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Class AAAAA Semifinal Mankato West 42 Rogers 7

Posted: Saturday, November 20, 2021 - 10:04 PM

Mankato West completed the Minnesota State High School League’s 14 games of semifinals in seven enrollment classes over a three-day span with a 42-7 victory over Rogers in the Class AAAAA semifinals late Saturday, Nov. 20 at U.S. Bank Stadium. Senior running back/linebacker Ryan Haley accounted for three second-quarter touchdowns and a stingy defense did the rest to power the Scarlets (12-0) into the Prep Bowl championship game for the first time since winning the Class AAAAA crown in 2014.

The Class AAAAA championship game featuring Mahtomedi (10-2) and Mankato West will culminate the two-day Prep Bowl Series at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Scarlets are 4 for 4 in championship game appearances with Class AAAA titles in 1999, 2002 and 2008 to go with the Class AAAAA crown in 2014.

Mankato West, which took authoritative control in the first half, pushed its lead to 35-7 on a 3-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Alexander Dittberner to senior wide receiver Mekhi Collins with 9:24 left in regulation.

Mankato West built a 28-7 advantage at the break behind three touchdowns from senior running back/linebacker Ryan Haley in the second quarter. He capped the trio of scores on a 1-yard run with nine seconds remaining in the half to cap a six-play 88-yard drive that took 1 minute, 48 seconds. The highlight was a 78-yard dash down the middle of the field by Dittberner. He look liked he would make it to the end zone, but was tripped up at the Rogers’ 11-yard line.

Midway through the quarter, Haley extended the Scarlets’ lead to 21-7 when he recovered a fumble by Rogers senior quarterback Tyson Vylasek. Less than a minute earlier, Haley gave the Scarlets their first lead on a 5-yard run.

Rogers (10-2) had opened the scoring on a 13-yard pass from Vylasek to senior wide receiver Owen Kanzler with 5:15 left in the first half. But Mankato West promptly answered with a seven-play, 71-yard drive that was capped by Dittberner’s 40-yard strike to Collins.

Mankato West put an exclamation point on its performance on a 54-yard interception return for a touchdown by senior cornerback Peyton Goettlicher. Rogers committed six turnovers for the game, two interceptions and four fumbles.

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