Road to Prep Bowl Championships: 2012-2021
Posted: Wednesday, November 30, 2022 - 9:02 AM
Editor’s Note: On Dec. 2 and 3, the Minnesota State High School League celebrates the 40th edition of the Prep Bowl. Join the League as we take a daily journey through four decades of football state championships leading up to this season’s festive seven-game event. The League is certain you will enjoy this opportunity to look back and recall the incredible moments during the Prep Bowl Era.
Read below for recaps of the most recent 10 MSHSL Prep Bowls Championships
Because of the global pandemic, no Prep Bowl championship series was held in 2020.
In the beginning of the 2020-21 school year, the Minnesota State High School League’s Board of Directors approved a late start to the football season and an abbreviated schedule that would include postseason play that concluded at the section level.
There were 56 section champions during the 2020 football season, eight in each of the seven enrollment classes.
Prep Bowl XXXIX
Dates: Nov. 26-27, 2021
Site: U.S. Bank Stadium
- Class Nine-Man: LeRoy-Ostrander 58, Fertile-Beltrami 8 --- LeRoy-Ostrander put an exclamation point on an historic football season. It is the first football championship for the school nestled just inside the border in southeastern Minnesota. In its only other Class Nine-Man championship game appearance, the Cardinals were the runner-up to Chokio-Alberta in 1993. Senior quarterback Chase Johnson powered LeRoy-Ostrander (12-2) with 272 rushing yards and a touchdown and another 140 yards through the air with four other TDs, and in doing so, is the newest entry in the Minnesota State High School League’s record book. His 412 offensive yards topped the previous mark of 401 set by Cory Hackett of Waterville-Elysian-Morristown in the Class AA championship game in 1999. Johnson’s performance was equal parts powerful and exhilarating. Perhaps his most eye-popping run was his 54-yard touchdown midway through the first quarter when he went from one sideline to the other weaving through defenders and breaking tackles before finalizing the dash with a lunge into the end zone. All four of his touchdown passes came in the first half. His final strike of the first half was a 55-yard connection with junior wide receiver Lane Bird that gave the Cardinals a 41-8 lead at the break.
- Class A: Mayer Lutheran 20, Minneota 14 --- Mayer Lutheran turned to its defense in limiting Minneota to a season-low scoring output and made key defensive stops in recording a championship win in its first appearance in a Prep Bowl championship game. Senior fullback Cole Neitzel scored two touchdowns, including the lone one in the second half to spur Mayer Lutheran (13-1) to a memorable finish. The 20 points were not only enough for the Crusaders, but was the most points allowed by Minneota (13-1) all season. Minneota had surrendered just 33 points entering the game. Mayer Lutheran generated 297 yards of total offense led by a team-approach running game that produced 155 yards rushing and another 142 yards through the air from senior quarterback Ty Hoese. But just as important: those timely offensive performances by the Crusaders’ defense. The Vikings, who had scored at least 31 points in 10 of their games this season was limited to 192 yards of total offense. Minneota had two possessions in the final minutes in an effort to rally, but each was turned back by a stingy Mayer Lutheran defense. Senior linebacker Elijah Jopp had 14 tackles and a sack while Neitzel, also a linebacker, contributed nine tackles.
- Class AA: Chatfield 14, West Central Area/Ashby 13 --- If you looked away for just a moment in the final minutes of this game, you ran the risk of missing out on drama that was draining to players and fans alike. Consider: Chatfield believed it had taken a two-touchdown lead with an insurance score off a turnover that would secure another championship in its already-rich legacy of success. But replay indicated otherwise. Grateful for another opportunity, West Central Area/Ashby continued its drive and scored a touchdown with 3:51 remaining to pull to within one point. The Knights didn’t hesitate and went for two points. They were successful and took the lead . . . for about 30 seconds when replay overturned the successful two-point try. The dramatic back-and-forth finally ended when Chatfield junior defensive back Isaac Erding intercepted a pass to halt West Central Area/Ashby’s last-ditch attempt and to secure the victory.
- Class AAA: Dassel-Cokato 28, Plainview-Elgin-Millville 21 --- Dassel-Cokato played a masterful game of keep away to pave the way to a Class AAA championship. The Chargers (14-0) churned out 312 rushing yards on long, sustained drives that drained the clock and put points on the board in producing the first football championship in program history. The Chargers were the Class AAA runner-up to Pierz in 2019. In the pre-Prep Bowl Era, Dassel-Cokato was the Class B runner-up in 1972 in the first-ever state tournament sponsored by the League. Dassel-Cokato held on to the ball for 32 minutes, 44 seconds of the 48-minute game. In the Chargers’ four scoring drives, they held the ball for a combined 62 plays. The shortest of those drives was nine plays. Senior running back Eli Gillman led the way for the Chargers with 150 yards on 32 carries and scored three touchdowns. Senior running back Keyton Johnson chipped in 90 yards on 20 carries. Dassel-Cokato’s longest drive seemed to take the entire second quarter. It was a 20-play, 74-yard drive that took 9 minutes, 30 seconds off the clock and was capped by Gillman’s second touchdown that gave the Chargers a 14-7 lead. It was just six seconds shy of the longest Prep Bowl scoring drive in duration. In 1984, Stillwater had a scoring drive that took 9:36 off the clock in its 36-33 victory over Burnsville in the Class AA championship game. During Dassel-Cokato’s drive, it was 3 for 3 on fourth-down conversions.
- Class AAAA: Hutchinson 42, Kasson-Mantorville 14 --- Hutchinson’s power running game produced 423 rushing yards and six touchdowns en route to a victory in the Class AAAA title game. It is the sixth state championship for Hutchinson (12-1) in seven title-game berths. Hutchinson last won a Class AAAA crown in 2013 when it captured the second of two in a row. During Hutchinson’s three state tournament games in 2021, it outscored the opposition 118-20. And they did it all by using its trademark running attack. Hutchinson’s ball-control attack held possession for nearly 29 minutes and averaged 7.7 yards per try. Senior tailback Mitchell Piehl led five teammates in rushing with 128 yards on five carries. Junior tailback Alex Elliott added 125 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns and junior fullback Andrew Ladwig also had two touchdowns to go with 77 yards. Senior quarterback Colin Nagel rushed for 84 yards and sprinkled in 30 yards on two pass completions. Hutchinson rolled up 289 rushing yards on 27 carries in the first half when it built a 28-7 lead.
