The East Ridge football team had a shot to win its regular-season finale, on Wednesday, Oct. 19, but a 2-point conversion failed and visiting White Bear Lake escaped the Raptors' "Nest" with a 28-26 victory.
With 35 seconds left on the clock, East Ridge senior receiver Luke Mlsna hauled in a 9-yard pass from senior quarterback Brandon Johnson to cut the Bears' lead to 28-26. However, the ensuing 2-point conversion pass was off the mark.
East Ridge led 14-7 at the half. However, to open the second half, White Bear Lake returned the opening kickoff deep into Raptors' territory, then tied the game 14-14 on a touchdown run by Shane Warner with 10:25 remaining in the third quarter.
With 11:41 left in the game, however, East Ridge senior fullback Austin Fischer gave the Raptors back the lead with a 3-yard touchdown to make it a 20-14 game.
But, just over three minutes later, White Bear Lake took its first lead of the game on a 10-yard touchdown by Nick Truen, 21-20. Then, after picking off a pass by Johnson at the 50-yard line, scored again to go up 28-20.
East Ridge wouldn't go away, though, and marched down the field to get itself within two points. But, that's as close as the Raptors would come.
The Section 4AAAAA tournament is up next for East Ridge. The Raptors earned the fifth seed in the seven-team section and will play its playoff opener at Hastings - the fourth seed - on Tuesday, Oct. 25. No. 3-ranked Cretin-Derham Hall is the top seed and earned a first-round bye. Woodbury is the No. 2 seed. Other teams in Section 4AAAAA are: Eagan, East Ridge, Park and Minneapolis South.
Last year, East Ridge earned its first-ever postseason win, a 24-7 defeat of Hastings, before falling 38-20 to Eagan to end the year.