It's part and parcel of football at Eden Prairie: When plays need to be made, the Eagles find a way to make them.
Shakopee gashed the Eagles, ranked first in Class 6A, for big plays and long runs for much of the first half, but Eden Prairie made the plays that mattered most in a 42-28 donnybrook Friday in front of a packed homecoming crowd at Eden Prairie's Aerie Stadium.
Shakopee, No. 3 in 6A, had quarterback Leyton Kerns deftly running its bread-and-butter option and took an early 7-0 lead when Bradley Hanson powered over from 3 yards to finish an 80-yard drive.
Eden Prairie answered with a Mike Grant special when it got the ball back. Facing fourth-and-10 from the Shakopee 32, Eden Prairie coach Grant, well known for having tricks up his sleeves, called a double pass. Joshua Kelly took a backward pass from quarterback David Ivey and lofted a perfect 32-yard throw to Luca Ratkovich for a game-tying score.
Shakopee moved crisply downfield when it got the ball back, but Kerns overthrew a receiver and Eden Prairie intercepted the pass at its own 11, ending the threat. The Eagles then went 89 yards on 11 plays, all on the ground, to take a 14-7 second-quarter lead.
Shakopee bounced back to tie the score 14-14 on a 35-yard scamper by Zach Docteur, answering Eden Prairie's physical play with some of its own.
"That's a good football team and they had a really good plan," Grant said afterward.
Then came the game's pivotal sequence.
Eden Prairie quarterback David Ivey raced around right end for a 21-yard touchdown. As he crossed the goal line, Shakopee coaches went livid in the sidelines. The officials had failed to call blatant illegal motion.
They eventually called the penalty, but they also called an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty on the Shakopee bench for arguing the late call. Eden Prairie retained possession at the Shakopee 11; two plays later, Liam Berndt raced untouched around left end to give Eden Prairie a 21-14 lead just before halftime.
"That was huge," said Ivey, who rushed for 102 yards. "It was close, so I can understand why the call was late. But we stayed cool and scored right after."
At halftime. Eden Prairie (4-0) made defensive adjustments and shut down Shakopee, taking a 28-14 lead when Ivey's Houdini escape led to a 26-yard run. He propelled the Eagles downfield once more, leading a drive that ended in a 3-yard scoring run by Jeremy Fredericks, boosting the lead to 35-14.
"Our coach told us we had to come out and score right away," Ivey said. "It helped to get that speech. He gives great speeches."
Shakopee (3-1) tried to rally in the fourth quarter, but the deficit was too great.
"Both offensively and defensively we have things we made adjustments to," Grant said. "We weren't playing checkers. We were on the board."