- Class AAAAA: Mankato West 24, Mahtomedi 10 --- Mankato West was top-ranked during a pandemic-influenced season in 2020 and didn’t have the opportunity to build on that with a cancelled state tournament. Keeping that focus on 2021 and a renewed opportunity, Mankato West zeroed in and capped it with a Class AAAAA championship. The victory made Mankato West (13-0) 5 for 5 in Prep Bowl championship games to go with titles won in 1999, 2002, 2008 and 2014. Balance on offense carried Mankato West, which had 265 total yards: 135 on the ground and 130 through the air. Senior quarterback Alexander Dittberner threw two touchdown passes and had seven different receivers. He also rushed for 48 yards. Senior running back Walker Britz had a team-best 56 yards in the balanced attack that held the ball seven minutes longer than Mahtomedi (10-3).
- Class AAAAAA: Lakeville South 13, Maple Grove 7 --- There was nothing mythical about Lakeville South’s championship in 2021. In 2020, the Associated Press declared the Cougars the Class AAAAAA champion in the absence of a state tournament, which was cancelled because of a global pandemic. The Cougars earned this one, their first in program history, with a powerful, impressive run in 2021 that was capped by a dramatic victory over Maple Grove in the big-school title game. To finish the season 13-0 and record their 21st consecutive victory, the top-ranked Cougars had to outslug No. 2 Maple Grove, which was also seeking its first state title. It was a heavyweight-type battle with each drive, each play and each defensive stand crucial while waiting for flashes of offense. Senior quarterback Camden Dean had two of those snapshots, including the clinching touchdown that snapped a late deadlock. He scored with 3 minutes, 50 seconds remaining on a 52-yard run up the middle on a play that looked like he was stopped for a short gain. After deftly disguising where the ball was, he advanced to the second level of defenders and found plenty of daylight to complete the scoring run. But the Cougars, 31-2 over the past three seasons, could only celebrate momentarily. Maple Grove (11-2) came right back with a 14-play drive that reached Lakeville South’s 26-yard line, which was one yard short on a fourth down play. Dean finished with 109 yards on eight carries and scored two touchdowns. Junior running back Ian Segna added 57 yards on 14 carries and junior running back Carson Hansen chipped in 53.
Did you know?
- The 58 points scored by LeRoy-Ostrander are the most in a Class Nine-Man championship game since Deer Creek had 57 in a victory over Hillcrest Lutheran Academy in 1976. The most points in a Class Nine-Man championship game were scored by Rothsay in a 64-12 win over Cotton in 1972, the first year of the League’s football state tournament. During the six-game postseason, LeRoy-Ostrander outscored the opposition, 300-50.
- Fertile-Beltrami (13-1) had a record-setter as well. Junior Brayden Werpy had 197 yards on kickoff returns. That topped the old mark of 161 set by Willmar’s Ethan Roux in 2018 and is the Prep Bowl record for all returns.
- Plainview-Elgin-Millville senior lineman Martin Prieto set a Prep Bowl record for tackles by breaking a long-standing mark. He had one solo tackle and 23 unassisted tackles. The 24 total tackles broke the previous mark of 21 set by Winona’s Joel Staats in 1987.
Prep Bowl XXXVIII
Date: Nov. 29-30, 2019
Site: U.S. Bank Stadium
- Class Nine-Man: Mountain Lake Area 22, Hancock 14 --- Mountain Lake Area emerged as the only undefeated team in Class Nine-Man following a victory over Hancock. The Wolverines (14-0) atoned from a loss suffered in the title game in 2018 with a rushing performance that rolled up 241 yards and nearly 100 more through the air. Senior quarterback Abraham Stoesz rushed for 140 yards on 22 carries and scored a touchdown. His 5-yard scoring run with 42 seconds remaining in the third quarter followed by a two-point conversion pass to senior wide receiver Brett Willaby gave the Wolverines an eight-point advantage they would defend the rest of the way. Hancock (13-1) was making its second state tournament and first since 1990. Senior running back Tyler Timmerman rushed for 89 yards as the Owls were held to just 155 total yards.
- Class A: Blooming Prairie 41, BOLD 15 --- Blooming Prairie capped a storybook season with a victory over BOLD in the championship game. The victory not only avenged a loss to BOLD in the Class A semifinals in 2018, but also gave the Awesome Blossoms (13-0) an undefeated season and the school’s first football championship in nine state tournament appearances. Senior quarterback Kaden Thomas powered the Awesome Blossoms by completing 23 of 30 passes for 298 yards and four touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Gabe Hagen was the recipient of eight of those passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns. He made a spectacular, sprawling one-handed grab of a 12-yard pass from Thomas that gave Blooming Prairie a 28-15 lead with 5:44 remaining in the third quarter. Blooming Prairie kept BOLD’s potent offense in check by limiting the output to 238 yards. Senior quarterback Jordan Sagedahl completed 15 of 37 passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns for the Warriors (13-1). He was held to 10 yards rushing on 15 carries and was sacked six times.
- Class AA: Caledonia 26, Minneapolis North 0 --- Caledonia extended its supremacy in the Class AA field with a victory over Minneapolis North Community in the championship game. The victory was the 68th in a row for the Warriors (14-0) and ties a state record for consecutive crowns. Stephen-Argyle was the first Minnesota prep football team in the Prep Bowl Era to accomplish the feat winning five Class Nine-Man titles in a row from 2003-07. Caledonia’s latest championship is its 10th Class AA crown. It also draws Caledonia to within one of Eden Prairie’s all-time mark for football championships. Senior quarterback Noah King powered the Warriors with 138 passing yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 82 yards. Caledonia ran just 33 offensive plays and generated 213 total yards. Junior running back Terrance Kamara led the Polars (12-1) with 146 rushing yards.
- Class AAA: Pierz 28, Dassel-Cokato 27 --- Pierz led just twice in the Class AAA championship game, and the second time was when it mattered most. Senior running back Matthias Algarin rushed for 165 yards and scored three touchdowns, including a 3-yarder with 38 seconds left in regulation time to lift the Pioneers (14-0) to their second Class AAA crown since 2017 and fourth overall. After Algarin’s third touchdown, the Pioneers had to turn their attention to defense where it was able to hold back any late heroics by the Chargers (10-4). In their game-winning drive, the Pioneers moved 80 yards in 13 plays and took 3 minutes, 16 seconds off the clock. The big strike was a 22-yard connection from senior quarterback Peter Schommer to Algarin down the left sideline to the 3-yard line. In the final minute of the third quarter, Dassel -Cokato had regained the lead it lost one possession earlier when senior quarterback Sanders Asplin weaved his way 32 yards for a touchdown and a 27-22 advantage.
