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Football: Big plays against Lakeville South help Raptors advance

East Ridge senior running back AJ Tittle breaks off a big gainer in the first quarter against Lakeville South Friday. Tittle rushed for 97 yards and two touchdowns in the 33-0 win. (Photo by John Molene)

East Ridge used a big-play offense and a shutout defense to power past Lakeville South 33-0 in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs on Friday.

The Raptors, now 7-2, will host Champlin Park (6-3) in the round of 16 on Nov. 4. Champlin Park routed Robbinsdale Armstrong 47-14 Friday to advance.

Lakeville South ended its season at 1-8.

The 1-8 record was deceptive, however, as the Cougars made the Raptors work hard for their offense Friday.

Coming off an emotional 47-25 loss to archrival Woodbury to end the regular season, the Raptors clicked on three big plays and took a 21-0 lead after one quarter.

“I was happy our kids played hard,” said East Ridge head coach Dan Fritze. “We had a crazy rivalry game last week.  And no one was hanging their head. We got back to work and we played hard. Things went our way. It was nice to see. We had a blocked punt for a touchdown, and our special teams played great. Otherwise, our effort was outstanding.”

East Ridge running back AJ Tittle scored on runs of 41 and 34 yards to spike the Raptors to an early 14-0 lead. Another big play, a 44-yard pass from Ty Okada to Hayden Dorf, made it a 21-0 game with 2:49 left in the first quarter.

At that rate, some East Ridge fans might have been expecting the Raptors to rout the visitors. But Lakeville South played the East Ridge offense tough the rest of the game.

East Ridge tacked on 10 points in the third and added a safety in the fourth for the final margin.

East Ridge’s special teams scored its first touchdown of the season in the third quarter on a blocked punt and then a 3-yard return by linebacker Joey Arndt just a minute into the second half.

The Raptors went up 31-0 on a 39-yard field goal by Grant Ryerse.

A safety tackle by Kyle Robinson with just 3:46 left made it a 33-0 game.

Tittle led the Raptors in rushing with 97 yards on 15 carries.

East Ridge star senior running back Dominik London sat out the game.

Okada was 5-of-13 passing for 120 yards and a touchdown. Josh Woodbeck led the receivers with two catches for 62 yards.

Senior safety Michael Remke led the defense with 10 total tackles.