Rain can't put a damper on the Battle for the Jug when intradistrict rivals Chanhassen and Chaska clash.
"It's always a physical, tough football game between two of the top teams in the metro area," Chanhassen coach Cullen Nelson said. "It's always a great game."
That was the case again Friday night, with Chanhassen prevailing 17-16 and improving to 2-0. Chaska (1-1) had won four of the previous five meetings, three by five points or fewer.
"We've lost some tough games to those guys over the years," said Nelson, the Storm's head coach the past four years after serving as a defensive coach for three seasons.
It was only fitting a Chanhassen defensive player preserved the victory with the Storm leading 17-14. Senior defensive back Carter Van Holland stripped the ball from a Chaska wide receiver after a first-down catch at the Storm 49-yard line with three minutes remaining.
"Carter is a gritty, tough kid," Nelson said. "He makes plays when you need them."
The Storm then ran out the clock, taking a safety on the game's final play. Junior running back Maxwell Woods scored both Storm touchdowns, on runs of 36 and 39 yards.
"We weren't perfect, but we played hard," Nelson said. "This is special for the kids."
That's because the two programs play youth football together. Students in the three middle schools in the eastern Carver County district disperse into the two high schools.
"I am just lucky to be a part of something like this," Nelson said. "It's an awesome situation."
Panthers on the prowl
Spring Lake Park is off to a 2-0 start, just like a year ago. The Panthers opened with a 42-17 victory over Cretin-Derham Hall and then defeated Benilde-St. Margaret's 56-14.
Now comes the gantlet, a four-week stretch in which the Panthers play at Chanhassen, Irondale and Cooper and host Mahtomedi. They lost to Chanhassen and Cooper last season when each team limited them to one touchdown.
"Our schedule is a bear," Panthers coach John Stewart said. "It's a four-week heavyweight bout."
Stewart has 11 senior starters (five on offense, six on defense) back from last season's 6-3 team. Senior quarterback Brayden Talso directs the offense behind a veteran line. He has six rushing touchdowns.
"Our senior class brings a lot to the table," Stewart said. "They have had a lot of success."
Going back in time
Forest Lake's motto under first-year coach Brad Beeskow is simple: "WORK." The Rangers are currently working on remaining unbeaten.
Beeskow's squad won its second consecutive game Friday, coming from behind for a 35-29 victory over Anoka. It opened with a 35-20 triumph over St. Michael-Albertville. Forest Lake is 2-0 for the first time since 2000. The Rangers have back-to-back home games against Osseo and Mounds View next.
There's more to that motto: "At the end of the day, in Forest Lake all we do is WORK."
"We want our kids to trust and believe in each other," Beeskow said. "We are building a happy, healthy environment."
Inside the numbers
0:15: Time remaining when senior Ashton Hecksel kicked a game-winning 47-yard field goal, giving Watertown-Mayer a 38-36 victory over New London-Spicer.
3: Defensive touchdowns (two fumble returns and an interception) scored by South in a 59-0 victory over Roosevelt in the Minneapolis City Conference.
5: Mahtomedi senior running back Corey Bohmert's rushing touchdowns in the Zephyrs' 33-17 victory over Cretin-Derham Hall. He scored on runs of 2, 3, 14, 50 and 81 yards.
6: Touchdowns for Armstrong senior Marquan Tucker in the Falcons' first two games. He has had three in each victory.
7: Passing touchdowns for Morris/Chokio-Alberta sophomore quarterback Drew Huebner in a 48-26 triumph over Montevideo. He completed 16 of 25 passes for 335 yards.
286: Receiving yards for Coon Rapids junior wide receiver Khijohnn Cummings-Coleman on 11 catches in the Cardinals' 28-14 victory over Buffalo. He caught two touchdown passes (22 and 77 yards) and returned a kickoff 95 yards for another score.
621: Rushing yards Elk River accumulated in a 67-35 triumph over Andover. Four players gained more than 100 yards: sophomore running back Gavin Schmidt (146 yards on eight carries), junior running backs Tony Billman (138 yards on two carries) and Logan Bunker (134 yards on six carries) and senior running back Matthew Beaudry (111 yards on 12 carries).