Rushford-Peterson football season ends in Section playoffs

The Rushford-Peterson football team saw its season come to an end, dropping a home-field loss to Blooming Prairie on Saturday, Oct. 28, 21-20. The Trojans end the season with an 8-2 record, while Blooming Prairie advances to the Section 1A title game with an 8-2 record.

Rushford-Peterson

The Rushford-Peterson Trojans lost a tough one on their home field to Blooming Prairie on Saturday night, Oct. 28, by a 21-20 score, in the second round of the MSHSL football playoffs. The Trojans ended the season at 8-2.

The line between winning and losing can be a small one, as demonstrated by the game on Saturday. One missed extra-point kick that went just wide was the difference in a very physical football game.

The Trojans went 3-and-out on their first possession. Blooming Prairie drove the ball deep into Trojan territory, turning the ball over on downs at the Rushford-Peterson 10-yard line after a dropped pass in the end zone.

A good punt return combined with a facemask penalty on the Trojans gave the Blossoms possession at the R-P 43. BP quarterback Seth Peterson scored the first points of the game on a 6-yard TD run, with the Blossoms taking an early 7-0 lead with 1:41 left in the first quarter.

Peterson threw an interception on the fourth Blossom possession, with the errant pass picked off by Jake Paulson. Rushford-Peterson took advantage, putting together a 75-yard scoring drive. Ethan Sense covered the last 20 yards to score the first Trojan points. The extra-point kick was no good, so BP still had the lead at 7-6 with 8:58 left in the second quarter.

Ethan Hermanson would pick off another Seth Peterson pass late in the first half and the Trojans would drive the ball deep into BP territory. After an incomplete pass in the end zone, R-P quarterback Landon Skalet was intercepted, with the defender falling out of bounds at the one-yard line.

After a risky pass from their own end zone, it looked like Blooming Prairie was trying to run the clock out in order to take a one-point lead at halftime. However, running back Max Romeo was hit by a Trojan defender almost as soon as he took the handoff from Peterson, jarring the ball loose. The ball bounced around in the end zone, where Peyton Morrison recovered the ball for a quick six points for Rushford-Peterson. Skalet was tackled while attempting the 2-point conversion, but the Trojans led 12-7 going into halftime with some momentum.

The Blossoms fumbled the ball on their first possession of the second half but the Trojans weren’t able to convert it into points. The second BP possession went much better for the Blossoms. Peterson finished off a 78-yard drive with a 10-yard scoring pass to Matthew Pryor. The XP kick made it a 14-12 Blooming Prairie lead with 4:29 to go in the third quarter.

The biggest break of the game swung to Blooming Prairie in the third quarter. The Trojans were running the Wildcat formation with Jake Paulson taking snaps instead of Skalet. Paulson had the option to throw or pass out of the formation. Paulson’s pass in front of the Blooming Prairie sideline was intercepted and the Blossoms would take advantage.

Blooming Prairie capitalized on a 30-yard scoring drive as Peterson hit Colin Lerum on a 16-yard TD pass with 1:03 left in the third quarter. The extra-point kick made it 21-12 in favor of Blooming Prairie.

Undaunted, the Trojans came right back on their next possession, answering the score with one of their own. R-P drove the ball 80 yards, with the big play a Skalet-to-Paulson 33-yard bomb. Those two would connect again on a 25-yard TD pass. Sense carried the ball into the end zone on the two-point conversion attempt and the Trojans had knocked the BP lead to a single point, 21-20, with 11:13 left in the game.

The Blossoms got a 48-yard return on the ensuing kickoff, taking possession at the R-P 38. The Trojan defense would rise to the challenge, forcing the Blossoms to turn the ball over on downs at the Rushford-Peterson 24. The Trojans had time to work with on the clock and a chance to drive for the winning points.

R-P drove the ball deep into Blooming Prairie territory, helped out by a questionable pass-interference call on the Blossoms, which kept the drive alive. The last gasp came on a Skalet pass into the end zone that was intercepted, giving Blooming Prairie a chance to run out the clock in the fourth quarter, winning the game 21-20.

I caught up with R-P head coach Davin Thompson after the game. Obviously, he was pretty dejected but was very proud of his team:

 

Spring Grove football season comes to an end

Spring Grove football

The Spring Grove Lions football team lost to Grand Meadow 47-21 in the State 9-man, Section 1 title game at the RCTC football stadium in Rochester. (photo by Chad Smith)

The Spring Grove Lions came to play in the 9-Man, Section 1 football championship game on Friday night, November 4th, against Grand Meadow, but it took the offense too long to get going. The Superlarks led 20-0 in the first quarter before the teams began trading touchdowns for the rest of the game, which Grand Meadow won 47-21.

