MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Mitchell Underhill is one of Wayzata’s most unassuming football players. His actions spoke plenty Friday night.
The sophomore scored on four long touchdown runs as the Trojans beat Rosemount 31-14 to win the Class 5A football title at the Metrodome.
It’s the second title in three years and third in six years for Wayzata (11-0). Rosemount was seeking its first state crown since 1981.
Underhill finished with 12 carries for 247 yards. He went 45 yards for a touchdown on the game’s second play, then scored three times in the third quarter as Wayzata pulled away.
“I can’t speak right now. I’m at a loss for words,” he said. “As long as we win I don’t care about the stats.”
Wayzata coach Brad Anderson isn’t shy about praising the 5-foot-8, 160-pound running back.
“He’s an unbelievably talented athlete. He’s an incredible downhill skier. We’re very fortunate he’s playing football,” Anderson said. “He’s got great balance, he’s got great determination. For a guy who’s not very big, he’s really strong, too. I know he’d give his offensive line credit but, obviously, he made those runs as well.”
Three plays after Rosemount was stopped on downs midway through the third quarter, Underhill went 66 yards for a 17-7 lead. Less than 2 minutes later, Underhill went 58 yards for a score, and after a three-and-out by Rosemount, Underhill squirted through the line and again went 58 yards to the end zone.
“When you see the open field and broad daylight you just go for it,” Underhill said.
Wayzata’s four touchdown drives took 2 minutes, 11 seconds, with none taking more than a minute. The Trojans finished with 350 yards of offense, 300 of it on the ground.
“They’ve got such great speed, that’s why you have to be so disciplined with your gap responsibilities. If they find a crack they’re gone,” said Rosemount coach Jeff Erdmann.
The Wayzata defense, which allowed just 30 points in four postseason games, held the Irish (12-1) to 189 yards, and its lowest point total of the season.
Kevin Larson scored on a 3-yard run early in the second quarter for Rosemount, and Nicholas Liska added a 4-yard run late in the game. Liska, who scored three touchdowns in a semifinal win over Brainerd, led the Irish with 68 rushing yards.
Larson, who attempted just 77 passes in the team’s first 12 games, finished 6 for 23 through the air.
“We’re definitely not the biggest team out there, but we’re so fast at getting to our opponents and eventually we wear them down,” said Wayzata linebacker Ryan Poppitz, who finished with six tackles. “We’ve got Sean Hamlin, who’s a tremendous corner, and Aaron Roth, who does everything. We figure if we got them throwing we like that matchup.”
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