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Posted by Guest (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 11/19/2011 7:22:04 PM

By Luke Sleeper

Fifty-nine points were scored in the first quarter of Saturday’s Class 3A state football semifinal game between St. Croix Lutheran and Providence Academy. Both teams scored touchdowns on each of its possessions in the first quarter, ultimately resulting in a 30-29 lead for St. Croix after the Crusaders forced a Providence turnover on downs several minutes into the second quarter.

The St. Croix option offense was in full force, thanks to some inspired play from running backs Wesley Tucker (179 yards) and Jackson Goplen (153) and quarterback Matt Olson (94), who combined for 426 rushing yards. Those results are even more impressive considering that each player also starts on defense.

“Trust me, I was pretty winded out there,” Tucker admitted. “Once we made a couple of tweaks on defense, we were able to make some stops and pull away.”

St. Croix did make the correct tweaks, as the Crusaders shut out the Providence offense the rest of the game after giving up 29 points in the first quarter. Providence’s touchdowns came on big plays, including an 83-yard kickoff return by Sam Pellegrene and a 68-yard scoring run by Marshall Klitzke.

The St. Croix offense gained 675 yards, which included 241 passing yards and three touchdowns by Olson. Goplen, Cody Sticha and Daniel Mackenthun were on the receiving end of the passing scores.

The Crusaders advance to the Prep Bowl, where they will face Fairmont next Saturday at noon.

--Luke Sleeper is a journalism student at the University of Minnesota


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