie completed a touchdown pass to tight end Alec Daniel. Next Wilkie completed a pass to wide receiver Chris Larson. Wilkie threw a pass to wide receiver Justin Freyholtz for the Huskies’ final touchdown of their season opener.

 

North Branch 7, Spring Lake Park 55

The Panthers scored on every possession of the first half and led 55-0 at halftime. Spring Lake Park defense did not give up a single first down in the first half of their opener. Coach Jeff Schlieff said his defense was led by Daulton Olinger, Ejodamen Ejiya and Gabe Dahl. Quarterback CJ Janu and running back Jared Evans led Panther offense in the charge down field for their impressive season opener over North Branch.

Sue Austreng is at
sue.austreng@ecm-inc.com

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