Archive for the ‘The Big One’ Category

From StarTribune.com

Surging Mounds View was a TD away from the lead when the Trojans’ backup QB tucked the ball away on a deflating 62-yard scramble, setting up an insurance TD.

By DAVID LA VAQUE dlavaque@startribune.com, Star Tribune

It probably figures that the longest offensive gain in a game controlled by defense was forced rather than called.

Part-time Wayzata quarterback Nick Martin was instructed to look for a receiver running a drag route against Mounds View and given the option to run if the play did not come open.

With Mustangs blanketing his receiver, Martin ran 62 yards to Mounds View’s 11. It was the big play the Trojans needed to set up a touchdown and go ahead by 12 points in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s 21-16 Trojans victory in a Class 5A state semifinal at the Metrodome.

Fighters to the end, Mounds View (11-2) answered with a touchdown and was not out of the game until a pass fell short on fourth-and-6 from Wayzata’s 39.

With the victory, Wayzata (10-0) advances to play Rosemount (12-0) on Friday in the Prep Bowl championship game. Wayzata previously won Class 5A titles in 2005 and 2008. Rosemount won in 1981.

“We knew we’d have to earn this one,” Wayzata coach Brad Anderson said.

Two touchdowns six minutes into the game, one each from the defense and offense, gave No. 1 Wayzata a 14-0 lead over No. 6 Mounds View that the Trojans held into the fourth quarter.

Then Mounds View found the end zone, first on a ball tipped by Jimmy Duffy into the waiting arms of Blake Anderson. The play capped a 17-play, 85-yard drive and cut Wayzata’s lead to 14-7.

Wayzata entered Saturday’s semifinal game having outscored its previous three opponents 111-0. The Trojans had not allowed a point since overtime of their victory over Eden Prairie on Oct. 20.

Wayzata had to punt away its next possession from its own 23, and the attempt was blocked by Maze Thompson. The ball rolled into the end zone for a safety and gave the Mustangs the ball.

Then Martin, who plays the third drive of each half in relief of starting quarterback Sasha Doran, came into the game. Though not a running quarterback, Martin is an ex-soccer player in his second year of football. So he is familiar with the concept of making runs.

“His run tonight might have been the difference,” Anderson said. “He’s really an unflappable athlete.”

Aaron Roth’s touchdown run made it 21-9 with 5:34 remaining, enough time for Duffy to haul in a one-handed touchdown catch and for the Mustangs defense to force a punt.

“We fed off our defense’s emotion,” Mounds View coach Jim Galvin said. “We just asked them to give us chances. In the end we just needed one more first down.”

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Highlight video of the Mounds View vs Wayzata playoff game courtesy of Coon Rapids Sports on YouTube

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This season we’ll have a weekly segment called “The Big One” where we feature a game with post-game articles and/or analysis including video from our friends at Coon Rapids Sports on YouTube.  Our next “Big One” of the 2010 season will be the Mounds View vs Wayzata semifinal State 5A playoff game on Saturday, November 20th (8:15pm) @ Metrodome.

The Wayzata Trojans (9-0) enter this game undefeated.  They’ve beaten three other State 5A qualifying teams (Lakeville South, Eden Prairie, Blaine) by an average score of 36-16 and their defense has shutout their three playoff  opponents.  They have speed.  They have skill.  They have coaching.  How can they lose?  The Mounds View Mustangs (10-1) enter this game on a high having avenged their only loss of the season to Cretin-Derham Hall by holding them to just 7 points in a 21-7 win.  Like Wayzata the Mustangs have dominated their three playoff opponents beating them by an average score of 34-9.  They have some speed.  They have some skill.  They have some coaching.  But do they have enough to knock off the top-ranked Wayzata Trojans and secure a spot in the Minnesota State 5A Championship game?  We’ll find out Saturday night.

State 5A Semifinal Matchups (@ Metrodome):
– Rosemount vs Brainerd – Friday, November 19th (8:15pm)
– Mounds View vs Wayzata – Saturday, November 20th (8:15pm)

From StarTribune.com

A much-anticipated showdown between the top two teams quickly became one-sided.

By DAVID La VAQUE, Star Tribune

Late in a first half that saw Wayzata’s defense flush, flummox and flatten him, Blaine quarterback Eric Kline once again found himself on the run.

Forced to his left with Trojans’ defenders in hot pursuit and clawing at the football in his right hand, Kline switched the ball to his left hand while trying to get out of bounds — one more case of him acting out of desperation rather than design.

Blitzing Wayzata defenders shut down the state’s best dual threat quarterback and turned a meeting of the state’s two best teams into a rout. Defensive pressure and four Aaron Roth touchdowns pushed No. 1 Wayzata (9-0) to a 34-0 victory in Friday’s Class 5A state tournament quarterfinal at Osseo.

