The Spring Lake Park Panthers continue their powerful prowl on the football field.
Winning 32-13 when then-undefeated Irondale visited Panther field Oct. 5, the Panthers extended their winning streak to six, cemeting their current No. 2 rank in Class 5A and hanging on to the Block Trophy, a prize that symbolizes the rivalry established between the neighboring teams.
Perhaps most impressive was junior running back Eji Ejiya’s performance on the field last Friday evening – he had 19 carries for 241 yards in the game.
“We’ve had a good season so far. We’ve got a great group of seniors, hard working kids that are dedicated to the program and each other,” head coach Jeff Schlieff said the day following his team’s latest victory.
Irondale entered the end zone first, but Spring Lake Park came back strong, scoring 32 unanswered points.
“Irondale came out tough,” Schlieff said. “Stopped us and then scored first. We came back at the end of the first quarter.”
Panther defense played tough – free safety Grant Walter had two big interceptions – and before halftime the home team’s offense had a nice 12-play drive capped off by Ejiya’s 21-yard run to put the Panthers up 12-7 at the half.
In the third quarter, linebacker Gabe Dahl broke a 45-yard reverse for a touchdown. Then, two plays later, Ejiya socred on a 68-yard run.
In the fourth, linebacker Jerod Evans plunged in to the end zone from the one-yard line for the Panthers’ final score.
Chisago Lakes is up next for the Panthers, and Schlieff expects a well-matched opponent.
“Chisago has a good football team with many kids returning. It is a lot like our team,” Schlieff said. “They run the option and play good defense. We are taking the approach that we need to improve every day and keep getting better. Our motto this week is to improve one percent every day.”
Notes from the sidelines
Other Oct. 5 Northwest Suburban and North Suburban Conference games played out like this:
Andover 12, Totino-Grace 14
Anoka 42, Coon Rapids 14
Blaine 27, Champlin Park 28
St. Francis 22, Robbinsdale Cooper 34
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