Life intervened and caused me to miss the start of this game and when I finally got set up it was late in the first quarter with Anoka leading 3-0.  The Tornadoes had the ball again after a missed field goal attempt from Champlin Park.  Last week Anoka really struggled to move the ball with any consistency on the ground and it was more of the same Friday night against the Rebels.  Complicating matters even more was the fact that it was also raining and that made it difficult to throw the football.  As a result Champlin Park controlled the football for most of the game.

Leading 3-0 in the first quarter and the ball at mid-field facing a 4th and long Anoka was set to punt the ball away.  I don’t know if this was by design but the Anoka punter received the low snap to his left and decided to take off running.  This proved to be a bad idea as he lost his footing while trying to avoid a tackle and fell to the ground turning the ball over to Champlin Park with very good field position.  And the Rebels would make them pay.  Sophomore running back Michael Sales, coming off a strong game against Conference newcomer Robbinsdale Armstrong, took a handoff and rumbled off-tackle down the sideline for 28 yards to the Anoka 16 yard line.  Anoka held serve from there but on 4th down Sales took a direct snap from center, strolled to his right, and hit a wide open Travis Swan (Sr) who slashed his way into the endzone for a 15-yard touchdown.  A short touchdown run by Sales later in the 2nd quarter put Champlin Park up 12-3 with a few minutes to go in the first half.

Anoka responded with their best drive of the half marching down the field quickly thanks to a couple of long runs from fullback Josh Werness (Sr).  Quarterback Ben Britton (Sr) finished the drive by sneaking it in closing the gap to 12-10 at the half.

First half highlights courtesy of Coon Rapids Sports on YouTube

Michael Sales changed his jersey at halftime but it was more of the same in the second half.  A few runs from Sales, who finished with 169 yards rushing, pushed Champlin Park into Anoka territory on the opening drive and then they turned to the element of surprise.  With the Anoka defense keying on Sales the Rebels gave the ball to fullback Jake Luukkenen (Jr) who sprinted up the gut 31 yards for a score increasing their lead to 18-10.  The score remained that way into the fourth quarter.

From Anoka’s 27 yard line Sales received a swing pass and ran up the sideline.  Seeing some congestion ahead he did his best “Reggie Bush” impression by leaping over a pile and easing his way to the end zone.  With the score, and subsequent 2-point conversion, Champlin Park cemented the victory and climbed to 2-0 in the Northwest Suburban conference.  Anoka would score a late touchdown but failed on their 2-point conversion attempt and their onside kick attempt making the final score 26-16.

Second half highlights courtesy of Coon Rapids Sports on YouTube

Champlin Park has their stiffest test of the season so far next week as they travel to Blaine to face the unbeaten (2-0) Bengals.  Anoka makes their way to Coon Rapids for a 5:00pm game against the unbeaten (2-0) Cardinals.


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