“Eric had guys in his face all night,” Blaine coach Shannon Gerrety said. “I felt bad for him. That was a different level of football tonight.”

Heading into Friday, No. 2 Blaine’s (10-1) spread offense averaged 38.1 points per game. One possession against Wayzata indicated the Bengals’ attack would come up short of the mark. Kline got sacked twice, forcing him into his duties as Blaine’s punter. New role, same result. Wayzata’s special teams put a rush on and tackled Kline at the Bengals’ 18-yard line. Kline, who accounted for 3,002 total yards and 34 touchdowns this season, was held to 27 yards rushing on 22 carries and completed 9 of 14 passes for 59 yards and two interceptions.

“Tonight was our night,” Wayzata coach Brad Anderson said. “We jumped on them early. Our defense isn’t big but they fly around and get after it.”

Blaine moved the ball on its next possession as Kline completed a 15-yard pass, then broke off a 13-yard run to Wayzata’s 39-yard line. The Trojans called timeout then held serve for three plays to force another Bengals’ punt. Wayzata’s offense drove 80 yards for a second touchdown and 13-0 lead.

Two more sacks from the Trojans’ defense stifled Blaine’s next drive. Using a three-man front with one or two blitzing players off the edge, Wayzata kept the Bengals going backward en route to the Trojans’ third consecutive shutout.

“Our defensive coordinator Matt Lombardi is a mad scientist,” Anderson said. “He dreams schemes up at night.”

Members of the Wayzata crowd felt their wildest dreams come true when the public address announcer notified them of losses by six-time state champion Eden Prairie and defending state champion Cretin-Derham Hall.

“We’ll celebrate this one tonight and we’ll worry about what’s ahead tomorrow,” said a smiling Anderson.

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Highlight video of the Blaine vs Wayzata playoff game courtesy of Coon Rapids Sports on YouTube

This season we’ll have a weekly segment called “The Big One” where we feature a game with post-game articles and/or analysis including video from our friends at Coon Rapids Sports on YouTube.  Our next “Big One” of the 2010 season will be the Blaine vs Wayzata on Friday, November 12th (7:00pm) @ Osseo High School.

The Wayzata Trojans enter this game undefeated (8-0) and the top ranked team in the state of Minnesota (Class 5a).  They have played a very competitive schedule beating two other teams that have qualified for the State (5A) Tournament (Lakeville South & Eden Prairie).  Offensively the Trojans are a run-heavy team led by running back Aaron Roth (Sr).  Roth is a threat both on the ground (586 yards, 5 touchdowns) and in the air (17 receptions, 236 yards, 2 touchdowns).  However, defense is their calling card.  They are a stifling group of “no names” that only gives up an average of 12 points per game.  Their thrilling overtime win over the Eden Prairie Eagles on October 20th (28-27) was the last time an opposing team has scored on them.

Here are highlights of that Eden Prairie @ Wayzata game courtesy of WayzataTV on YouTube

The Blaine Bengals are also undefeated (10-0) and enter this game as the second ranked team in the state of Minnesota (Class 5a).  You can’t fault Blaine for the level of competition in the Northwest Suburban Conference being down this year, but they did what good teams are supposed to do against weaker opponents – they dominated them.  The Bengals are led by arguably the best dual-threat quarterback in the state in Eric Kline (Sr).  Kline leads the team in rushing with 1059 yards and 24 touchdowns, and has thrown for another 1943 yards and 10 touchdowns.  As Kline goes so goes the Blaine offense.  Defensively Blaine might be just as tough as Wayzata allowing just over 12 points per game albeit against much weaker competition.  Linebacker Chris Thomas (Sr) leads an opportunistic group with 110 total tackles, 5 interceptions and 3 fumble recoveries.  He’s also scored 4 touchdowns (2 interception returns, 2 fumble returns).

As is usually the case this time of year the winner of Section 7AAAAA must prove they are for real.  Two seasons ago Blaine won their section and knocked off Eden Prairie and Cretin-Derham Hall in consecutive weeks to reach the State Championship game, where they lost to Wayzata.  Based on strength of schedule Wayzata is the obvious favorite in this matchup.  Are the Trojans too tough for the Bengals?  Is Blaine is as good as their record indicates?  We’ll find out Friday!

From SportsPrepZone.com

by Tom Yelle

It has been a season framed by consistency and one that now has afforded the Blaine High School program an 11th opportunity to play in the big-school state football tournament.