- Class AAAA: Rocori 22, SMB 21, OT --- This spine-tingling, drama-soaked conclusion ranks in the top tier of all-time fantastic finishes in Prep Bowl history. Rocori reached that lofty status by pulling off two gutsy, heart-stopping plays in overtime to capture the Class AAAA crown. After pulling to within two points following a 15-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Jack Steil to junior wide receiver Jayden Phillippi on a 4th-and-goal play, the Spartans didn’t hesitate, and opted to go for the two-point conversion attempt and take a shot at its first Class AAAA championship since 2011. Steil delivered again, finding senior wide receiver Andrew Anderson in the front right corner of the end zone to trigger a frenzied celebration after knocking off the defending Class AAAA champions. Moments earlier, SMB snapped a 14-all tie when senior wide receiver Terry Lockett caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Jalen Suggs. Senior kicker Theo Crosby then tacked on the extra point.
- Class AAAAA: Chaska 10, St. Thomas Academy 7 --- Chaska handed St. Thomas Academy both of its losses during the 2019 season, this time with a championship at stake. It is the first football championship for the Hawks (12-1) in four state tournament appearances. In 1974, Chaska was the Class A runner-up. Chaska capped its third state tournament trip during the Prep Bowl Era in dramatic fashion. Senior running back Stevo Klotz capped a Hawks’ last-ditch rally on a 1-yard run with 42 seconds remaining in regulation time. His powerful surge into the end zone ended a 10-play, 80-yard drive that took 2:11 off the clock. Midway through the drive, it appeared the Cadets (11-2) would be perhaps running out the clock and celebrating their first state crown since 1975, but St. Thomas Academy was flagged for pass interference on the 4th-and-9 play. Four plays later, the Cadets were whistled for a personal foul that put the ball on St. Thomas Academy’s 5-yard line. Three plays later, Klotz burrowed his way into the end zone. St. Thomas Academy, which lost to Chaska 20-0 in the regular-season finale, regained possession with 42 seconds remaining, but was turned back by Chaska on downs.
- Class AAAAAA: Wayzata 35, Champlin Park 20 --- Wayzata rushed to the Class AAAAAA championship with senior Christian Vasser as the primary trailblazer. Vassar, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound workhorse running back, had a Prep Bowl-record 49 carries that produced 285 yards and a record-tying five rushing touchdowns in powering Wayzata (13-0) to their first big-school state championship since 2010. The Trojans also claimed big-school championships in 2005 and 2008. Vasser scored three touchdowns in the second half, including a 2-yard run with 2:49 remaining in regulation time that secured the Trojans’ victory. His workload eclipsed the previous mark of 44 carries set by Joel Bauman of Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg in 2008. His five rushing touchdowns equaled the mark first set by Cromwell’s Jordan Suhonen in 2010 and then equaled by Owatonna’s Jason Williamson in 2017. Champlin Park (10-2) was paced by senior quarterback Jaice Miller, who rushed for 94 yards and threw for 80. Junior running back Shawn Shipman, who chipped in 56 yards, scored on a 7-yard run with 15 seconds remaining in the second quarter that gave the Rebels a 17-14 halftime lead.
Did you know?
- Caledonia senior punter Elias Dvorak set a Prep Bowl record for punting average. He had four punts for 186 yards, an average of 46.5 yards per boot. He had a long of 52 yards and dropped three of them inside the 20-yard line. His mark topped the previous record average of 44.25 yards set in 1993 by Apple Valley’s Brad Defauw.
- In the Class AAAA championship, it was the seventh overtime game in the Prep Bowl Era, which began in 1982. The last was in 2014 when Holdingford defeated BOLD in two overtimes for the Class AA crown.
- Rocori sacked SMB quarterback Jalen Suggs five times in its overtime victory.
Prep Bowl XXXVII
Dates: Nov. 23-24, 2018
Site: U.S. Bank Stadium
- Class Nine-Man: Spring Grove 40, Mountain Lake Area 18 --- Senior quarterback Alex Folz, Spring Grove’s primary playmaker this season, capped his prep career with one final dazzling display with 263 rushing yards on 30 carries and scored four touchdowns to power the Lions (14-0) to their second championship in four state tournament appearances. Folz scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter with the combined yardage from those scampers accounting for 142 yards. His first was an 88-yard blast early in the third quarter that gave the Lions a 26-6 lead. Less than two minutes later, the Lions’ lead moved to 32-6 on his 4-yarder. Mountain Lake Area (12-2) pulled to within 32-18 on back-to-back touchdowns, the second a 51-yard run by senior quarterback Abraham Stoesz with 2:03 left in regulation time. But Folz answered less than a minute later with a 50-yard scoring run up the middle. Folz also threw for 90 yards.
- Class A: Mahnomen/Waubun 22, BOLD 21 --- First-year co-op Mahnomen/Waubun capped an historic inaugural season of uniting nearby football communities by capturing the Class A crown in stunning fashion with a victory over BOLD. The Thunderbirds (13-0) scored what proved to be the final margin of victory when senior quarterback Jon Starkey scored on a 10-yard run with 5 minutes, 12 seconds remaining in regulation to pull Mahnomen/Waubun to within 21-20. With little hesitation, Thunderbirds head coach John Clark, Jr., the activities director at Mahnomen High School, opted to go for the lead by attempting a two-point conversion. That move paid off when senior running back Parker Syverson zipped around the right end to tack on the two points. But then the Thunderbirds had to rely on its staunch defense, a unit that had kept BOLD’s potent attack scoreless in the second half. The Warriors (13-1) had a promising ensuing drive, but it was halted when Mahnomen/Waubun senior linebacker Jayden Heisler forced a fumble on BOLD senior running back Dawson Vosika on the Thunderbirds’ 9-yard line. Heisler recovered the fumble to preserve the victory and the co-op’s first state championship. It was the ninth football championship overall for Mahnomen High School. Syverson powered the Thunderbirds offensively with 190 yards rushing on 30 carries. Senior quarterback Jon Starkey chipped in 58 yards rushing and 66 passing yards.
- Class AA: Caledonia 21, Barnesville 0 --- Caledonia turned back a Barnesville upset bid that lasted three quarters before pulling away for a victory in the Class AA championship game. The victory gave the Warriors (13-0) their fourth consecutive Class AA championship and ninth since 2007. It was the program’s 10th football crown overall. In 1976, the Warriors were the Class B champion. The win also was Caledonia’s 54th in a row, the longest active streak in the country. Caledonia, which powered its way to a 57-6 victory over Pipestone Area in the 2017 Class AA championship game, didn’t have the luxury of a wide margin a year later against Barnesville (11-3). The Warriors couldn’t breathe easy until the final minutes of the fourth quarter when they scored two touchdowns in a one-minute span to seal their victory. Nursing a 7-0 lead and relying on its defense to turn away Barnesville with timely stops, Caledonia finally gained the separation on the scoreboard it was seeking when senior running back Tate Meiners scored on a 1-yard run with 4:29 remaining in regulation time. On Barnesville’s next possession, senior defensive back Payton Schott intercepted a pass by senior quarterback Preston Snobl and returned it 43 yards for a touchdown that sealed the Warriors’ victory.
