MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — New Ulm Cathedral coach Denny Lux attributes much of his team’s success this season on its ability to stay healthy.
Losing senior starting quarterback Kevin Larson in the first half of the Class 1A state championship game, the Greyhounds responded to their first big injury by winning their first state title.
Junior running back Eric Hauser had 121 yards rushing and two touchdowns to lead New Ulm Cathedral to a 19-10 win against Barnesville on Friday at the Metrodome. Hauser scored twice in the first quarter, including a 52-yard touchdown run to open the scoring, and the Greyhounds finished the season with 13 straight wins after losing the season opener 21-7 against Springfield.
“We started out with that loss against Springfield and that was tough,” Hauser said. “It was pretty humbling. I think after that it really motivated us to work hard and we just kept working hard.”
It wasn’t the last time New Ulm Cathedral (13-1) would overcome a bit of adversity.
Larson was injured on a sack near the end of the first half and didn’t return. Thanks to a suffocating defense, the Greyhounds made their early lead stand.
“We’ve got to give our guys credit when you lose your starting quarterback who got you there,” Lux said. “And he had a heck of a game last week. But in the long run, we were able to make the plays.”
Junior Nick Simon, who filled in for Larson at the start of the second half, rushed for 94 yards and a touchdown.
“I was definitely a little nervous, but we’ve been practicing and we know what we’re doing,” Simon said.
With his defense shutting down Barnesville, Lux eventually went to Drew Pfaff at quarterback, returning Simon to his typical running back spot. With Simon and Hauser leading the way, the Greyhounds controlled the clock and extended the lead with an 18-yard touchdown run by Simon.
New Ulm Cathedral ran for 248 yards in the game.
“As far as throwing the ball, it took that away,” Lux said of Larson’s injury. “But really, we’re still a running team. We still need to run the football. That’s really what we’re about.”
The Greyhounds can play defense too.
Barnesville averaged 40.5 points and 355.8 yards per game this season, but was held to 250 yards by New Ulm Cathedral.
Colby Braton had 90 rushing yards for Barnesville, but the Trojans (13-1) were 5 of 20 passing for 85 yards and an interception.
“They have a good play-action pass game and we felt we had our kids prepared for it,” Lux said. “We were picking up the receivers pretty decent.”
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