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7 PM, December 2nd, at US Bank Stadium, the undefeated Crimson took the field against the undefeated Irish of Rosemount for a chance at their first state title in the 2022 Prep Bowl. The next 48 minutes will be talked about for years to come as the Crimson scored 21 points in a three minute stretch of the 2nd quarter and won a convincing 27-10 victory to finish on top of 6A football in Minnesota.
Defensively, we came in under the radar as most of the attention was on the defensive unit for Rosemount, but we came together and made a huge impact limiting their points and creating opportunities for our offense as well. Senior Tanner Albeck continued his unbelievable entry into linebacking with 14 total tackles and 2 tackles for loss, while Junior Henry Stang continued his unbelievable stretch in US Bank with 14 tackles of his own. Cayden Vokal had a great game with 10 tackles, and Jacob Anderson had 9 total tackles, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and an Interception. Ben Jameson was "Johnny on the Spot" as he recovered his 4th fumble of the year, and our entire Defense forced 3 turnovers that led to 14 points on the scoreboard. There is not a player that did not have a huge impact out there and watching Seniors like Cooper Schmidt, Max Johnson, Jackson Powers, Jett Uzzell, Alan Jou, and Max Draheim play will be something I will miss next year. They were awesome to watch and they finished their season on an absolute high note! They were unreal on their biggest stage!
Offensively, we went into a game against a team that averaged giving up only 6 points a game, and we scored 27 and honestly left ten to fourteen points off the board. It was a great effort by all, and we beat a team that took pride in its physicality by coming right at them with three drives in the 2nd half that were longer than 7 minutes long. Jordan Olagbaju got back to carrying the rock with more regularity this week gaining 77 hard yards on 15 carries while Tanner Albeck made the most of his carries with 23 yards on 4 carries and a TD. Senior Jacob Kilzer finished off his unreal Senior year with 7 - 11 passing for 130 yards and a TD, while rushing for 45 yards and 2 TDs. His numbers this year are staggering as he threw for over 1350 yards and rushed for over 1270 yards and was responsible for 33 total TDs. Jacob Anderson kept making an impact with 3 receptions for 68 yards and a TD and he added a carry of 16 yards to get us close to the goal line. However, the real stars of the game were up front. Seniors Hunter Gerber, Zeth Petrie, Andrew Dotzenrod, Gus Gruenig, and Max Draheim along with sophomore Nathan Hromadka created movement all night that allowed us to keep the chains moving. In the match-up the prognosticators thought would be an advantage for Rosemount, it became a huge advantage for us. This group was the heart and soul of our team, and they shined at US Bank. What an effort by this group!
On Special Teams, Ben Jameson kept kicking touchback after touchback and Connor Fournier kept making kicks when our Field Goal team executed. It was a total team effort!
The team of 2022 will live in infamy and will be the standard this program will refer to for years to come. A 13-0 state championship season is rare and is something that will be celebrated every time their banner is seen. I want to personally thank our coaching staff. Adam Spurrell did an unbelievable job as our Defensive Coordinator this year and does a ton of our football operations that allows me to really concentrate on the tactical end each week of our season. Solo, Trazzy, Marty, Fish, Boegel, Flomo, Beau, Sterling, Husby, and Detlaff create a group that absolutely loves these kids, and I cannot thank them enough for what they do! We are blessed with a great bunch of men leading these players! Our community is awesome! The amount of support we get from outlying businesses and sponsors makes a huge impact for our program, and the support within our school from administration allows us to push the envelope. Our parents and families are the absolute best! They want what is absolutely the peak for their kids and they are willing to take their own time to make it happen. The student body filling every stadium we go to makes a huge impact for our players and the support they feel for being Crimson is contagious. Last, but not least, is the alumni that created the foundation for these players. All those players that came before us that created the culture that is now Crimson football informed me that many of them teared up as the final horn sounded and we were State Champs. They poured their hearts into this team and they care deeply for your successes because they want it to be great. As a coach, I am truly blessed to have a football family where everyone involved from 2nd to 12th grade is willing to be there for each other. That is awesome. I am honored to be your coach and I cannot be prouder of a group of young men that had the belief, resilience, and love to achieve something that needed to be achieved. They were the ones meant to do it. They had tons of adversity this year with injuries and they never wavered. They handled it like selfless winners and were willing to sacrifice for each other. Now, on December 3rd, they are sitting in rooms with all of their teammates and they know that they are forever State Champs. The class of 2023 will always be known as the team of 2022. The first group that stood on the top of that podium, raised a banner, and allowed Maple Grove to know that is where we belong in all sports for the rest of time. This group of young men will forever be in my heart because they inspired me in so many ways, and they are a group of young men that I cannot wait to see be successes in everything they attempt because I know they will do it! GO CRIMSON! STATE CHAMPS 2022! YOUR TIME WAS NOW!
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!
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!