- Class AAA: Rochester Lourdes 24, Fairmont 7 --- Rochester Lourdes staked its claim as the top Class AAA team in the past decade following a victory over Fairmont. The Eagles (14-0) used a 17-point spree over the final quarter-and-a-half to record their fourth championship since 2010. In that span, Rochester Lourdes also captured titles in 2010, 2014 and 2016. The Eagles also won the Class A championship in 1979. St. Croix Lutheran won Class AAA championships in 2011 and 2013. Pierz is also a recent two-time Class AAA champion in 2015 and 2017. Rochester Lourdes used a potent running attack that churned out 327 yards and produced three touchdowns. Senior running back Zach Jungels led the Eagles with 234 yards on 27 carries and two touchdowns. He averaged 8.6 yards per carry. Senior running back Jake Groteboer chipped in 76 yards and his own rushing touchdown.
- Class AAAA: SMB 44, Willmar 18 --- SMB, a football co-op that combines students from St. Paul Academy, Minnehaha Academy and The Blake School, completed an amazing four-year journey by capturing the Class AAAA championship with a victory over Willmar. Jalen Suggs, a junior quarterback and defensive back, was a standout on each side of the ball in accounting for five touchdowns in powering the Wolfpack (13-0), a team created when each of the schools was struggling with participation numbers. Suggs completed 9 of 11 passes for 216 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 67 yards and another TD. For good measure, he returned an interception 97 yards for a touchdown that gave the Wolfpack a 31-12 lead about midway through the third quarter. His interception return is believed to be a Prep Bowl record, however, that statistic isn’t documented. The return is believed to rank eighth all-time in MSHSL history. Levi Hintermesiter of Brandon-Evansville had a 104-yard interception return in 2008 against Bertha-Hewitt. On the first play of the fourth quarter, SMB extended its lead to 37-18 on a 76-yard touchdown strike from Suggs to junior tight end Kaden Johnson. Suggs hit Johnson in stride on the 3rd-and-24 play and he couldn’t be caught by two Willmar defenders.
- Class AAAAA: Owatonna 14, St. Thomas Academy 3 --- St. Thomas Academy bottled up Owatonna senior running back Jason Williamson for two quarters of play, limiting Minnesota’s rushing leader during the 2018 season to 38 yards on 11 carries. But the second half was another story as he broke free enough to score on two long touchdown runs to spur Owatonna to a victory over the Cadets. Williamson, a University of Minnesota recruit, completed the Huskies (13-0) successful title defense on a 71-yard run that produced Owatonna’s first lead, and then he punctuated a season of dominance on a 44-yard scoring run with 1:27 left in regulation. He finished the championship game with 184 rushing yards on 23 attempts and completed his senior season with more than 3,000 yards and 46 touchdowns. It is Owatonna’s third Class AAAAA championship since 2013.
- Class AAAAAA: Lakeville North 28, Eden Prairie 21 --- Lakeville North defeated Eden Prairie for the second time during the 2018 season, but the stakes were significantly greater when the Panthers recorded a victory in the Class AAAAAA championship game. A wide-open game in the first half by both teams turned into a defensive chess match in the second half that Lakeville North mastered with a pressure that forced turnovers, held the Eagles to short gains and eliminated big scoring plays en route to capturing the school’s first-ever state title. In 2012, Lakeville North finished runner-up to Eden Prairie in the Class AAAAAA title game. Junior running back RaJa Nelson scored what proved to be the winning touchdown when he snapped a 21-all tie with 4:36 left in the third quarter on a 10-yard scoring run. His third touchdown run of the game capped a 28-yard drive that started when the Panthers forced a fumble one play after Eden Prairie had taken over when Lakeville North (13-0) had fumbled.
Did you know?
- Spring Grove’s victory meant the sixth consecutive season that the Class Nine-Man champion was represented by a team from Section 1.
- As Lakeville High School, the Panthers won the Class A championship in 1988, the AA crown in 1992 and the Class AAAAA title in 2003.
Prep Bowl XXXVI
Dates: Nov. 24-25, 2017
Site: U.S. Bank Stadium
- Class Nine-Man: Spring Grove 32, Nevis 0 --- Spring Grove completed an historic season with a victory over Nevis that completed an undefeated season for the Lions (14-0) and gave the southeastern Minnesota school its first football state championship in three state tournament trips. Senior Cullen Patterson rushed for 124 yards on 17 carries to pace a Lions attack that averaged 6.6 yards per carry. Junior quarterback Alex Folz contributed 112 yards in 18 carries. He also completed 16 of 22 passes for 196 yards and three touchdowns. Spring Grove built a 26-0 halftime advantage behind four touchdowns from Folz.
- Class A: Minneota 28, Wabasso 13 --- Minneota won the Class A championship for the third time in four seasons and sixth overall. The Vikings’ latest championship came on the strength of their running game that accounted for 338 of the team’s 372 total yards. Senior running back Isaac Hennen was Minneota’s workhorse with 291 rushing yards on 34 carries and three touchdowns. His two fourth-quarter touchdowns snapped what had been a 13-all deadlock early in the fourth quarter. He finished the season with 27 rushing touchdowns.
- Class AA: Caledonia 57, Pipestone Area 6 --- A record-tying performance helped send Caledonia to a decisive victory. Senior quarterback Owen King accounted for six touchdowns --- five through the air and one on the ground --- to power the Warriors (13-0) to an undefeated season and a third consecutive Class AA crown. King, who completed 18 of 28 passes for 246 yards and five touchdowns, powered the Warriors to their sixth state championship since 2010. His six combined touchdowns tied a Prep Bowl record previously set by Kirk Midthun of Triton, Dodge Center in 1994. Midthun threw for all six of his touchdowns in Triton’s 40-21 victory over Becker in the Class B championship game. King tied the long-standing mark on an 11-yard touchdown pass to senior fullback Andrew Goergen with 4:53 remaining in the third quarter. With Caledonia’s 50-6 lead after three quarters the game turned to running time and the Warriors stayed on the ground in solidifying their victory.
