On a cold, blustery day in Chanhassen, the Crimson battled against a valiant East Ridge team and prevailed in a nail-biter, 24 - 17. In a game littered with highs and lows, we did just enough necessary to head to US Bank for our second consecutive year and the 5th time in the last eight playoffs that we have reached the semifinals. It was a game where we took an early lead, but did not finish our opponent forcing a game that stayed in the balance until the final possession. It was a great experience for our boys and puts us in a position feeling prepared as we enter our next challenge this Thursday night in Minneapolis.
Defensively, we faced a challenge of a team with a talented quarterback that was threatening with his feet and arm and a big back that could power right through us. It made us fight with adversity throughout the evening when we constantly were put in positions that was filled with angst. It was an imperfect game, but one where we finished with two great series that allowed us to finish on top. Jett Uzzell led our team with 10 tackles on the evening while Jacob Anderson and Cooper Schmidt each totaled 9 out of the secondary. Henry Stang added 7 tackles and a huge interception to close the game late in the fourth quarter. We will face physical, hard-nosed opponents throughout the rest of the playoffs, so it will be fun to watch this group prepare and be ready to face up these obstacles and set a physical standard of our own.
Offensively, we started the game with great momentum as we scored on our first three possessions, but had trouble finishing drives in the second half of the game. Senior quarterback Jacob Kilzer continued his stellar Senior Season with 200 yards rushing on 23 carries with many of his runs resulting in very important first downs. Charlie Rausch added two more touchdowns in his 8 carries and Tanner Albeck did a great job in the first three quarters finishing with 58 yards and a TD on the opening drive.
Our special teams had highs and lows that impacted the game throughout. Connor Fournier was 1 for 2 on his fields goals in the 35 yard range, but he put all three extra points in on the night. Ben Jameson had two very good punts into the wind averaging about 30 yards that allowed us to flip the field on that Friday night. He also pinned East Ridge on their final drive inside the 7 yard line.
This Thursday night we have the opportunity to take on Lakeville South with a chance to get to the Prep Bowl. It should be a great game with two teams that have had the best record in the state over the past two years going after it. It is exciting to be at this point and I know the kids are focused and ready to take on a great team, so it's going to be fun to see what this week of practice will be like. Even though it's on a Thursday night, we need to fill our side Crimson and get the crowd out there getting it going! It is time to take over the Bank! I cannot wait to see us prepare and take the field screaming because we are so ready to get after it, be physical, and get step 4. It's going to be a blast! Let get after this and prepare at our best level over these next four days. The time is now! Let's get Step 4 and attack every second. It should be a great one!