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Posted by Guest (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 11/26/2011 4:25:08 PM

By Luke Sleeper

Two high-powered offenses took the Metrodome field Saturday in the 3A state championship game. St. Croix Lutheran had averaged more than 50 points per game this season with a speedy option offense, while Fairmont got to the Prep Bowl by putting up big numbers in the passing game. These offenses didn’t disappoint, as St. Croix Lutheran finished off its undefeated season by surviving a late charge from the Cardinals and winning 34-32.

Fairmont played the championship game without one of its best players, wide receiver Adam Schultz, who was ejected from last week’s semifinal game for throwing a punch. Despite being without his favorite target, quarterback Ben Kain managed to turn in one of the best performances in the tournament, throwing for 338 yards and four touchdowns. Picking up the slack for Schultz was Bryce Holm and Alex Borchardt, who had 163 and 115 receiving yards, respectively.

Behind the strong running tandem of Wesley Tucker and Jackson Golpen, St. Croix Lutheran had little problem moving the ball. Each of the touchdowns scored by the two running backs were 30 yards or more, including a big 36-yard run by Golpen to make the score 36-28 late in the fourth quarter.

Minutes earlier, the Crusaders were down by four points after Holm caught his third touchdown pass of the game. With under four minutes left on the clock, St. Croix called one of only seven passing plays all game, a fake double reverse that allowed quarterback Matt Olson to find a wide-open Golpen in the end zone.

Kain led a valiant last-minute Fairmont drive to attempt to tie the score and force overtime, hitting Borchardt and Holm several times en route to a touchdown with just eight seconds left. Forced to go for two, Kain’s pass attempt was batted up in the air and fell to the ground, along with the Cardinals’ championship dreams.

St. Croix Lutheran won its first state title. Tucker and Golpen not only led the charge on offense, but on defense as well; each player had eight tackles.

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


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