By DAVID La VAQUE, Star Tribune

As if the final outcome, a 42-7 loss to then-No. 5 Blaine on Oct. 1, wasn’t bad enough, Coon Rapids football coach Jon Young saw something more startling while analyzing game film.

“We got down 14-7 in the first quarter and some kids had already shut down,” Young said. “I saw guys moping around. I was upset with our body language.”

In hopes of reviving players’ spirits, Young and the coaching staff began preparations for the next game by reminding players of the oath they took before the season — a pledge to stick together and play for one another.

“It was just a rededication,” Young said. “We didn’t want to lose to Blaine twice.”

Coon Rapids, which started the season 3-0, recaptured its winning ways with a 21-7 victory against No. 7 Andover. The Cardinals broke a 7-7 tie with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

“It was good to see the kids buy in,” Young said.

Leading the charge was junior running back Antonio Ford, who returned to form by carrying 30 times for 156 yards and three touchdowns. A knee injury caused Ford to miss the first two games this season and make a gradual return to full speed.

“He ran angry against Andover,” Young said. “He trusts his knee now, so the sky is the limit.”

Ford and fellow junior Maurice Ward have combined for more than 1,000 yards rushing so far this season.


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