Football: Liu, Cougars topple No. 5 Maple Grove 21-7

Lance Liu (42) celebrates a first-quarter touchdown along with Luke Clark (11), Reese Littlefield (48), Cole Erichsrud (54) and Lance Nielsen Jr. (50)

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.

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