What looked to be easy for the Burnsville football team on its first play from scrimmage ended up being a difficult, defensive struggle.
For the second straight year, the Blaze has started 2-0, earning a hard-fought 14-7 overtime home win over Lakeville South Sept. 9 in East Metro District White Division action.
Seniors Steph Olson, Jackson Martens and Jake Shepley led the way. Olson darted and dashed his way to 145 yards on 14 carries. Martens scored the game-winning touchdown in overtime on a 4-yard run, finishing with 84 yards on 12 carries. And Shepley picked off three passes, including one in overtime to seal the victory.
Burnsville will try to go 3-0 in Week 3 (Sept. 16), playing at perennial power Lakeville North (2-0) in White Division play at 7 p.m. The Panthers have scored 66 points in its first two wins, including a 42-7 drubbing of Eagan in Week 2.
Meanwhile, the Blaze's game with Lakeville South could not have started any better. Olson scored on a 74-yard touchdown run on his team's first offensive play.
Olson got the pitch heading right. He gave a Marshawn Lynch-like stiff arm to the first would-be tackler sending him to the ground. Olson cut inside, darted outside to the sidelines and then outran the Cougar defenders to the end zone.
Just like that, it was 7-0 Blaze.
Lakeville South answered the score on a 5-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter and 7-7 is where the game stood until overtime. Burnsville got the ball first and Martens powered his way into the end zone for the go-ahead score.
“We've been running the same play all game for power, and I just saw the crease open up and it was right there, so I hit it hard,” Martens told the Minnesota Football Hub. “There is nothing I can do but thank my blockers for it.”
On Lakeville South's overtime possession, Shepley picked off a pass in the end zone on third down.
“I knew [the receiver] was either going to do a fade or a come-back in," Shepley told the Minnesota Football Hub.
The Blaze finished with minus-four passing yards, while the Cougars had just 63 through the air. It was a defensive struggle all game, outside of Olson's big run and Lakeville South's only scoring drive.
Martens led Burnsville's defense with eight tackles, while junior Tre Thomas had seven. Junior Josh Mwebi, senior Andrew Manor and Olson each had five tackles. Mwebi was also credited with 1.5 sacks, while Manor had half a sack. Senior Noah Bachmeier recovered a fumble.
At halftime of the game, the Blaze celebrated the life and legacy of Hall of Fame coach Dick Hanson. Friends, family and alumni were there to honor the five-time state championship Burnsville coach, who died last January at the age of 80.
To see more photos of the Blaze's win over Lakeville South click here.