On Thursday night in US Bank stadium, two teams locked horns and played an unbelievably well-played, hard-fought game where we were fortunate to prevail 14 - 7 allowing us the opportunity to head to our second consecutive Prep Bowl. Lakeville South and the Crimson played a game that had the fewest possessions on each side that I have ever been a part of because both offenses did such a good job controlling the ball and getting first down after first down. However, both defenses did a great job stiffening and getting big stops that kept the game so competitive. It was great playoff football!
Defensively, we had the challenge of facing Lakeville South's Power T and their two explosive running backs that were special players. We were the quintessential bend but not break defense but we made the big plays that were necessary to propel us forward. Junior Henry Stang had a remarkable game from his safety position with 16 total tackles, while Cooper Schmidt and Tanner Albeck recorded 10 tackles a piece and a tackle for loss. Other big plays were made by Senior Jackson Powers with a Sportscenter Highlight pick, and Senior Outside Linebacker Max Johnson had 9 tackles and 2 Interceptions in the 4th. Other big plays were made by Sophomore Sam Hanson who had a big stop on a 4th and 1, and Senior Cayden Vokal with 9 tackles and a sack. These guys did a great job against a physical team and they have to keep getting better because next week's opponent might be even more physical. It should be a blast and it's been awesome seeing this group keep getting better and better every week of the year.
Offensively we did a great job moving the ball methodically, and then hitting one big play when the opportunity arose. The drive after Lakeville South's opening scoring drive was one of the best offensive drives in the history of Crimson football and I was proud how we responded to being down. Senior Jacob Kilzer continued his remarkable Senior Season going 9 for 9 passing for 131 yards and a TD, while rushing for 73 hard yards on 16 carries to lead the team. Jacob Anderson kept making big plays from his receiver position as he had 107 yards on 4 receptions and a big touchdown at the end of the 2nd Quarter. Tanner Albeck kept his pattern of scoring in the Bank with a hard touchdown run on our opening drive, and Jordan Olagbaju and Charlie Rausch got hard yards that were needed throughout. Next week, we get a chance to play the #1 defense statistically in 6A so it will be a fun challenge for us that I know we are ready for! It will be a blast! Time to get after it and come in ready to fly!
Our Special Teams were not called upon that much this game as there was only one punt in the whole game, but we were able to squeak in two extra points and Sophomore Dylan Vokal had a nice 38 yard kick return that gave our opening drive of the 2nd half great field position. There is no question next week's game will come down to this in many ways, so we will keep preparing for those big moments that we can't wait for!
Now, it's time for the Prep Bowl! These Seniors have already accomplished something that few can ever get a chance to say. They have played 26 games over their careers as Varsity football players. That is remarkable and should not be understated. However, there is still a huge obstacle in our way that we can't wait to tackle. Step 5 is upon us and it's time to have our best two weeks of preparation heading into our tilt against a great Rosemount team that comes into the game undefeated as well. They are a team that will be big and physical and that has won close games over strong opponents, so they will be ready. That is awesome! It will be a blast because I know our boys are ready for this moment and have been on that stage already and played great, so it's time to finish it right! I cannot wait to see the Bank filled with fans on each side. Crimson fans we need you big time loud and proud! Make it hard on the Irish and let's take over the Bank! Let's Go!!! Nothing better than getting to spend one more Friday night with these boys after they have claimed their final practice! I cannot wait!