- Class AAA: Pierz 34, St. Croix Lutheran 21 --- In a battle of unbeatens, Pierz was the only team to stay that way. It is the Pioneers’ second Class AAA title in the past three seasons and third championship overall. In 2004, Pierz was the Class AA champion. The Pioneers (13-0) used a punishing ground game and an opportunistic defense. Pierz rushed for 328 of its 358 total yards, and also took advantage of St. Croix Lutheran’s record-tying eight fumbles, four of which were lost. Senior running back Jalen Jansen rushed for 157 of his 178 yards in the first half and scored two touchdowns for the Pioneers. Junior running back Reese Kapsner chipped in 128 rushing yards and had three touchdowns, including two in the decisive fourth quarter when the Pioneers scored two unanswered touchdowns to build a 34-14 lead.
- Class AAAA: Academy of Holy Angels 14, Cloquet 0 --- For the first time in three tries, the Academy of Holy Angels captured a state championship. The Stars accomplished that by scoring two timely touchdowns and surviving a game of give-and-take that featured a combined 10 turnovers. Senior wide receiver Ryan Mazurek caught a 46-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Joseph Heimbold in the first quarter, and junior tailback Thomas Shelstad added a 1-yard scoring run in the third to spur the Stars (12-1) to the Richfield school’s first football championship. Holy Angels was the Class AAAA runner-up in 2005 and 2013. Shelstad rushed for 91 yards on 15 carries and Heimbold chipped in 72 yards rushing. Heimbold completed 7 of 19 passes for 106 yards.
- Class AAAAA: Owatonna 63, Elk River 26 --- Owatonna’s big-play attack featuring junior running back Jason Williamson overwhelmed Elk River, which is used to high-scoring games of its own. The 6-foot-1, 191-pounder rushed for 213 yards on 23 carries and scored five touchdowns. He had another touchdown on a 67-yard kickoff return early in the second quarter that lifted the Huskies into a 14-all tie. The six touchdowns equaled a mark that was set in 1994 by Kirk Midthun of Triton, who threw for six TDs in a 40-21 victory over Becker. The mark was equaled one day earlier in 2017 by Caledonia senior quarterback Owen King, who threw for five touchdowns and ran for another in a 57-6 victory over Pipestone in the Class AA title game. The Huskies (12-1) accumulated 441 total yards of offense, including 303 on the ground. Williamson accounted for 334 all-purpose yards: 213 rushing, 54 receiving and 67 return yards.
- Class AAAAAA: Eden Prairie 38, Minnetonka 17 --- Eden Prairie added another championship trophy to its football program’s already-rich legacy with a victory Minnetonka, a Lake Conference rival. The Eagles scored two second-half touchdowns to squelch Minnetonka’s halftime momentum en route to winning a state-best 11th championship. Senior running back Solo Falaniko led a balanced Eden Prairie rushing attack with 90 yards on 22 carries and a touchdown. Senior all-purpose standout Antonio Montero chipped in 58 rushing yards and scored on three short touchdown runs, including a 1-yarder early in the fourth quarter that gave the Eagles (13-0) a 21-point advantage. It was Eden Prairie’s first championship since 2014 when it won the last in a spree of four in a row. It was also Eden Prairie’s second victory over Minnetonka (11-2) during the season.
Did you know?
- It is the second time in program history that Caledonia had won three consecutive Class AA championships. The first spree was from 2010-12. Caledonia is the only school in Class AA to win three consecutive crowns.
- In addition to the Class AAA title game this season, the only other time eight fumbles occurred in a Prep Bowl championship game was in 1987 by Silver Lake in a 30-14 victory over Verndale in the Nine-Man title game.
- Owatonna, the Class AAAAA champion in 2013, was the final school to win a crown during the Metrodome chapter of the Prep Bowl Era.
Prep Bowl XXXV
Date: Nov. 25-26, 2016
Site: U.S. Bank Stadium
- Class Nine-Man: Grand Meadow 41, Cleveland/Immanuel Lutheran 21 --- Two important numbers were the storyline for Grand Meadow: 50 and 4. The Superlarks pushed its winning streak to 50 consecutive games in winning its fourth Class Nine-Man championship in a row. Senior running back Christophor Bain rushed for 278 yards on 36 carries and scored four touchdowns to carry the Superlarks (14-0) to within one of tying the record for consecutive state championships in the Nine-Man Class. From 2003-07, Stephen-Argyle won five in a row. Stephen-Argyle holds the state record for longest winning streak at 76 games, a spree that went from 2003-08. Grand Meadow stretched a six-point halftime advantage in the second half by continuing to pound the ball with a rushing attack that accumulated 353 yards on 61 carries. The Superlarks sprinkled in 115 yards of passing.
- Class A: Minneapolis North 30, Rushford-Peterson 14 --- A football championship returned to the Minneapolis City Conference for the first time since 1977. Minneapolis North took care of that with a victory in the Class A championship game. In 1977, Minneapolis Washburn was the last conference team to win a title. The Polars scored two second-half touchdowns while draining the clock, clamped down on Rushford-Peterson star senior running back Noah Campbell, and held the Tigers to just 10 total yards of offense in the final 24 minutes of play. Senior quarterback Azerick Rodgers directed North’s attack, completing 10 of 13 passes for 115 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore running back Nasir El-Amin led a balanced running attack with 70 yards on 11 carries. The Polars averaged 4.7 yards per carry in rushing for 245 yards.
- Class AA: Caledonia 62, Eden Valley-Watkins 12 --- Junior quarterback Owen King had a near-record tying performance with five touchdown passes in leading the Warriors to a successful championship defense and their seventh Class AA championship since 2007. Caledonia also was the Class B champion in 1976. King completed 17 of 25 passes for 328 yards to power an attack that rolled up more than 500 yards of offense. Senior running back Ben McCabe rushed for 99 yards on 22 carries and scored three touchdowns. King’s performance threatened to tie the longtime Prep Bowl record of six touchdown passes in a game set by Kirk Midthun of Triton in 1994.
- Class AAA: Rochester Lourdes 42, St. Croix Lutheran 35 --- Rochester Lourdes used a zany play that not only made jaws drop, but also paved the way to a victory over top-ranked St. Croix Lutheran. While sophomore running back Jake Groteboer scored on a 5-yard run with 25 seconds remaining in regulation to snap a back-and-forth thrill ride of offense, it was the preceding play that will remembered most. Using one last-ditch effort to end the game in regulation, the zaniness started with a 14-yard pass from senior quarterback Noah Hillman to senior wide receiver Ed Caples. At midfield, Caples lateraled the ball to sophomore receiver Pat Leary. He ran the ball to the 30 before lateraling to a streaking senior running back Carter Greguson, who extended the play to the 5-yard line. It helped seal the Eagles’ fourth state championship. Senior running back Daniel Rust rushed for 134 yards on 17 carries and scored two touchdowns for St. Croix Lutheran.