Grand Meadow was the number one ranked team in the Minnesota State 9-man poll at the end of the regular season, as well as the number one seed in the section tournament. They hit the ground running (literally) with Christopher Brain racing untouched 65 yards on the first play of the game. While the Superlarks were scoring on the first three drives of the game, number two section seed and number five state-ranked Spring Grove was only managing only a first down on each of its first three possessions.

Offense was hard to come by for the Lions. They did manage 312 yards of total offense against the Superlarks, but Grand Meadow gained 445 yards. Alex Folz had 100 yards rushing (102 yards, one TD) and passing (153 yards, two TDs). Christopher Bain and Zach Myhre were a solid one-two punch out of the GM backfield. Bain ran for 197 yards (20 carries) and Myhre ran for 126 (14 carries).

Spring Grove standout wide receiver Chase Grinde faced double teams from Grand Meadow defenders all night long. The cornerback would be within five yards of the line of scrimmage and a deep safety would be ten yards directly behind him. Despite the constant double teams, Grinde still caught six passes for 86 yards.

Grinde was also very busy defensively. He led the Lions with a career-high 24 tackles. The problem is, when your deep safety is making all the tackles, the offense is doing a very good job of moving the ball. Grinde had the Lions’ only tackle-for-loss.

Spring Grove was shorthanded in the backfield even before the opening kickoff. The Lions’ leading rusher Cullen Patterson (911 yards) was out with an injury. Brock Schuttemeier moved from his tight end spot to running back and found some tough sledding (13 carries, 43 yards).

Despite falling behind early, the Lions never stopped playing hard. The momentum of the game appeared to turn once and for all in Grand Meadow’s favor when the Lions were driving and turned the ball over on downs at the Superlark 11-yard line.

Here are a few highlights from the ballgame:

The Superlarks upped their winning streak to 47 straight games, and the three-time defending state champs will face Edgerton/Ellsworth in the state quarterfinals on Friday, November 11. Kickoff will be at 7:00 at the RCTC campus in Rochester.

Rochester Mayo football starts fast

Rochester Mayo High School

The Rochester Mayo Spartans take a 1-0 record to Rochester Century to face the Panthers in their next action on Friday night. (Photo from ww2.rochester.k12.mn.us)

 

The Rochester Mayo Spartans opened the 2015 football season with a 50-21 road victory over the Faribault Cardinals.

The game was a rematch of the Section 1AAAAA championship game from last year, which went to the Cardinals. While it didn’t take the sting away from last season’s 20-14 Overtime loss, the Spartans played well to open the new season schedule.

 

 

Spartans Coach Donny Holcomb said it’s always great to start the season with a win, but Mayo had to withstand a Cardinal comeback in the second half:

 

He said the Spartans showed some resilience in the fourth quarter.

“Definitely, I’m glad to see the way the kids finished the game,” said Holcomb. “They really came together and finished strong, without pointing fingers at each other.”

Several things stood out for the Spartans in the win:

 

Greg Henry led the rushing attack with 24 carries for 124 yards and four touchdowns.  He added 2 catches for 73 yards and another TD.

New quarterback Trajan Grimsrud was 9 of 16 passing for 141 yards and 2 TD’s through the air.

This year’s Spartans team has a whole lot of new faces in key roles.

“We actually lost 15 starters on both sides of the ball,” said Holcomb. “It’s a fairly new team with a lot of guys that learned from past players and hungry to get their chance to step in like on any high school team, so they’re ready to take over and give their best.”

Despite a lot of new faces, the Spartans did bring back a few familiar names from last year:

 

Holcomb’s offensive philosophy is balance:

 

He wants the Spartans to play aggressive defense.

“We’re going to be a base defense that’s very aggressive,” said Holcomb. “We do want to come out and blitz the other team and find an offense’s weaknesses. We like to do simple things right and blitz when we need to.”

The Spartans will be at Rochester Century in their next action Friday night. Holcomb said it’s always a challenge to play a cross-town rival:

 

What kind of challenges will the Panthers present?

“They’re a team that’s not as big,” said Holcomb, “but that means they’re going to be quick, especially on the offensive and defensive lines. They’re going to play faster than your typical O and D lines, so we’re expecting more speed. We saw some of their skill players in 7-on-7 over the summer, so we know we need to play disciplined.”