The football team proved they could play with the ‘big boys” this season , where they had , to 5A.
However, a second Lake Conference team showed them that size matters as six-time state champion Eden Prairie ended the Eagles' season 49-7 in the state semifinals at the Metrodome Friday night.
Totino-Grace had bounced back from to win eleven straight games. But the size of Eden Prairie in terms of its big offensive line and its 3,000 students (compared to 802 at Totino-Grace) proved too much in “The Battle of the Eagles.”
The opening kickoff by Totino-Grace could have been a precursor of the game. The kick went out-of-bounds, giving Eden Prairie the ball at their 40-yard line. The shortened field was no obstacle for the Eagles as they traveled 60 yards on eight plays, capped with a three-yard touchdown run by Andrew Larson.
Totino-Grace lost five yards on their first drive and Eden Prairie got the ball after the punt at the 45-yard line. Larson, who had a 26-yard run earlier in the drive, scored his second touchdown for 10 yards out to make it 13-0 with the extra point being blocked.
Totino-Grace saw plenty of Larson on the next Eden Prairie drive as he rushed six times and scored on a six-yard run. Eden Prairie went for the two-point conversion to go up 21-0.
Totino-Grace had their best drive of the game as they gained three first downs, including on a fourth-and-five. However, quarterback Bob McDaniel was sacked for a 14-yard loss and two plays later, his pass was tipped and returned for a 65-yard interception touchdown by Logan Duitsman.
Another three-and-out gave Eden Prairie a short field again. They went 54 yards in seven plays as Roy McGhee scored on a seven yard run, making the score 35-0.
Totino-Grace’s Andrew McDonald fumbled on the next drive after only two plays and Andrew Larson turned the miscue into his fourth rushing touchdown of the first half as Eden Prairie went into halftime with a 42-0 lead.
Grant Schaeffer threw a 91-yard touchdown pass to RaShawn Fountain that drew the ire of some Totino-Grace fans, who thought Eden Prairie was running up the score as the Eagles went up 49-0 in the third quarter.
Quarterback Bob McDaniel gave those fans a reason to cheer as he put the Eagles on the scoreboard with a three-yard touchdown run with 5:19 left in the game.
Larson, who went over 4,000 career yards and 50 career rushing touchdowns in the game, had 17 carries for 137 yards and four touchdowns. Schaeffer kept Totino-Grace’s defense off-balance as he completed six of seven passes for 158 yards.
Eden Prairie will face the winner of Saturday’s game between defending Prep Bowl champion Wayzata and 2009 champion Cretin Derham Hall next Friday night.
Totino-Grace finished the season 11-2. They will have some big holes to fill next season as they must replace leading rusher McDonald, and starting passer McDaniel along with 6-foot-8, 300-pound offensive lineman Nick Carr.
The Eagles will stay in Class 5A, but the 32 biggest schools in the state, including Eden Prairie will move up to Class 6A. And that could mean a seventh title in the last 10 years for Totino-Grace.