Heartbreak does not define the Prior Lake Lakers’ season

Senior Luke Dahlen was invited to write a story on the Prior Lake High School football season for a Star Tribune feature called Students on the Sidelines.


Students on the Sidelines (Star Tribune)

The Prior Lake Lakers saw their 2022 campaign come to a heartbreaking end on Friday, November 4th. For the second straight year, the Lakers were taken out of the playoffs at the hands of East Ridge High School. This year it was even more gut-wrenching, as the Lakers lost on their own turf by a score of 28-27. 

Entering the 2022 season, the communities of Prior Lake and Savage were buzzing with energy and enthusiasm about the upcoming football season. The Lakers entered the season ranked 3rd in the Metro Top Ten. With a schedule filled with heavyweights, the Lakers knew this season would be an uphill battle. 

Through four games, the Lakers were undefeated and ranked number two in the state. They had statement wins at home against Shakopee and Lakeville North. This was the best start to a Prior Lake football season in recent years, but emotions would have to stay in check as the Laker’s schedule had them playing three of the top six teams in the state over the following three weeks.

Adversity is inevitable in a long, grueling football season. As the Lakers ended the hardest part of their schedule, they sat at 4-3. The three losses in a row came at the hands of Eden Prairie, Lakeville South, and Rosemount. 

“All that mattered was moving on to the next week and thinking ahead to the playoffs,” said senior long-snapper Lucas Larson.

With section playoffs looming, the Lakers needed to get back on track in the final game of the regular season. They did just that with a 57-7 win over Park of Cottage Grove. 

Prior Lake received the number 2 seed in their section, which put them up against number 7-seeded Coon Rapids. The Lakers struggled early, but eventually, the three-headed rushing attack of sophomore Levi Eiter, senior Joey Krouse, and senior Grayson Spronk proved to be too much for the Cardinals of Coon Rapids. 

The Lakers entered the section finals as the favorites. They were squaring off against the third seeded East Ridge. This game was a rematch of last year’s section semi-final, where the Lakers fell to the Raptors 31-17.

Heartbreak is the simple way to put it. The Lakers lost in the section final to the Raptors. This ended the Lakers’ hopes of making it to the state tournament, with their last state appearance in 2017.

The seniors on this year’s Prior Lake team have put in so much effort and hard work for four years, and it all ended so abruptly. 

“The season went by way too fast,” said senior quarterback and captain Luke Crosby. “What made it so special was being able to go to war each day with the team and have it pay off on Friday night.”

The Lakers will be graduating 32 seniors. Every one of them has had a great impact on the school and program. 

The season may be over, but their legacy will last a lifetime.