The Edina Hornets improved to 5-0 Thursday night – their best start in years. During their victory Homecoming night over Shakopee, the Hornets featured a long list of outstanding individual performances. Here are some of the players and plays that stood out to me en route to Edina's 31-14 victory.
Linebacker Nick Bloom ran down a play from the backside. Lather he scooped up a fumbled kickoff and returned it for a touchdown. Back on defense he shot the gap and made a tackle for loss. Offensively he contributed with a five-yard touchdown run.
“I thought I played well. I can always get better,” Bloom – NFN's 47th ranked senior – admitted. “There were some plays I missed, but overall I am happy with my play.”
Bloom and fellow inside linebacker Pericles Angelos would team up to stuff a run for no gain.
Angelos – ranked 143rd by NFN – would fill again and force the running back to bounce to the outside for a short loss. Later he read a counter and filled the hole for a short gain.
“Those guys were lights out,” head coach Darin Lamker said. “They have been the strength of our defense.”
“Bloom has led the conference in tackles the last two years,” Lamker continued. “Pericles Angelos is just a plug in there and is just as tough.”
Matt Cavanagh broke two tackles on a punt return and made a couple of nice open field moves. He read a counter and made the tackle from the safety position. Later NFN's 15th ranked junior broke on a ball and knocked down a pass. Then he showed his range and came across the field to break up a deep ball.
Defensive end Dylan Hoye tackled the quarterback for a short gain. Later he read a read option play and made a tackle for loss.
Defensive end Rami Sabri scraped down the line and forced the running back into help. In two other situations, he came down the line of scrimmage to make tackles on the opposite side of the formation.
“The defensive line played great,” Bloom said. “We ask them to play selflessly. They do that, and it opens up the linebackers to make plays. We ask them to hit the shoulders of the tackles and the guards and tackles, occupy those guys so we can make plays.”
Linebacker Patrick Peterson picked off a pass to the outside and turned it into a pick-six.
Defensive back Eli Aaron played tight man to man coverage. He made an excellent read on a short out and broke up the pass. He is not just a cover guy and made an open field tackle late in the game.
Luke Glenna made an impact on both sides of the ball. He intercepted a floating pass forced by pressure up the middle. Then on offense, he made a leaping catch on an overthrown ball by quarterback Ryan Meyer with a 30 yard gain. Glenna was interfered with but still made the catch.
“Everyone maintained their gaps,” Bloom said. “Our corners played smart and didn't give up any deep plays. Our safeties filled and our linebackers communicated well. It all runs down to the d-line it all comes back to them and allows the defense work.”
Meyer made quick decisions on underneath throws. His best throw was a completed deep out despite being hit as he threw.
Anders Nelson caught a 17-yard touchdown pass. He caught it in the flat, broke a tackle and scored.
Quinn Carroll is one of the best players in the state from the right tackle position. He might have had more, but I saw four pancake blocks.
For his size, Carroll – who is NFN's number one ranked junior – keeps a low center of gravity and has quick feet.
“I played well. I came out physical and aggressive,” said Carroll. “My goal is to get my guy on his back, and I feel I did that pretty well tonight.”
Carroll got beat once on a sweep to the outside he couldn't stay with a defensive end out in space.
“I believe I can get faster in my pass protection,” Carroll said. “I can get better if I come off a block to hard and am lunging. There are always a million things in my head.”
Carroll is only a junior, but he plays like someone who has multiple DI offers – which of course he does.
“I feel like I am strongest in the run game,” Carroll said. “I also think that is more fun for me. I get to explode off the ball and get into someone instead of waiting for them to come to me.”
“He is a big stud out there,” said Lamker. “He is physical and knows how to play. He is very impressive.”
Gus Angelos made two straight good runs behind Carroll then a nice cutback run.
Two other Hornets' runners showed good instincts. Nick Azar showed good vision and cutback ability. John Deutsch also hit a cutback run. Later he bounced a run to the outside for 15 yards.
In addition to Carroll, Henry Brooks and Weston Shively looked good downfield blocking on a screen pass. The duo opened up another lane for a teammate a few plays later.
On a later play, Shively drove his man five yards off the line of scrimmage.
After their Thursday night victory, Edina will get its biggest test of the season next week when they play a fellow undefeated team – Minnetonka.