Trojans battle through football injuries

Sports Editor

Wayzata faces Edina this week

A 96-yard touchdown run by junior quarterback Aaron Syverson propelled the Minnetonka High football team to a 21-6 victory over Wayzata in the annual battle for the Bay Bell Sept. 8 at Wayzata High Stadium.

With Wayzata leading 6-0 early in the second quarter, Syverson’s offensive line cleared the path to paydirt.

“I couldn’t believe how big the hole was,” said Syverson. “I was tired by the end of the run, but the best part came at the end when I saw all my teammates running down to celebrate with me.”

How did the long touchdown compare to other great moments in Syverson’s football career?

“It was by far my longest run,” he said.

While Syverson had 190 yards rushing on 15 carries, senior halfback Adam Livingston emerged as the Skippers’ offensive workhorse. He carried the football 23 times for 97 yards behind Tonka’s big offensive line.

“I got beat up quite a bit by the Wayzata defense,” said Livingston. “But I kept getting back up. The offensive line played a great game tonight. The main thing is we got the W.”

Wayzata sophomore quarterback Carter Tibbits (12) tries to escape Minnetonka tackler Logan Gerring-Elliot during Minnetonka’s 21-6 victory over the Trojans Sept. 8 at Wayzata High Stadium. (Sun Sailor photo by John Sherman)
Wayzata sophomore quarterback Carter Tibbits (12) tries to escape Minnetonka tackler Logan Gerring-Elliot during Minnetonka’s 21-6 victory over the Trojans Sept. 8 at Wayzata High Stadium. (Sun Sailor photo by John Sherman)

Aside from the offensive highlights provided by Syverson and Livingston, junior wide receiver Mitch Klass had a big game for Tonka, throwing a 15-yard touchdown pass to senior Eric Douville and scoring on a 17-yard pass play from Syverson.

Minnetonka’s gang-tackling defense was led by senior defensive end James VanHorne and senior linebacker Ty Barron.

Minnetonka head coach Dave Nelson, whose team improved to 2-0, said, “Our kids were ready. For Wayzata, it’s hard when your quarterback is injured.”

Junior Keaton Heide, who led the Trojans to a 28-27 win over Rosemount in the season opener, missed the Minnetonka game with a foot injury. He is out indefinitely.

While Nelson acknowledged that Wayzata was hurt by the injury to Heide, plus other injuries, he didn’t want to take anything away from his team’s performance.

“We ran the ball well and tackled well,” he said. “I wish we could have finished two or three more drives, but we beat a good football team 21-6.”

Wayzata head coach Lambert Brown said, “When you have injuries, the next man has to be ready. We weren’t able to keep our defense off the field, and on Minnetonka’s last drive [which took up the majority of the fourth quarter], we couldn’t get the stop when we needed it.”

The standout player for Wayzata was 6-foot, 200-pound senior linebacker Calem Eugene, who led his club with 16 tackles.

“Calem gives us a great effort on every play,” said Brown. “His motor is always on.”

Sophomore running back Christian Vasser was another standout for the Trojans. He scored their only touchdown on a 1-yard dive in the first quarter. For the game, he had 13 rushes for 56 yards.

Senior back Deshawn Cockrell had eight rushes for 36 yards.

Nathan Roth was Wayzata’s leading receiver with three catches for 25 yards.

Next for Minnetonka is a game against Maple Grove. The kick-off is set for 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15, at Minnetonka’s Einer Anderson Stadium.

While there is no such thing as a make-or-break game the third week of the season, this is certainly a pivotal game for Minnetonka.

Wayzata will try to move back above .500 when it plays Edina (2-0) at 7 p.m. on Friday night at Edina’s Kuhlman Field. Edina’s Ryan Meyer threw three touchdown passes in Edina’s 20-17 victory at Rosemount Friday, Sept. 8.

With Heide nursing his injury, Wayzata’s other two quarterbacks, junior Mario LoPesio and sophomore Carter Tibbits, will do the best to move the chains.

“Edina is no break in our schedule,” said coach Brown. “We have to be ready each week. I have known their coach, Derrin Lamker, for a while, and I know his team will play hard.
“We lost to a good Minnetonka team, but our effort was good. Our guys played hard the whole way. When we play good teams, we have to make more plays.”

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