Reporting Jeff Wald
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s hard to believe that the high school football season has come to an end.
Seven football teams celebrated championship seasons between the Friday and Saturday’s Prep Bowl games at the Metrodome. Seven others got so close, only to come up short and have to settle for second place.
The only disappointing part of the Prep Bowl was that a majority of the games were not close. Of the seven state championship games, just two were decided by seven points or less. Regardless, there were some great games along the way and there’s no greater thrill for a high school athlete than winning a state championship.
Here’s a look back at last week’s Prep Bowl games.
9-Man: Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley 40, Grand Meadow 21
Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley raced out to a 20-0 halftime lead on the way to a 40-21 win over Grand Meadow to claim the 9-Man Prep Bowl title. C-G-B ran for 393 yards in the state championship victory, led by Austin Maanum’s 185 yards and two touchdowns. Jason Montoye also ran for 126 yards and two scores, which were on runs of 51 and 49 yards. Maanum scored on a 73-yard run in the first half. Quarterback Damon Gibson also had a 39-yard touchdown run in the victory.
Class A: Mahnomen 20, Bethlehem Academy 14
Mahnomen got out to a 14-0 lead in a dominating first half where it out-gained Bethlehem Academy 214-32, then had to hold on for a 20-14 win to repeat as Class A champions. Jacob Pavek scored on runs of 18 yards and 1 yard to give Mahnomen a 14-0 lead at the half. Kyle Filzen scored on a 1-yard run for Bethlehem Academy to cut the deficit in half. Nathan Hanson scored on a 23-yard pass from Pavek with two minutes left in regulation to give Mahnomen a 20-7 lead. The Cardinals answered with a 15-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to 20-14. Mahnomen recovered the ensuing onside kick to seal the state championship. Pavek led Mahnomen with 151 rushing yards and two scores.
Class 2A: Caledonia 25, Moose Lake/Willow River 22
It wasn’t easy by any means, but Caledonia was able to continue its dominance in Class 2A with a 25-22 victory over Moose Lake/Willow River in the Prep Bowl. It was easily the closest and probably the most intense game of the state championships. Levi Schmitz was the hero for Caledonia, hitting a 24-yard field goal as time expired in regulation to give the Warriors their third state title in a row. Trailing 22-15, Caledonia’s Alex Vary intercepted a pass and took it 14 yards for a touchdown with 5:45 left in regulation. Brad Strub added a pair of touchdown runs for the Warriors. Jake Disterhaupt ran for two touchdowns to lead Moose Lake/Willow River.
Class 3A: Blue Earth 30, Rochester Lourdes 7
What was a close game turned into a route as Blue Earth scored 24 straight points to win the Class 3A Prep Bowl 30-7 over Rochester Lourdes. It’s the first state championship for the Buccaneers. David Franta ran for 144 yards and two touchdowns for Blue Earth, and Isaac Darrington added two touchdown passes in the game. Rochester Lourdes got its lone score on a 67-yrad run from Griff Slightam. It was Lourdes’ only loss of the season.
Class 4A: Hutchinson 67, Holy Family Catholic 7
Hutchinson had dominated opponents pretty much all season on the way to the Prep Bowl, and it wasn’t any different in the Class 4A Prep Bowl against Holy Family Catholic. The Tigers scored 67 straight points to douse the Fire in a 67-7 victory to complete a 13-0 season and a state championship. The 60-point margin of victory set a Prep Bowl record, eclipsing Triton’s 49-point win in 2006. Mitch Peterson ran for 148 yards and three touchdowns on eight carries, while quarterback McKinley Anderson added three touchdown runs. The Tigers didn’t throw a single pass in the game as they ran for 514 yards. Hutchinson left little doubt to the outcome early with a 42-0 lead at the half.
Class 5A: Totino-Grace 49, Owatonna 21
What was billed as the most competitive match-up of the Prep Bowl turned into a route after three quarters as Totino-Grace beat Owatonna 49-21 in the 5A title game. The Eagles scored 35 straight points to run away from the Huskies. It’s ninth state championship, a mark that includes seven since 2003. Quarterback A.J. LaPanta passed for 219 yards and three touchdowns for Totino-Grace, and Kez Flomo ran for 97 yards and a touchdown in the victory. Owatonna, known for its impressive run game, managed just 88 yards rushing against the Totino-Grace defense. The Eagles out-gained the Huskies 367-218 in the win. It was Owatonna’s only loss of the season, while Totino-Grace finished a perfect 13-0.
Class 6A: Eden Prairie 28, Lakeville North 7
The newest class in Minnesota high school football had a familiar state champion when it was all said and done. Eden Prairie controlled the football and ran over Lakeville North 28-7 to win the Class 6A state championship in the first year of the new class last Friday at the Metrodome. The Eagles scored 28 straight points and had the Panthers worn down by the fourth quarter. Eden Prairie showed plenty of balance in the game, getting all four scores from different players. Dan Fisher, Grant Schaeffer, Jacob Woodring and Anthony Anderson all had touchdown runs in the game. Eden Prairie out-gained Lakeville North 310-119, with 309 yards coming on the ground. Eden Prairie completed just one pass in the game. Fisher led Eden Prairie with 148 yards on 31 carries. One of the most impressive stats: The Eagles were 12-of-15 in converting on third down.
Now the only question that remains is will Mike Grant be coaching at Eden Prairie next season? He’s rumored to be one of the top candidates to replace John Gagliardi at St. John’s.
Stay with the Prep Blog heading into this winter as we transition into basketball and hockey among the several winter sports. And lastly, congratulations to all the Prep Bowl participants. Even if you’re not a state champion, just getting there is an experience that should never be forgotten.