by Tom Yelle

Coon Rapids boosted its record to 3-0 in the Northwest Suburban Conference with a 23-7 late Friday afternoon win over Anoka .

Ball control was the key to the Coon Rapids ‘ win, ball control that featured an efficient mixture of runs and passes to the tune of more than 330 yards. Junior running back Antonio Ford, who sat out the season’s first two games recuperating from a preseason knee injury, rushed for more than 100 of those yards and junior Mo Ward was just under that figure.

Whether it was a Ford or Ward run or an Alex Aase pass to Malcom Farley, Coon Rapids was always on the move and in seemingly in possession of the ball in this contest. In the third and fourth quarters alone, Coon Rapids had the ball for nearly 18 minutes of the 24-minute half.

And for the third straight week the Coon Rapids defense also shared the spotlight.

While defensive back Elliot Barquest came up with a pair of second-quarter interceptions of Anoka quarterback Ben Britton, the unit as a whole did what it had done against Park Center and Armstrong in the second half — not yield a point!

Capping it all off and helping to punctuate the team defensive effort was a fourth-quarter fumble recovery by junior lineman Tanner Lowe. The play stopped Anoka ‘s last attempt to get back into the game.

Coon Rapids scored the first time it had the football. Following an Anoka punt, Coon Rapids went on a 10-play, 55-yard drive that was capped by an Aase quarterback sneak. This afforded the Cardinals a 6-0 opening lead.

Anoka drove back 80 yards to gain the tying touchdown — a Josh Werness run on fourth down from inside the 1-yard line — and with a Tim Strueve extra point kick took the lead 7-6 just before the second quarter began.

Still charged up from its opening touchdown drive, however, the Coon Rapids offense picked up where it had left off the first time it owned the football and drove another 65 yards up the field into the end zone. The final six yards were picked up by Ford through the middle and a Josh Hrab extra point made it 13-7.

Hrab, who was wide on his first extra point kick, was wide later in the first half on an attempted 32-yard field goal. This miss followed a long Coon Rapids drive that stalled out on fourth down inside the 10-yard line.

It did not matter, however.

The back-to-back Barquest interceptions late in the first half, an overall tightening of the defensive scheme during the second half, a successful third-quarter 31-yard field goal booted by Hrab and a fourth-quarter, fourth-down trick play from the 17-yard line — a running back touchdown pass from Shaquille Theus to Bill Holder — all helped deliver Coon Rapids ‘ 16-point win.


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