MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — After numerous runner-up finishes, the Owatonna Huskies finally got a state title.
Aaron Peterson ran for 183 yards and two touchdowns as Owatonna beat Brainerd 24-0 Saturday in the Class 5A Championship.
Quarterback Ian Langeberg had 136 yards passing for the top-ranked Huskies (13-0), who have three previous runner-up finishes, including last year.
“After all those years of unfinished business, we finally accomplished what we set out to do,” coach Jeff Williams said.
Third-ranked Brainerd, in the title game for the first time, was led by Conor Gessell’s 71 yards rushing.
“They have a better football team than we do, but I don’t think it’s 24 points better,” Warriors coach Ron Stolski said. “We’ve had a great run, and it’s fun to be a part of history as the last high school game ever played in the dome.”
The Metrodome will be torn down early next year and replaced by a new stadium to house the Minnesota Vikings.
Stolski has been a head coach for 52 years, the last 39 at Brainerd. He has a state-record 355 career victories, but not a title.
“It doesn’t matter to me; it matters to me that the kids had a chance to play for the title,” he said. “For the kids to have this experience to play in the dome against a good team against another very good team and to enjoy a (12-1) season matters a lot.”
Peterson, who finished the season with 2,046 rushing yards, scored on first-half runs of 3 yards and 1 yard to give the Huskies a 14-0 lead. The drives took 16 and 10 plays, respectively, and took nearly 10 minutes off the clock combined.
From there, the Owatonna defense was able to control the Warriors to post its fourth shutout of the season. The Huskies allowed just four of 13 opponents to reach double figures.
Sam Fenske returned an interception 39 yards for a touchdown with a minute to play.
“On offense we wanted to wear the clock down and our defense was able to make some great stops,” Peterson said. “It was just a great overall team performance.”
Brainerd moved the ball to the Owatonna 13 midway through the second, but a fourth-down pass from Thomas Stoxen was batted away by Ty Sullivan and Logan Langeland. And in the third quarter, the Warriors reached the Owatonna 26 before turning the ball over on downs.
The Huskies finished 7-of-7 on fourth downs, including a 7-yard pass from Langeberg to Langeland on a 12-play fourth-quarter drive that ended with a 25-yard field goal by Carter McCauley to make it 17-0.
“The thing is we put ourselves in really good positions on those fourth downs,” Langeberg said. “They were a lot of 4th-and-2, 4th-and-3, 4th-and-4 so that makes it a lot easier.”
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