With its 40-14 Friday night win over Andover in the Section 7AAAAA championship game, Blaine enters first round state tournament play on a 10-for-10 season run in 2010. It will put that mark on the line when it faces top-ranked Wayzata next Friday night on the Osseo field.

Before it heads into that 11th game, it should be noted that Blaine has been defining consistency in butt-kicking style for nearly two months. Only once in its first 10 games this season has a team come within seven points and that was only after Blaine constructed a commanding 28-7 first-half lead over Champlin Park during Week 3 of the season.

Other than Champlin Park, no other opponent has come close. Furthermore, the 26-point margin of victory over Andover in the 7AAAAA finale on the Blaine High School field, epitomized what this Bengals team has been all about.

Head coach Shannon Gerrety explained the simple concept of continuity and consistency. At the start of this season he threw out a challenge to his players, asking them to give up individualistic play for that of team play. To be successful, Gerrety told his kids:

“You have to pull together as one all the time.”

And, he added:

“They [the kids] grabbed the concept early on and have carried it through. They [have done] it as a group — no pressure on any individuals — just team play in a team game.”

Along the way, however, there has been some pretty good play turned in by some of Blaine ‘s top players. Two of Blaine ‘s best, in fact, were on display against Andover in the section finale.

On the offensive side of the ball was quarterback Eric Kline, who came through with another one of his sterling all-around passing and running performances. Kline, who rushed for 183 yards and passed for 135 more, scored four consecutive touchdowns during the second and third quarters.

He ripped off 29- and 11-yard slide-and-glide runs to the end zone in the second quarter, a slip-through 1-yard run (immediately after an Andover goal line fumble) early in the second half, then a magnificent 43-yard dash that encompassed most of his athletic abilities. A play which might have been his best effort of the season, Kline started left, cut back right, then cut back on diagonal across the width of the field before turning up along the left side line to reach the end zone with a dive.

On the defensive side, meantime, was Chris Thomas, who throughout the season has had a knack for making big plays. The middle linebacker’s late interception of a pass over the middle denied Champlin Park a complete comeback during that Week 3 game Blaine won by just seven points was his first.

After that play, Thomas returned an interception 37 yards for a touchdown against Coon Rapids Oct. 1, picked up a fumble and returned it 43 yards for a touchdown against Andover Oct. 15, then picked up another fumble and returned it 61 yards in the 7AAAAA semifinal game against Forest Lake Oct. 30.

In this second meeting with Andover Friday night for the 7AAAAA championship, Thomas did it again. Similar to his saving pickoff in the game against Champlin Park, he did so against Andover , intercepting a Tyler Finnes middle-thrown pass a step above the five before cutting up the right sideline on a 94-yard solo sprint.

From the moment he picked off the pass to the end zone at the other end of Blaine ‘s field where he scored, Thomas was full throttle, never missing a stride.

Finnes, like Kline, was also an offensive force throughout the season for his Andover team. In this game, however, he was limited by the swarming Blaine defensive unit to just 35 yards rushing and not quite 150 yards passing.

Finnes did score both Andover touchdowns — a first-quarter keeper of four yards, then a fourth-quarter scramble/run to the end zone of six.

Blaine running back Ben Pigorsch also had a touchdown — the game’s first score from seven yards — by scampering around the left side with an option pitch from Kline to the end zone.

At that moment late in the first quarter, Blaine was off and running toward its 11th trip to the state tournament.

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Highlight videos of the Andover vs Blaine playoff game courtesy of Coon Rapids Sports on YouTube

This season we’ll have a weekly segment called “The Big One” where we feature a game with post-game articles and/or analysis including video from our friends at Coon Rapids Sports on YouTube.  Our next “Big One” of the 2010 season will be Andover @ Blaine on Friday, November 5th (7:00pm).

With the exception of their week 3 game against Champlin Park the Blaine Bengals (9-0) have not been seriously challenged this season.  Led by quarterback Eric Kline (Sr) the Bengals score early and often beating their opponents by an average score of 38-12.  Their regular season meeting with Andover (7-2) was supposed to be competitive and it was, for a quarter.  Down 7-6 early in the 2nd quarter linebacker Chris Thomas (Sr) grabbed the ball he’d stripped from Andover quarterback Tyler Finnes (Sr) and raced 43 yards for a touchdown.  That play ignited the Bengals for 25 unanswered 2nd quarter points en route to a 45-14 blowout.

Andover seems to have figured out an identity since that game.  They have put the ball in the hands of Finnes and asked him to do it all – running and passing.  As Finnes goes so goes the Andover offense and it has worked.  The Huskies have run off three straight victories and avenged a regular season loss to Coon Rapids with a thrilling 17-16 victory last week in the semifinal round of the playoffs.  Now they get another shot at Blaine.

