The Star-Tribune covered Centennial’s football opener at Edina on Thursday evening and called it a “wildly entertaining” game.
Edina held off the Cougars 28-20, not clinching the win until the closing seconds when Sawyer Anderson sacked Connor Zulk and shook loose a fumble at the Hornet 24-yard-line.
Zulk had hooked up with Carter Anderson twice for touchdowns from 44 and 32 yards, and a total of seven times for 130 yards. Edina needed to prevent another big pass and the strip sack did the trick.
“Our kids played well, and this was one of those games that we could have won that slipped away from us,” Cougar coach Mike Diggins said. “Edina made a few more plays than us.”
Centennial trailed 21-7 in the fourth quarter. They made a late surge as Zulk hit Anderson with the 32-yard scoring pass and then capped another drive with a one-yard run. Down 21-20, they went for two but Zulk missed on a pass.
“Whenever you are playing a great quarterback, he keeps them in the game,” Edina coach Darrin Lamker told the Star-Tribune, referring to Zulk. “We were up 21-7 and they marched right down and he threw a great ball in the back of the end zone.”
Edina then opened a 28-20 lead on Jonathan Bunce’s second touchdown run of the game.
Edina quarterback George Sandven threw touchdown passes of 15 yards to Anderson and 64 yard to Hamza Malim, who caught five for 111 yards. Sandven completed 10 of 19 for 140 yards (one interception).
Edina enjoyed a size advantage on the line.
“That will probably happen all year, because we’ve only got seven guys over 200 pounds,” Diggins said. “Our kids played tough and I think we were actually more physical, but they have more size.”
The Cougars rushed for 150 yards on 33 carries, led by Noah Larson with 55 in 10 attempts, Zulk with 38 in 11 attempts and Austin Wlaschin 37 in seven events. Diggins wants to ramp that up. “We depend on play-action passes, and we need to improve on our ground game to make that click,” said Diggins.
Zulk completed 11 of 24 passes for 173 yards. Catching one each were Larson (16 yards), Mason Lindsay (12 yards), Erik Knutson (nine yards) and Wlaschin (six yards).
The Cougars had some crucial calls go against them, Diggins noted. Edina got a couple face mask calls on one scoring drive. Another TD was set up by a fumble on a punt where the Cougars hoped for an interfered call.
The Cougars will play at Anoka on Friday.
Centennial …… 7 0 7 6 — 20
Edina …………. 7 7 7 7 — 28
Edi — Jonathan Bunce 6 run (J Fenske kick)
Cen — Carter Anderson 44 pass from Connor Zulk (Zulk kick)
Edi — Sawyer Anderson 15 pass from George Sandven (Jackson Fenske kick)
Edi — Hamza Malim 64 pass from Sandven (Fenske kick)
Cen —Anderson 32 pass from Zulk (Zulk kick)
Cen — Zulk 1 run (pass failed)
Edi — Bunce 9 run (Fenske kick)