- Class AAAA: Benilde-St. Margaret’s 31, Winona 28 --- One wait for a first championship ended and another continued following the conclusion of the Class AAAA title game. Benilde-St. Margaret’s, making its fourth appearance in the state tournament, made this a memorable trip with a championship trophy in tow. Junior running back Liam Ford scored on a 24-yard run with 4 minutes, 50 seconds remaining in regulation time to lift the Red Knights (10-3), who won five consecutive postseason games en route to the championship. Ford, taking over the majority of the carries in the absence of rushing leader, senior running back Ricky Floyd, rushed for 81 yards on 18 carries and scored two touchdowns. For Winona (11-2), the title wait continues. The Winhawks were making a state tournament for the first time since losing to Moorhead 13-7 in the Class AA championship game in 1987, the first time that outstate schools met for a big-school championship.
- Class AAAAA: Elk River 42, Spring Lake Park 14 --- During the 125th season of Elk River football, the Elks wore “Team 125” decals on their helmets. It was a tribute to the rich heritage of success of the program which was enriched with a championship run. The top-ranked Elks completed a season of dominance with a final showing of its deceptive offense that faked out defenses all season. Elk River compiled 446 yards, had an 11.7 yards per play and scored six rushing touchdowns. Senior running back Nicholas Rice rushed for 242 yards on 13 carries and scored three touchdowns to lead the Elks’ ground game. Senior backfield mate Sam Gibas chipped in 105 yards on 11 carries and a 60-yard TD run that opened the scoring in the early minutes. Spring Lake Park, also known for its running game, rushed for 275 yards, but couldn’t spring the long touchdown runs like the Elks.
- Class AAAAAA: Totino-Grace 28, Eden Prairie 20 --- Two years after losing to Eden Prairie in the Class AAAAAA championship game in heartbreaking fashion, Totino-Grace reversed course. Senior backfield mates Gayflor Flomo and Ivan Burlak scored late touchdowns in a 21-point fourth quarter blitz, and senior linebacker Charlie Waters recovered a key fumble that stopped Eden Prairie from mounting any comeback hopes in what they hoped would be its Minnesota-best 11th state championship. Instead, it is the first Class AAAAAA championship for Totino-Grace, the only Minnesota school that opts to play up two enrollment classes. It is the 10th football state championship overall for Totino-Grace. Totino-Grace took the lead for good on Flomo’s 1-yard run with 5:28 left in the fourth quarter. Four minutes later, Burlak plowed in from two yards out.
Did you know?
- The 61 points scored by Caledonia was the most in a championship game since Hutchinson scored 67 in a victory over Holy Family Catholic in the Class AAAA title game in 2012.
- Carter Greguson of Rochester Lourdes set a record for unassisted tackles with 20. That broke the old mark of 18 shared by Matt Jarland, Harmony (1984); Michael Weick, Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley (2008), and Jared Blackwell, Nicollet (2009).
- Rochester Lourdes tied a record for the longest scoring drive with a 4-play, 99-yard drive with 8:02 left in the fourth quarter. The Eagles now share that mark with Hastings (1999), Mahtomedi (2005), Becker (2005), Mankato West (2008), and Wayzata (2008).
Prep Bowl XXXIV
Dates: Nov. 13-14, 2015
Site: TCF Bank Stadium, University of Minnesota
- Class Nine-Man: Grand Meadow 34, Underwood 20 --- The Superlarks extended their winning streak to 36 games while capturing their third Class Nine-Man crown. But they had to do so by scoring 20 unanswered points. Senior Michael Stejskal rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown and threw for 218 yards and three others to power the top-ranked Superlarks (14-0) to the title for third time in eight trips to the state tournament. Junior Christophor Bain was a popular target of Stejskal, catching five passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns. Cory Thorson paced Underwood (13-1) with 148 yards on 20 carries and scored a touchdown.
- Class A: Minneota 35, Minneapolis North 18 --- Senior fullback Garrett Hennen handled the lion’s share of Minneota’s rushing attack with 2,056 yards in leading the Vikings to the Prep Bowl for a second consecutive season. But when he went down with a knee injury in the first quarter of the Prep Bowl, the Vikings didn’t panic. Sophomore Isaac Hennen, Garrett’s brother, helped pick up the slack, rushing for 103 yards and scoring three touchdowns to propel the Vikings. Bryce Bruner added 107 yard and a TD as the Vikings (14-0) won the Class A title for the second time in a row and fifth overall.
- Class AA: Caledonia 40, Pipestone 0 --- Caledonia, which had a stranglehold on the Class AA crown in winning it five times from 2007-2012, grabbed another with a shutout victory over the Arrows. The Warriors’ powerful offensive attack and ball-hawking defense took control early in building a 33-0 lead at the half. Caledonia was sharp in the first half, compiling 258 yards on 31 plays. Alex Goergen had two touchdown receptions in the first half from Owen King and Sam Stemper had two rushing touchdowns. King punctuated a dominant first half with a picture-perfect 39-yard touchdown pass to Nick McCabe along the near sideline with 49 seconds left in the second quarter. King finished 13 of 19 for 207 yards and four touchdowns. Along with his two touchdowns, Stemper rushed for 172 yards on 20 carries. The Warriors held the Arrows to 33 rushing yards on 28 plays in the first half. The second half didn’t get much better as the fourth quarter was played in running time because Caledonia was leading by at least 35 points. It was the seventh state championship for Caledonia in 11 tournament appearances.
- Class AAA: Pierz 36, Jackson County Central 8 --- Senior running back Noah Boser rushed for 107 yards and scored two touchdowns, and had a touchdown reception for 49 yards to power the Pioneers (13-0) to their second championship and first since 2004. Teammate Lane Girtz led the Pioneers’ ground game with 119 yards and Aaron Weber completed 3 of 7 passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns. Pierz compiled 426 yards, 301 of them on the ground. The Pioneers averaged 6.3 yards per rush and 20.4 yards per passing play.
- Class AAAA: Becker 35, South St. Paul 14 --- Becker got going early and didn’t let the Packers up for air en route to a successful repeat of Class AAAA titles and their 25th consecutive victory. Gabe Dertinger rushed for 151yards on 20 carries and scored two touchdowns to power the undefeated Bulldogs (13-0) to their third championship overall. Becker compiled 347 yards in the first half on 41 plays. Dertinger led the way with 119 yards on 11 carries and scored two touchdowns. He gave the Bulldogs a four-touchdown lead at the break on a 3-yard run with 3:38 left in the second quarter. He also had a 41-yard scoring run late in the first quarter. Bulldogs quarterback Andrew Stanger completed 9 of 15 passes in the first half for 187 yards and a touchdown, a 77-yarder by Clayton Gallus. Stanger ended up 12 of 18 for 219 yards. Milan Kent, a senior fullback and linebacker, was an all-around force. He had 21 yards rushing, 86 yards receiving, and on defense, had 10 tackles and two tackles for loss. South St. Paul (11-2), making its first appearance in a Prep Bowl championship game, was held to 55 yards on 27 plays in the first half. The Packers managed four first downs and had the ball for just 7:41.
