A much-anticipated showdown between the top two teams quickly became one-sided.

By DAVID La VAQUE, Star Tribune

Late in a first half that saw Wayzata’s defense flush, flummox and flatten him, Blaine quarterback Eric Kline once again found himself on the run.

Forced to his left with Trojans’ defenders in hot pursuit and clawing at the football in his right hand, Kline switched the ball to his left hand while trying to get out of bounds — one more case of him acting out of desperation rather than design.

Blitzing Wayzata defenders shut down the state’s best dual threat quarterback and turned a meeting of the state’s two best teams into a rout. Defensive pressure and four Aaron Roth touchdowns pushed No. 1 Wayzata (9-0) to a 34-0 victory in Friday’s Class 5A state tournament quarterfinal at Osseo.

“Eric had guys in his face all night,” Blaine coach Shannon Gerrety said. “I felt bad for him. That was a different level of football tonight.”

Heading into Friday, No. 2 Blaine’s (10-1) spread offense averaged 38.1 points per game. One possession against Wayzata indicated the Bengals’ attack would come up short of the mark. Kline got sacked twice, forcing him into his duties as Blaine’s punter. New role, same result. Wayzata’s special teams put a rush on and tackled Kline at the Bengals’ 18-yard line. Kline, who accounted for 3,002 total yards and 34 touchdowns this season, was held to 27 yards rushing on 22 carries and completed 9 of 14 passes for 59 yards and two interceptions.

“Tonight was our night,” Wayzata coach Brad Anderson said. “We jumped on them early. Our defense isn’t big but they fly around and get after it.”

Blaine moved the ball on its next possession as Kline completed a 15-yard pass, then broke off a 13-yard run to Wayzata’s 39-yard line. The Trojans called timeout then held serve for three plays to force another Bengals’ punt. Wayzata’s offense drove 80 yards for a second touchdown and 13-0 lead.

Two more sacks from the Trojans’ defense stifled Blaine’s next drive. Using a three-man front with one or two blitzing players off the edge, Wayzata kept the Bengals going backward en route to the Trojans’ third consecutive shutout.

“Our defensive coordinator Matt Lombardi is a mad scientist,” Anderson said. “He dreams schemes up at night.”

Members of the Wayzata crowd felt their wildest dreams come true when the public address announcer notified them of losses by six-time state champion Eden Prairie and defending state champion Cretin-Derham Hall.

“We’ll celebrate this one tonight and we’ll worry about what’s ahead tomorrow,” said a smiling Anderson.


Highlight video of the Blaine vs Wayzata playoff game courtesy of Coon Rapids Sports on YouTube


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