After the Class 4A football teams from Winona and Rocori had finished a momentous state semifinal Friday evening at U.S. Bank Stadium, everyone in attendance looked at someone else and uttered words along these lines: “Can you believe what we just saw!”
It was quite non-believable. If you consider ping-pong to be a back-and-forth sporting endeavor, this was way beyond that. This was more of an amusement-park ride, a big one, a ride that is not for the squeamish, not for the faint of heart. This was a truly wild ride.
“It was like a roller coaster,” said Winona coach Jeff Cassellius after his team escaped with a 34-30 victory and a spot opposite Benilde-St. Margaret’s in next Friday’s 4A Prep Bowl game.
There were big plays and big miscues. The teams combined for 11 turnovers: Winona (11-1) lost two fumbles and threw three interceptions, while the Spartans (9-4) lost four fumbles and threw two interceptions.
Robert Warren was a hero for Winona. He rushed 17 times for 224 yards and touchdowns of 71 and 54 yards. The Winhawks ran for 284 yards while Rocori passed for 309. In total, they combined for 894 yards; 444 for Winona and 450 for Rocori.
Rocori quarterback Connor Schoborg completed 31 of 42 passes, two for touchdowns. Gunner Feldhege caught 10 passes for 87 yards.
What pulls a team through in a wild game like this one?
“I think it’s just that family that we talk about, that brotherhood,” Cassellius said. “Believing in each other and getting after it, that sacrifice they’re willing to make for one another.
“It was like the best roller coaster in the world. Up and down and around and around. When we got off, we were still smiling.”State Football Semifinals
Nine-Man/ Cleveland/Immanuel Lutheran 38, Cromwell-Wright 29
Class 2A/ Eden Valley-Watkins 46, Maple River 13
Class 4A/ Benilde-St. Margaret’s 44, Marshall 34
Class 6A/ Totino-Grace 21, Blaine 20 Friday
Nine-Man/ Grand Meadow 35, Waubun 0
Class 2A/ Caledonia 55, Barnesville 20
Class 5A/ Elk River 19, Owatonna 7
Class 4A/ Winona 34, Rocori 30
Class 6A/ Eden Prairie (10-1) vs. Champlin Park (8-3) Saturday
9 a.m. Class 1A/ Rushford-Peterson (11-1) vs. Browerville/Eagle Valley (9-3)
11:30 a.m. Class 1A/ Minneapolis North (11-0) vs. Wabasso (11-1)
2 p.m. Class 3A/ Rochester Lourdes (11-0) vs. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (11-1)
4:30 p.m. Class 3A/ St. Croix Lutheran (11-0) vs. Pierz (10-1)
7 p.m. Class 5A/ Mankato West (11-0) vs. Spring Lake Park (11-0)
Tickets can be purchased in advance at mshsl.org/tickets and will be available at U.S. Bank Stadium all three days at the northwest corner of the stadium
Ticket prices for the state semifinals as well as the Prep Bowl games on Nov. 25-26 are $14 for adults and $9 for students. Each ticket is good for all games that day.
BY THE NUMBERS
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