Coming into its Lake Conference crossover game, Anoka knew a win at No. 2 ranked Wayzata would be a tall task. The Trojans led 56-0 at the half on their way to a 56-28 win Thursday night.
Tornadoes quarterback Travis Bengston and running back Reid Lindsay each scored twice in the second half. Bengston had a 25-yard score late in the third quarter and Lindsay has 124 yards rushing.
While the four touchdowns came against Wayzata’s backup players, Tornadoes coach Jeff Buerkle said the team gained valuable game experience, despite the one-sided outcome, after Andover handed Anoka a 42-17 loss in the Goodrich Field opener last week.
“We felt this stretch against Andover and Wayzata would be very tough for us and the good news is that we didn’t have any major injuries from it,” he said. “No we’re looking forward to what’s coming next for us.”
Anoka’s defense has given up 98 points the last two weeks after allowing 13 points at Park Center in a 44-13 opener.
“Andover was better than we expected them to be and they’re the best Andover team we’ve played,” Buerkle said. “They beat us handily and they were ready to play.”
With one less day between games, Buerkle said his team was able to put the Andover contest behind them even sooner. “It was nice to get back out there and one more game under our belt,” he said.
Based on the last two weeks, Buerkle said he talked with the coaching staff about pulling the first teamers in the second half at Wayzata, but felt the experience was worth keeping them in the game.
One of those first teamers was sophomore tackle Jesse Heifort, who started his first game for the Tornadoes after Brandon Olson sat out another week with an injury.
Senior running back Connor Nikolaus was kept out of the game against Wayzata after experiencing concussion-like symptoms following the Andover game. Given the short week, Buerkle and the training staff decided to error on the side of caution after his physician cleared Nikolaus to resume activity two days after the game.
Anoka’s first-team defense also stayed in the game to gain experience until the fourth quarter. Buerkle liked the play from seniors Zach Eenhuis (linebacker) and strong safety Steven Barthold. “It was one of those games you manage to not get your starters beat-up because we still have a full [six game] season [or more] left,” Buerkle said.
“We’re in a situation where if we play well and don’t make mistakes, we’ll be competitive… We have to play almost perfect to win and we aren’t going to comeback from 21 points down.”
Buerkle said the concern is depth beyond the starters. “If we can stay healthy we can compete,” he said.
This week Anoka returns home to face Centennial (2-1), which has wins against Elk River and Armstrong after losing to a very good Osseo team 21-6 in the opener.
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