- Class AAAAA: St. Michael-Albertville 28, St. Thomas Academy 21 --- St. Michael-Albertville, an eight-time participant in the League’s football state tournament, made program history with its first championship. Mitchell Kartes rushed for 127 yards and scored two touchdowns and Jacob Veire threw for 177 yards to spark the Knights (12-1), who advanced to the semifinals in 2014. With a title at stake, St. Michael-Albertville turned to a timely defense that turned staunch in not allowing the Cadets to rally in the final minutes. St. Thomas Academy (11-2) pulled to within 28-21 with 4:16 remaining when Tommy Dolan hit Woody Hubbell with a 7-yard scoring pass. The Cadets got the ball back again with 3:39 left, but the drive went backward quickly when St. Michael-Albertville’s John Zimmer recorded two consecutive sacks.
- Class AAAAAA: Osseo 14, Totino-Grace 13 --- Prince Kruah scored on a 4-yard run with 24 seconds remaining in regulation time to cap an emotionally-draining 16-play, 71-yard drive that paved the way to the Orioles’ win in the big-school game. Junior kicker Dean Lumb then tacked on the extra point. Kruah rushed for 189 yards on 43 carries and Malik Caillard completed 11 of 17 passes for 143 yards and a touchdown.
Did you know?
- This was the second and final year that the Prep Bowl Era was played outside while U.S. Bank Stadium was being built 3.1 miles away in downtown Minneapolis. Unlike 2014 when snow and cold made for a bone-chilling Prep Bowl experience at TCF Bank Stadium, it was a sun-splashed reversal in 2015.
- Minneapolis North’s opportunity to win a Prep Bowl championship was the first time for any Minneapolis City Conference school. Minneapolis Washburn won football state titles in 1972 and ’77, but that was before the Prep Bowl Era began in 1982.
Prep Bowl XXXIII
Dates: Nov. 21-22, 2014
Site: TCF Bank Stadium, University of Minnesota campus
- Class Nine-Man: Grand Meadow 48, Edgerton/Ellsworth 0 --- Grand Meadow cruised to a successful title defense by compiling 293 yards in the first half en route to a 33-0 lead at the half. The Superlarks slowed the pace a bit in the second half, but the defense did not. Grand Meadow held Edgerton/Ellsworth to 160 total yards and had four interceptions. Landon Jacobson rushed for 143 yards on 34 carries and scored three touchdowns for Grand Meadow.
- Class A: Minneota 28, Dawson-Boyd 14 --- Cole Hennen scored on a 51-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to help send the Vikings to a perfect season (13-0) and a fifth Prep Bowl Championship. Juniro Garrett Hennen rushed for 179 yards on 29 carries to fuel a running game that rolled up 283 yards. After Cole Hennen’s clinching touchdown, Alec Engler intercepted a pass to seal the victory.
- Class AA: Holdingford 20, BOLD 18, 2OT --- Day 1 of the Prep Bowl was extended some, but there was a good reason. Two extra sessions were required to decide a Class AA champion, and in the end, Holdingford outlasted BOLD. Moments after Holdingford running back Nathan Brinker found Austin Gerads for an 8-yard touchdown, teammate Matt Messman scored on a two-point conversion run to give the Huskers the victory.
- Class AAA: Rochester Lourdes 35, New London-Spicer 14 --- Rochester Lourdes returned to championship status with a victory over New London-Spicer. It was the third Prep Bowl title for the Eagles. The dominant duo of Zach Hillman and Mason Carsten spurred the Eagles to a 13-0 finish. Hillman rushed for 118 yards on 12 caried and scored two touchdowns. Carstens chipped in 80 yards on 12 attempts. Hillman had 177 all-purpose yards, including an average of 20 yards on punt returns.
- Class AAAA: Becker 24, DeLaSalle 6 --- Becker forced six turnovers, including five interceptions, to record its victory over DeLaSalle. It was the second championship for the Bulldogs, who had been a runner-up five times. Senior Dawson Brown tied a Prep Bowl record with three interceptions and also had nine tackles, including two for loss, a sack and an acrobatic pass break up. CJ Schwintek rushed for 146 yards on 24 carries and scored a touchdown.
- Class AAAAA: Mankato West 42, Simley 19 --- There was a small piece of history between these two schools. In 2002, Simley made its only other state tournament appearance and were quickly eliminated by Mankato West. The stakes were much higher this time, but the result was the same. Senior quarterback Ryan Schlichter completed 17 of 25 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns to power the Scarlets. He also rushed for 77 yards and scored another TD.
- Class AAAAAA: Eden Prairie 28, Totino-Grace 27 --- Before celebrating its fourth consecutive big-school crown, Eden Prairie had to exhale a sigh of relief after holding off Totino-Grace in a dramatic conclusion. Totino-Grace, playing up two enrollment classes, decided to go for the two-point conversion and the win in the closing seconds. On the decisive play, it seemed like everyone in TCF Bank Stadium were holding their collective breaths as it unfolded. Totino-Grace quarterback Lance Benick rolled to his right, and with an Eden Prairie defender on his back, was still able to get off a pass that couldn’t be caught at the goal line. Benick had put the Eagles on the brink in position to rock the Minnesota high school football landscape by scoring on a 25-yard run with 1:39 left in regulation. Minutes earlier, Eden Prairie’s Will Rains scored on a 75-yard run that, ultimately, gave the Eagles the necessary points to win. Rains finished with 230 yards on 26 carries and scored three touchdowns.
Did you know?
- Holdingford’s first championship was in 1981, the final year that state finals were played outdoors before the Prep Bowl Era began.
- Becker’s Dawson Brown tied a Prep Bowl record with three interceptions.
- DeLaSalle’s Marquise Bridges tied a Prep Bowl record for receptions with 12.
- Totino-Grace quarterback Lance Benick was one of the top wrestlers in the nation. He won three state championships.
- Eden Prairie, uncanny in its ability to come up with timely plays, was 5 of 5 on fourth-down conversion attempts.