Here are highlight videos of the Andover vs Blaine regular season game courtesy of Coon Rapids Sports on YouTube

Does Andover have what it takes to knock the mighty Blaine Bengals on the road and get to State for the second time in four seasons?  Will Blaine continue their dominance and advance to State for the second time in three seasons?  We’ll find out on Friday!

The Andover Huskies (8-2) jumped out to a 17-0 first half lead and appeared on their way to an easy victory before a thrilling comeback by the Coon Rapids Cardinals (6-4).  Trailing 17-0 and unable to run the ball effectively Coon Rapids turned to the arm of quarterback Alex Aase (Jr) and he did not disappoint.  Behind a handful of Aase completions the Coon Rapids offense came to life marching down the field and into field goal range.  As the first half expired kicker Josh Hrab (Jr) split the uprights from 35 yards out making the score 17-3.  More importantly though it set the tone for what would become an exciting second half.

Building off the momentum of that final first half drive Coon Rapids forced an Andover punt and took over possession at midfield.  Facing a 3rd and long Aase rolled to his right and slinged a pass to Bill Holder (Sr) for 15 yards and a first down keeping the drive alive.  Running back Antonio Ford (Jr), who had been kept under wraps to this point, then sliced his way 12 yards to the Andover 26 yard line.  From there Aase would deliver his best throw of the game to wide receiver Tom Hansen (Sr) who had gotten behind the secondary.  Aase and Hansen had failed to connect long on a few previous occasions but this time Hansen laid out in the back of the endzone and came up with the catch for a touchdown pulling Coon Rapids to within a touchdown at 17-10.

Things would go from bad to worse on Andover’s next possession when quarterback Tyler Finnes (Sr), under pressure, rushed a pitch to the running back.  The ball skipped past free and Coon Rapids linebacker Jake Sederstrom (Sr) dove and recovered it for the Cardinals at the Andover 36 yard line.  The excitement was short-lived however as Coon Rapids gave the ball right back to Andover.  On their first play following the fumble recovery a botched handoff attempt from Aase to Ford resulted in a fumble and Andover recovered it.  The turnover put a halt to the momentum Coon Rapids had built up but it was only temporary.

With the ball on their own 43 yard line Tyler Finnes threw a laser to wide receiver Jake Wagner (Sr) who caught the ball in stride and turned up field.  Wagner raced down the sideline for 48 yards before being brought down at the Coon Rapids 9 yard line.  From there the Cardinal defense would stiffen forcing a field goal attempt from kicker Tyler McLaughlin (Jr).  McLaughlin, who had already kicked a 23 yard field goal on Andover’s first possession of the game, hooked this one to the left and missed from 27 yards out.

As the game moved into the 4th quarter neither offense was able to move the ball for the next few possessions as the defenses took control.  Facing a 4th and long from the Andover 45 yard line Coon Rapids lined up to punt in an effort to control field position.  As quarterback Alex Aase took the snap from center defensive lineman Tyler Hartmann (Jr) saw an open lane and went for it and was able to reach Aase and block the punt giving Andover the ball at the Coon Rapids 41 yard line.  But the Cardinals defense, as they had done the entire 2nd half, wouldn’t budge at all and forced them to punt.

Down 17-10 the Coon Rapids offense came to life again.  Aase hit Holder over the middle for 15 yards, then Ford saw a lane and sprinted through it for 21 yards and again for another 13 yards, finally Aase threw a quick slant to Sean Bush (Jr) who cut his way for 20 yards to the Andover 4 yard line.  Ford finished the drive leaping into the endzone from a yard out pulling Coon Rapids to within a point at 17-16.  The extra point would tie it and likely send the game into overtime considering how the defenses were playing but it was not meant to be.  Facing the wind Josh Hrab pushed the kick wide of the right upright and missed the extra point.

Coon Rapids got the ball back and were within striking distance after driving inside the Andover 30 yard line, but with less than 30 seconds to go Aase’s desperation pass was intercepted at the 1 yard line by defensive back Tyler Bridgeman (Jr) to seal the game.  For Coon Rapids quarterback Alex Aase finished the game 19-for-37 for 189 yards and a touchdown.  Running back Antonio Ford rushed 21 times for 124 yards and a touchdown.  For Andover quarterback Tyler Finnes finished the game 13-for-23 for 145 yards and a rushing touchdown.  Running back Camden Briggity (So) rushed 26 times for 63 yards and a touchdown.

Andover advances to the Section 7AAAAA Championship where they will face the top seeded, and unbeaten, Blaine Bengals next Friday at 7:00pm.

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Highlight videos of the Coon Rapids vs Andover playoff game courtesy of Coon Rapids Sports on YouTube