White Bear Lake butted heads with a Lakeville North defense that was very difficult to budge on Friday evening.

The No. 5 ranked Panthers stymied the Bears 23-7 in Lakeville, keeping the visitors offense out of the end zone throughout the cold (mid 30’s) evening.

The Bears (3-4) averted a shutout only via a special teams play in the this period. The Panthers fumbled a punt into the end zone, with Zach Kuyava pouncing on the ball for a touchdown. That came on a punt by Cam Zaleski that traveled 52 yards, and cut North’s lead to 14-7.

The Bears were limited to 43 ground yards in 21 attempts. Brice Peters gained 30 yards in five carries and caught four passes for 45 yards. Zaleski, the Bears rushing leader, was held to 20 yards in 10 carries.

Branden Berwald completed 12 of 23 passes for 92 yards. Sammy Russ caught five passes for 36 yards.

Logan Freeburg was North’s offensive engine, carting 30 times for 166 yards and all three touchdowns. He scored from 42 and four yards in the first period, and from one yard in the fourth.

Brady Redenbaugh added 78 yards in eight rushes, Tommy Hartwell completed three of seven passes for 54 yard, and Preston Fisk closed the scoring with a 24-yard field goal.

Lakeville North (6-1) has held five of seven opponents to seven points or less. Their lone loss came against No. 2 Lakeville South 34-19 a week earlier.

The Bears will host Woodbury (4-3) in the regular-season finale on Wednesday evening.

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