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Mountain Lake defeats Hancock for Nine-Man title, Pierz wins 3A title and Chaska tops 5A

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The Hancock Owls came up short of the Nine-Man football state championship Saturday, losing to 22-14 to the Mountain Lake Area Wolverines. Hancock finsihed 10-1 for the season.


Hancock Owls finish 10-1 in Nine-Man football season

Mountain Lake Area emerged as the only undefeated team in Class Nine-Man following a 22-14 victory over Hancock in the Prep Bowl championship game on Saturday, Nov. 30, at U.S. Bank Stadium.

The Wolverines (14-0) atoned from a loss suffered in the title game in 2018 with a rushing performance that rolled up 241 yards and nearly 100 more through the air. Senior quarterback Abraham Stoesz rushed for 140 yards on 22 carries and scored a touchdown. His 5-yard scoring run with 42 seconds remaining in the third quarter followed by a two-point conversion pass to senior wide receiver Brett Willaby gave the Wolverines an eight-point advantage they would defend the rest of the way.

Junior running back Mace Herrig chipped in 97 yards and a touchdown, and Stoesz passed for 92 yards and another score.

In addition to the runner-up finish in 2018, Mountain Lake was the Class C runner-up in 1980, two seasons before the Prep Bowl era began.

Hancock (13-1) was making its second state tournament and first since 1990. Senior running back Tyler Timmerman rushed for 89 yards as the Owls were held to just 155 total yards.

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Pierz edges past Dassel-Cokato in 3A

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Mattias Algarin on the carry for the Pierz Pioneers in the Class 3A Championship Game against Dassel-Cokato Saturday, Nov. 30, at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Pioneers won 28-27 with Algarin scoring the game-winning touchdown. Brainerd Dispatch photo

MINNEAPOLIS — Pierz led just twice in the Class AAA championship game, and the second was when it mattered most en route to a 28-27 come-from-behind victory over Dassel-Cokato on Saturday, Nov. 30, at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Senior running back Matthias Algarin rushed for 165 yards and scored three touchdowns, including a 3-yarder with 38 seconds left in regulation time to lift the Pioneers (14-0) to their second Class AAA crown since 2017 and fourth overall. After Algarin’s third touchdown, the Pioneers had to turn their attention to defense where they were able to hold back any late heroics by the Chargers (10-4).

In their game-winning drive, the Pioneers moved 80 yards in 13 plays and took 3 minutes, 16 seconds off the clock. The big strike was a 22-yard connection from senior quarterback Peter Schommer to Algarin down the left sideline to the 3-yard line.

In the final minute of the third quarter, Dassel -Cokato had regained the lead it lost one possession earlier when senior quarterback Sanders Asplin weaved his way 32 yards for a touchdown and a 27-22 advantage.

Pierz grabbed its first lead, 22-21, when junior running back Michael Leidenfrost scored from four yards out on the opening drive of the second half. He also tacked on the two-point conversion attempt. On the 15-play, 85-yard drive, he had five carries for 53 yards. Leidenfrost finished with 101 rushing yards.

Dassel-Cokato built a 21-14 halftime lead behind a running attack that generated 220 yards on 34 carries. Sophomore running back Eli Gillman led the way with more than half of that output with 116 yards on 11 carries. His long gain was a 71-yard touchdown run on the fourth play of the game. He also had a 37-yard touchdown reception from Asplin.

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Gillman was held in check in the second half and finished with 150 rushing yards. Asplin had 105.

It was senior back Josh DeBoer that gave Dassel-Cokato a touchdown advantage when he scored on a 3-yard run with 1:19 remaining in the second quarter.

Chaska tops St. Thomas Academy for 5A title

MINNEAPOLIS — For much of Saturday afternoon’s Class 5A state championship football game, the St. Thomas Academy defense managed to hold Chaska in check.

But the Hawks offense came through when it needed to most.

Senior Stevo Klotz scored on a 1-yard touchdown run with 42 seconds remaining, capping a 10-play, 80-yard drive that saw the Cadets called for three big defensive penalties.

That lifted Chaska to a 10-7 win at U.S. Bank Stadium and kept STA in search of its first state championship since 1975.

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The Hawks got on the board first — marching 59 yards in 11 plays on their opening possession to score on a 42-yard field goal by junior Nic Snuggerud — a kick that was just 1 yard shy of the Prep Bowl record.

But after the Cadets managed to down a punt at the Hawks’ 3-yard-line late in the first quarter, Chaska struggled with field position.

St. Thomas Academy started its next drive at the Hawks’ 39 but ended up losing 7 yards and punting. On their next possession, however, the Cadets started at the Chaska 32 and got their offense in motion.

A 19-yard run by freshman Love Adebayo helped set up a 1-yard touchdown run by junior quarterback Baker Reding.

The extra point gave St. Thomas Academy a 7-3 lead.

The Cadets again had success moving the ball on their opening drive of the second half, taking 12 plays to advance as deep as the Chaska 12 and ran almost 7 1/2 minutes off the clock before the Hawks turned them over on downs.

But senior defensive back Stephen Betts picked off Chaska quarterback Griff Wurtz three plays later.

With 2:53 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Hawks got the ball back at their own 20. A pair of pass interference calls, a targeting penalty and a 25-yard reception by senior Colden Dodds helped set up Klotz for the game-winning touchdown.


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