The Centennial Cougars, facing their third highly-ranked opponent of the young season, broke through with an upset win this time, toppling Maple Grove 21-7 at home Friday evening.
The Cougar defense gave up just one touchdown to an unbeaten, No. 5 ranked team that scored 49, 56 and 35 points in the first three weeks.
Offensively, the Cougars (2-2) turned it over to Lance Liu, who carried 35 times for 204 yards and two touchdowns — with one long touchdown pass thrown in as well.
The Cougars have lost 7-0 to No. 7 ranked Stillwater and 19-16 to No. 9 ranked St. Michael-Albertville.
Liu, a 5-foot-11, 200-pound senior, scored from five yards out in the first period. Maple Grove struck back with a 63-yard gain on a pass from Jakob Kilzer to Cole Newell, leading to Micha Vayee’s five-yard touchdown run.
Centennial came up with a huge pass play of its own, with Daylen Cummings firing a perfect strike to Luke Clark for a 78-yard touchdown.
The Cougars led 14-7 at halftime and Liu busted loose for a 59-yard touchdown gallop in the fourth quarter, the only score of the second half.
The Cougars are a team that tries to physically dominate opponents. They were able to do so against Maple Grove.
“That’s our identity,” Cougars coach Mike Diggins told the Star-Tribune. “We’re a physical team. And everybody on the team buys into it. We’re going to come out and we’re going to hit. That’s who we are.”
The Cougars won’t get a breather next week either, playing at No. 2 ranked Wayzata on Friday.