Dominating 2nd Half Propels Eden Prairie to 11th State Football Championship

November 24, 2017 10:21 PM

Eden Prairie claimed their 11th state football championship with a 38-17 win over Minnetonka Friday night in the Class 6A Championship at the Prep Bowl.

Senior running back Solo Falaniko led a balanced Eden Prairie rushing attack with 90 yards on 22 carries and a touchdown. Senior all-purpose standout Antonio Montero chipped in 58 rushing yards and scored on three short touchdown runs, including a 1-yarder early in the fourth quarter that gave the Eagles (13-0) a 21-point advantage. 

Prior to Montero’s third touchdown run, Eden Prairie swiped back the game’s momentum with a 13-yard run by Falaniko with 5:58 remaining that gave the Eagles a 31-17 lead. The two second-half touchdowns were a huge lift after Minnetonka had ended the first half with some theatrics.

Minnetonka ended an entertaining first half on an upbeat note when junior wide receiver Jackson Owens jumped high behind two defenders to grab a desperation 40-yard touchdown heave from junior quarterback Aaron Syverson with no time remaining in the first half. The highlight-reel play drew the Skippers to within 24-17 with a half to play. 

Forty-four seconds earlier, senior all-purpose specialist Antonio Montero gave Eden Prairie a 24-10 lead on a 42-yard field goal. Earlier, the running back scored two touchdowns, each on 1-yard runs. Senior running back Solo Falaniko paced Eden Prairie’s balanced running attack with 46 yards on 10 carries. He opened Eden Prairie’s scoring on a 7-yard run early in the first quarter. 

After Montero’s second 1-yard touchdown run gave the Eagles a 21-3 lead with 8:03 left in the second quarter, Minnetonka regained some life. Just more than two minutes later, Syverson hooked up with senior wide receiver Owen Freese for a 33-yard scoring play. 

Syverson completed 12 of 16 passes for 199 yards in the first half and was intercepted once. He finished 23 of 33 for 271 yards and was sacked three times. 

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