Prep Bowl XXXII
Dates: Nov. 29-30, 2013
- Class Nine-Man: Grand Meadow 28, Underwood 6 --- Grand Meadow opened the seven-game championship feast by winning its first title. Junior running back Landon Jacobson led the way with 123 yards on 28 tries and a touchdown to pace a balanced attack. Senior quarterback Trenton Bleifus chipped in 83 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He connected with junior Blake Olson on a 36-yard touchdown pass that gave the Superlarks a 13-0 halftime lead.
- Class A: Mahnomen 46, Dawson-Boyd 13 --- Mahnomen used a familiar theme in successfully defending its Class A crown. The Indians used the running game with great success in capturing a state title for the eighth time. Sophomore quarterback Tom Pavek rushed for 179 yards on 24 carries and scored two touchdowns to send the Indians to an undefeated season.
- Class AA: Chatfield 17, Minneota 7 --- Chatfield had a three-peat of championships from 1994-96. This season’s team ended the dry spell of championships by building a 17-0 lead behind a sustained running game and a defense that surrendered little. Senior running back Jacob Neis had 105 yards on 24 carries and had a touchdown for the victorious Gophers.
- Class AAA: St. Croix Lutheran 48, New London-Spicer 44 --- In an entertaining back-and-forth affair, St. Croix Lutheran took control in the fourth quarter when senior tight end Caleb Olson caught a 28-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback David Ponath and senior running back Joe Wetz blazed to a 69-yard touchdown run that sent the Cruasers to a 42-28 lead. Senior tailback Adam Essler had 194 rushing yards on 21 carries and scored two touchdowns for New London-Spicer.
- Class AAAA: Hutchinson 49, Holy Angels 7 --- Junior running back Robbie Grimsley turned the green painted field at the Metrodome into a track meet with an astonishing performance. He rushed for 261 yards on six carries. That is not a typo. He had scoring runs of 76, 57 and 92 yards, respectively. Teammate Tory Adams, a senior tailback, added a 50-yard return for a touchdown and a 21-yarder for another score before halftime.
- Class AAAAA: Owatonna 24, Brainerd 0 --- Owatonna made school history with its first state championship. Remember, it was Owatonna that played Stillwater in the first big-school Prep Bowl Championship game in 1982. Senior running back Aaron Peterson led the way with 183 yards on 35 carries and scored two touchdowns for the Huskies.
- Class AAAAAA: Eden Prairie 28, Rosemount 7 --- Top-seeded Eden Prairie won for the ninth time during the Prep Bowl Era with a victory over No. 3-seeded Rosemount. Running back Anthony Anderson gave Rosemount fits as he gained 165 yards on 19 carries. Anderson and quarterback Ryan Connelly connected on a 51-yard scoring play ito give the Eagles a 14-0 lead at the half.
Did you know?
- Grand Meadow’s Trenton Bleifus was a force on defense, too, with 10 tackles and one pass break up.
- Dawson-Boyd’s Joey Lee set a Prep Bowl record for most pass attempts (52) and most passes completed (27).
- Dawson-Boyd’s Michael Lee set a Prep Bowl record for most receptions with 12.
- St. Croix Lutheran and New London-Spicer set a Prep Bowl record for combined points with 92.
- Hutchinson, with its big-strike offense, set a Prep Bowl record for average yards per play at 13.5.
Prep Bowl XXXI
Dates: Nov. 23-24, 2012
- Class Nine-Man: Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley 40, Grand Meadow 22 --- The backfield duo of junior running backs Austin Maanum and Jason Montoyne were a running force in leading the Wolverines to their first football championship. Maanum rushed for 185 yards on 20 carries and scored two touchdowns while Montoyne covered 126 yards on 13 attempts and two more touchdowns.
- Class A: Mahnomen 20, Bethlehem Academy 14 --- Mahnomen’s ball-control approach was the perfect recipe in winning the Indians’ seventh state championship and first since 1998. The Indians outgained Bethlehem Academy 214-32 in the first half and had the ball for nearly 18 minutes of the 24 minutes of play. On the scoreboard, Mahnomen had a 14-0 lead at the break. Senior quarterback Jacob Pavek paced the Indians with 151 yards on 23 carries and two touchdowns.
- Class AA: Caledonia 25, Moose Lake/Willow River 22 --- Senior Levi Schmitz booted a 24-yard field goal as time expired to not only snap a tie, but also give Caledonia its third consecutive state crown. Moose Lake/Willow River rallied from a 15-7 deficit with two long touchdown drives in the third quarter. Both were dynamic plays. Jake Disterhaupt scored on a 71-yard run and then quarterback Tony Adamczak hit tight end Isaac Coil with an 84-yard TD reception.
- Class AAA: Blue Earth 30, Rochester Lourdes 7 --- Blue Earth scored 24 unanswered points en route to capturing its first football championship. David Franta had 144 rushing yards on 13 carries, including a 79-yarder to pace the Bucs.
- Class AAAA: Hutchinson 67, Holy Family Catholic 7 --- Hutchinson didn’t attempt a pass in winning the program’s fourth football championship. Simply, the Tigers didn’t need to. Hutchinson rolled up 516 yards of offense, all on the ground. Junior Tory Adams had 197 yards on 17 carries and scored a TD; senior Mitch Peterson rushed for 148 yards on eight carries, three of which went for touchdowns. Senior Evan Metag had 64 yards and a TD and quarterback McKinley ran for three touchdowns.
- Class AAAAA: Totino-Grace 49, Owatonna 21 --- Totino-Grace added another trophy to the school’s rich tradition of football success by scoring 35 unanswered points in what had been a close game early. Quarterback A.J. LaPanta completed 8 of 11 passes for 219 yards and three touchdowns. Kez Flomo rushed for 97 yards on 11 carries and a TD.
- Class AAAAAA: Eden Prairie 28, Lakeville North 7 --- A seeding system was introduced in Class AAAAAA. Eden Prairie, the big-school champion in 2011, received the No. 3 seed to open the tournament. Edina was No. 1 and Wayzata, No. 2. Eden Prairie defeated Wayzata in the semifinals and then topped upset-minded No. 5 Lakeville North for the Eagles’ second consecutive title and eighth overall. Two long scoring drives defined Eden Prairie’s victory. One was a 77-yard drive following the opening kickoff. The other was a 14-play, 96-yard drive that ate up more than six minutes of the clock.
Did you know?
- This was the first year of the seven-class enrollment tournament, the same format still in use today. The Class AAAAAA field features the top 32 schools by enrollment.
- Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley rushed for 207 yards in the second quarter of its victory in the Class Nine-Man championship.
- Totino-Grace’s championship was its seventh since 2003 and ninth overall.
- Totino-Grace’s A.J. LaPanta is the son of Bally Sports Network announcer Anthony LaPanta, who also is a longtime Totino-Grace assistant coach.