Caledonia senior Levi Schmitz had to think for a second or two when I posed this question to him Thursday at the Metrodome: When was the last time you guys were in a game like this?
The two-time defending Class 2A state champions had just defeated BOLD 26-24 in a game that went back and forth and wasn’t decided until the final seconds. Caledonia stretched its winning streak – the state’s longest currently – to 25 games in a row. Their last defeat was against Plainview-Elgin-Millville in the opening game of the 2011season.
So Schmitz had to think. He was surely tired at this point in the day, having returned five kickoffs, one punt, caught two passes for 77 yards and a touchdown, punted four times and recorded seven tackles. Oh, he also blocked a punt and recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchdown.
“Oh, uh, against Chatfield in the regular season we won 6-0 so that was close but it wasn’t the exchange of scores like this one,” he said.
Exchange of scores, indeed. Caledonia scored four touchdowns and BOLD had three touchdowns and a field goal but neither scored back-to-back points. Caledonia led 20-17 after three quarters, and sealed the victory when Alex Varney scored on a 4-yard run. Or did they? Tyler Rock scored on a short run for BOLD with 5:06 left, cutting Caledonia’s lead to 26-24. The Caledonia defense held firm after that.
It was the first time Caledonia has given up more than 14 points this season. Last season they have up more than 14 only twice. So seeing an opponent hang two dozen points on the board was something new.
“They had drives, we had drives, but in the last five minutes we dug deep, we had passion and heart and we came out on top,” Varney said.
--In the second 2A semifinal, Moose Lake/Willow River beat Jackson County Central 27-20. A key touchdown was scored by Moose Lake’s Jake Disterhaupt on a 28-yard second-quarter run that put the Rebels ahead 20-13.
When Caledonia and Moose Lake/Willow River meet in the Prep Bowl the day after Thanksgiving, it will be a familiar matchup. Last year Caledonia beat the Rebels 27-0 in the Prep Bowl, and Disterhaupt is ready for the rematch.
“This meant everything to us,” he said. “We would give up anything to get another shot at Caledonia. And we got it. And we’re going to make it happen. We’re going to go out there and do our best and win a state championship.
“We’ll have to step our game up even more. Caledonia has to prove that they’re the best team in the state, and we’re going to play them and we’re going to match ourselves with them.”
Moose Lake/Willow River was also the state runner-up in 2009, losing to Waterville-Elysian Watertown in the Prep Bowl.
“It’s a great feeling getting back into the Prep Bowl,” said Disterhaupt, who rushed 20 times for 105 yards and caught five passes for 68 yards Thursday. “ We just need to go win one.”
HUTCHINSON ADVANCES IN CLASS 4A
Hutchinson, which is no stranger to the state playoffs, led 21-7 at halftime and defeated Becker 28-14. The Tigers will play in the Prep Bowl against the winner of Friday’s Princeton-Holy Family Catholic game. Hutchinson outgained Becker 443-16 on the ground.
I had guessed that Becker and Hutchinson had probably faced each other several times, including in the Metrodome. But no. Coaches Andy Rostberg of Hutchinson and Dwight Lundeen of Becker said this was their first meeting.
Hutchinson is making its 20th appearance in the state playoffs and the Tigers won state championships in 1983, 1984 and 1998 and took second in 2003. Becker was making its 13th state appearance. The Bulldogs won a championship in 2005 and finished second in1990, 1994, 2001 and 2006.
LAKEVILLE NORTH TOPS ROSEMOUNT IN 6A
Jamiah Newell scored two touchdowns and rushed 14 times for 103 yards as Lakeville North moved to the Prep Bowl with a 28-7 victory over Rosemount in a battle of South Suburban Conference teams.
North outgained Rosemount 181-20 on the ground and 148-83 through the air. The Panthers will face either Wayzata or Eden Prairie in the Prep Bowl; those teams will meet Friday night.
--This has been a big fall season for Caledonia, and especially for the Fruechte family. Carl Feuechte is an assistant football coach (and former head coach) whose son Isaac is a wide receiver at the University of Minnesota. While the Gophers were clinching a bowl berth last Saturday, Maria Fruechte was helping the Caledonia volleyball team finish as the Class 2A state runner-up. Maria will play collegiate volleyball at Iowa State.
--Other volleyball/football connections: Bethlehem Academy won the 1A volleyball title and the Cardinals’ football team will meet Dawson-Boyd in the 1A semifinals on Saturday. Lakeville North defeated Eden Prairie in the 3A volleyball title match last Saturday, and their football teams are both in the 6A semifinals.
--First pep band tune of the day: Green Day’s “Holiday” performed by the band from BOLD at 11:04 a.m. I approve.
--Photos from the football semifinals can be viewed at the MSHSL Facebook page.
Class 2A: Caledonia 26, BOLD 24
Class 2A: Moose Lake/Willow River 27, Jackson County Central 20
Class 4A: Hutchinson 28, Becker 14
Class 6A: Lakeville North 28, Rosemount 7
9 a.m./Nine-man: South Ridge (11-1) vs. Grand Meadow (11-1)
11:30 a.m./Nine-man: Goodridge/Grygla-Gatzke (10-1) vs. Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley (11-0)
2 p.m./Class 5A: St. Thomas Academy (10-1) vs. Owatonna (11-0)
4:30 p.m./Class 4A: Princeton (8-4) vs. Holy Family Catholic (9-3)
7 p.m./Class 6A: Wayzata (9-1) vs. Eden Prairie (9-2)
9 a.m./Class 1A: Dawson-Boyd (11-1) vs. Bethlehem Academy (10-2)
11:30 a.m./Class 1A: Mahnomen (12-0) vs. Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City (9-2)
2 p.m./Class 3A: Annandale (10-1) vs. Rochester Lourdes (12-0)
4:30 p.m./Class 3A: Perham (10-1) vs. Blue Earth Area (11-0)
7 p.m./Class 5A: Bemidji (9-3) vs. Totino-Grace (11-0)
BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 323
*Miles John has driven: 4,543
(*During the 2012-13 school year)
--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of www.mshsl.org. John Millea is on Twitter @MSHSLjohn