2022 Class A Football State Championship, Minneota 38, Springfield 21
Posted: Friday, December 2, 2022 - 1:37 PM
Minneota, mindful of a close call that resulted in a Class A runner-up finish a season ago, didn’t hesitate when it saw an opening a year later.
The Vikings turned a halftime deficit into a 21-point surge in the third quarter and the first play of the fourth quarter that paved the way to a 38-21 victory over Springfield in the Class A championship game on Friday, Dec. 2 at U.S. Bank Stadium. In notching the eighth state championship in program history, the Vikings used a ground game that churned out 243 yards that note only ate up the time of possession, but also kept the ball out of Springfield’s much-heralded passing game.
Senior running back Zack Fier rushed for 124 yards on 30 carries and scored two touchdowns. Sophomore backfield mate Ryan Meagher chipped in 97 yards and two touchdowns to send the Vikings (12-2) to their first Class A crown since 2017.
Minneota’s second-half surge began immediately with 21 unanswered points through the third quarter and into the first play of the fourth quarter. That spree turned a three-point halftime deficit into a 31-13 lead. Fier capped the outburst on a 1-yard run as the fourth quarter began. It was his second 1-yard TD run of the game.
Minneota, runner-up to Mayer Lutheran in 2021, climbed back on top for good by taking the first possession of the second half 65 yards on nine plays, capped by Fier’s 1-yard run on a fourth-down play. He carried the ball on each of the Vikings’ four plays from the 9-yard line.
Sandwiched in between Fier’s touchdown runs was a 4-yard run by senior Lucas Rybinski.
Springfield (11-3), attempting to win its first football state championship since 2005, pulled to within 31-21 when junior wide receiver Sam Piddle caught a 37-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Jakob Nachreiner with 9:58 left in the fourth quarter. But Minneota answered six minutes later with a 1-yard run by Rybinski.
Nachreiner completed 11 of 21 passes for 182 yards and two long touchdowns.
Nachreiner was sacked four times and Minneota held the Tigers to 27 yards on the ground in 19 rushing attempts.
With halftime looming, Springfield took its second lead when junior running back Carter Olson was the recipient of a16-yard scoring pass from junior quarterback Jakob Nachreiner with 32 seconds left in the second quarter. It was a quick, six-play, 65-yard drive that took just 42 seconds as the Tigers did a masterful job of playing uptempo and taking a 13-10 lead into the break.
Less than a minute earlier, Minneota had taken its first lead of the game, 10-7, when senior Peyton Gillund booted a 28-yard field goal.