One season removed from an appearance in the Class 6A state tournament, the Champlin Park football team has gotten off to a good start to the 2017 season.
The Rebels opened the season with a 34-13 win over East Ridge Aug. 31, before besting Anoka 42-13 Sept. 8.
“You never know, it’s too early in the season,” Korton said. “We still have a lot of room to improve, a lot of things to get better at.
“You have the injuries, you have all the other things that go on and we’ve got a very talented and very good senior group. We have enough players and enough things to make some things happen.”
In the annual “Battle for the Paddle” the Rebels were looking to recover the paddle after a 21-17 loss to the Tornadoes last season.
The Rebels took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter before Anoka scored to kick off the second quarter. Champlin Park went into the halftime locker room with a 21-6 lead after a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Cal Hanson.
Champlin Park then made it 28 unanswered points before Anoka scored late in the fourth quarter to make it a 42-13 game.
Quarterback Joey Faulds completed nine of his 14 passes for 171 yards and one touchdown. Faulds, who stepped in as quarterback in the state semifinal game last season, is set to be the quarterback this year with junior Bennett Otto out for the season with a back injury.
“[Joey Faulds] looks good, he is playing well,” Korton said. “That state quarterfinal game, he was playing linebacker for us last year and the plan was he was going to play linebacker for us this year, and this all happened with Bennett and we looked at where we were at and Joey was our sophomore quarterback and he is just a football player, he can play a lot of positions for us.
“He loves the game of football, he loves competing and it’s fun to coach a kid like that.”
Ernest Worjloh ran eight times for 112 yards and a touchdown, while Faulds added 33 yards and one touchdown and Devon Gray scored twice. Champlin Park ran for 183 yards in the contest.
“We’re making the holes, and they don’t have to last as long when you have Ernest, because Ernest is pretty darn fast,” Korton said. “The offensive linemen are making the holes happen and he has been making the most of it.”
Hanson, in addition to his kickoff return touchdown, also caught five passes for 101 yards and a touchdown to lead the Rebel receivers.
The Rebels will play next against St. Michael-Albertville at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 8, at St. Michael-Albertville Middle School West. In order for the Rebels to pick up their third win of the season, Champlin Park knows it must play near-perfect football.
“We have to get more consistent,” Korton said. “We have breakdowns, we have things that don’t go right and we have different ways of shooting ourselves in the foot.
“We had a couple turnovers, a couple fumbles and those just can’t happen. We have to shore up the penalties and fix up the little things.”
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