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Posted by Guest (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 11/24/2012 5:35:37 PM

By Luke Sleeper
John’s Journal Correspondent

Blue Earth Area defeated Rochester Lourdes in a battle of unbeaten teams in the Class 3A Prep Bowl on Saturday. The Buccaneers won their first state title in school history in what began as a tightly contested contest but ended in a lopsided victory.

The first quarter began with strong defensive showings by each team, doing their best to stifle the offenses that had put up big numbers all season long. A scoreless first 12 minutes was followed by a quick jolt of excitement provided by both teams.

Blue Earth was the first to strike a blow; Buccaneers junior wide receiver David Franta took a pitch and burst down the sideline for 79 yards and a touchdown. Only 20 seconds had ticked away on the game clock before Lourdes responded. Sophomore running back Griff Slightam broke a long run of his own, sprinting for a touchdown of 67 yards.

A late second-quarter scoring drive by Blue Earth gave it a lead it would not relinquish. A nine-play, 80-yard drive by the Buccaneers was capped off by a 6-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Kysten Zierke to Isaac Darrington. It was the first of two touchdown catches for the senior receiver.

A Blue Earth fumble recovery on the opening kickoff of the second half propelled the Buccaneers into the driver’s seat. Lourdes’ next drive ended with a blocked punt by Blue Earth senior Brad More, giving his team great field position en route to its next touchdown.

David Franta scored his second touchdown of the game in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter and put game out reach for Blue Earth.
Franta and Zierke combined for 25 carries and 202 yards on the ground. Slightam led Lourdes with 77 yards rushing on six carries. Lourdes quarterback Mark Pagel completed four passes in 14 attempts for 59 yards.

TOTINO-GRACE 49, OWATONNA 21

Totino-Grace ended its ninth state championship season with a 49-21 Prep Bowl victory over Owatonna in a matchup of undefeated teams in Class 5A.

The Eagles began to pull away in the second half after both teams traded punches early on, thanks to a balanced attack on offense that went from steady to explosive after halftime.

Totino showed its ability to make big plays through the passing game right away, when senior quarterback A.J. LaPanta hit tight end Lance Bennick for a 32-yard touchdown pass.

Owatonna’s passing attack has been equally prolific this season and responded to the Eagle score with a 22-yard touchdown hookup between quarterback Colton Schock and tight end Mason Bloomquist.

LaPanta and Schock were sure to play huge roles for their respective teams, leading their offenses to a 14-14 tie as the second quarter was about to end. It was LaPanta, though, who took control of the game with two big plays.

With under a minute left in the first half, the senior broke the tie by hitting a wide open Charlie Miller down the sideline for a 49-yard score. The LaPanta-Miller combination opened the scoring in the second half as well, this time from 65 yards out.

LaPanta completed eight of 11 passes for 219 yards and the three touchdown passes. Miller caught three passes for 145 yards. A running back trifecta of sophomore Kez Flomo, senior Mason Kaliszewski and junior Kai Barber carried the load for the Eagles on the ground, combining for 197 rushing yards. Flomo and Kaliszewski scored a touchdown each, while Barber crossed the goal line twice.

Schock completed 20 of his 30 pass attempts for 144 yards and ran in a one-yard touchdown, while junior tailback Aaron Peterson had 17 carries for 60 yards. Senior Tim Hall scored the last touchdown for the Huskies with a 1-yard run. The leading Owatonna receiver was Luke Ebeling, who caught eight pases for 34 yards. Luke Wanous caught 6 for 44 yards.

Saturday’s win marks the sixth state title for Totino-Grace since Jeff Ferguson became head coach 11 years ago



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