Benilde halts Panthers five-game winning streak

Spring Lake Park had to regroup quickly after its five-game winning streak was snapped in a 31-28 regular season finale loss to Benilde-St. Margaret’s at Panthers Stadium Oct. 16.

Spring Lake Park’s Grant Walter, middle, tries to spin away from Benilde-St. Margaret’s tacklers in a 31-28 loss to the Red Knights in what was the North Suburban Conference championship game Oct. 16.

Spring Lake Park’s Grant Walter, middle, tries to spin away from Benilde-St. Margaret’s tacklers in a 31-28 loss to the Red Knights in what was the North Suburban Conference championship game Oct. 16.

The North Suburban Conference will fold at the end of the school year, giving Benilde-St. Margaret’s the final conference football title. Spring Lake Park has won the championship several times.

The Panthers finished with a 3-2 record, tied with Fridley and Irondale behind Benilde’s 4-1 record.

Spring Lake Park allowed a season-high 31 points and trailed 17-14 at the half after Benilde’s Samuel Lynch returned a kick-off 85 yards for a touchdown.

Spring Lake Park’s rushing attack responded with a pair of touchdowns by Richie Toweh and Grant Walter on runs of 48 and 13 yards, respectively.

After driving the field for a three-yard touchdown in the second quarter, the Red Knights ended the half with a 32-yard field goal to take the one-score lead into the break.

Spring Lake Park senior running back Ejodamen Ejiya, middle, ran for a game-high 188 yards and one score in a 31-28 loss to Benilde-St. Margaret’s Oct. 16.

Spring Lake Park senior running back Ejodamen Ejiya, middle, ran for a game-high 188 yards and one score in a 31-28 loss to Benilde-St. Margaret’s Oct. 16. Photo by Bill Jones

Walter returned the kick-off favor in the second half with an 81-yard return of his own for Spring Lake Park to retake the lead 21-17.

But Benilde senior quarterback Keaton Studsrud threw for a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns, including a 62-yard catch-and-run by Lynch, for a 31-21 lead. Panthers senior captain Eji Ejiya scored from 14 yards out to cut the lead to within one score, 31-28.

Ejiya led the Panthers with 188 yards on 17 carries. Walter had 88 yards on 18 carries and Toweh gave the offense a three-headed attack with 70 yards on nine carries.

Ejiya, a starting linebacker alongside Toweh and Walter on defense, had a team-high 19 tackles and two sacks. Antonio Zepada had 11 tackles and Panthers kicker Danny Chelbeck went four for four on extra point attempts.

Spring Lake Park received the No. 4 seed in Section 4AAAAA and hosted No. 5 Robbinsdale Cooper Oct. 22. The winner traveled to top seed Mahtomedi Oct. 25.

 

Jason Olson is at
jason.olson@ecm-inc.com

up arrow