Thursday, December 7, 2017

Groves Academy Griffins Get First Win

The Groves Academy Griffins were to the max Thursday night as Max Bilcik scored a game high 23 points to lead them to an 86-58 win over the Academy for Sciences and Agriculture Eagles in St. Louis Park.

The Griffins came to life like Frosty the Snowman in the first half, starting the game on an 8-0 run.  Bilcik began the scoring :22 into the first half, followed by a free throw from Malik Bodden .  Larry Mohamed also scored as well as Nick Maiers.  Jake Colestock would put the Eagles on the board with a free throw but they went chilly from the field while Groves heated up, going on an 11-0 run.  Bilcik would get into foul trouble, picking up his third foul with 10:47 left in the half.  Maiers would put on an outstanding shooting display with four first half three pointers that helped Groves Academy lead 44-31 at halftime.

The second half would begin just like the first half though the Griffins would go on an 11-0 run that would end by Colestock.  There would be some life for AFSA as Adam Labrie would score four straight points.  DeAndre Mason would later score six consecutive points.  The night, however belonged to Bilcik as he put on an outstanding display of offense as well as defense.  He would block a couple of shots, including one from Colestock.  On the offensive side, he had a stretch of five straight points that would help clinch the win.

Other players in double figures for the Griffins were Bodden with 17 points, Maiers with 16 and Hall contributed 11.  DeAndre Mason led the Eagles with 21 points.  Colestock added 15 points and Labrie scored 10.

Groves Academy improved their record to 1-1 and returns to action on Tuesday, December 12 as they continue their season opening four game home stand against the Hmong Academy Warriors at 6 PM.  AFSA fell to 1-2 and will travel to White Bear Lake on Friday, December 8 to face the Liberty Classical Academy Lions at 7:30 PM.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

West Lutheran Warriors Wallop Groves Academy Griffins

The West Lutheran Warriors came east to St. Louis Park to open the 2017-18 boys basketball season and got a game high 17 points from Brett Vollrath to lead them to a 89-41 win over the Groves Academy Griffins Tuesday night.

The Warriors began the scoring :22 into the game on a basket from Troy Kokkinen.  Malik Bodden tied the game for the Griffins before Vollrath's three pointer and Jordan Lauria's inside basket put West Lutheran on a 5-0 run.  The Warriors would also go on an 11-0 run as they got a balanced scoring attack that also included a three pointer by Josh Englert.  As West Lutheran forged ahead on this cold Tuesday night, there was a bright spot in the first half for Groves Academy when Larry Mohamed hit a pair of three pointers and Max Bilcik would hit one from Highway 100.  But the Griffins couldn't get close and the Warriors led at halftime 43-25.

Tommy Warren would begin the second half scoring for the Warriors :28 into the half.  Lauria would put them on a 4-0 run as West Lutheran used there speed and outstanding passing to distance them from the Griffins.  Groves Academy would get five consecutive points from Bodden but he would foul out as well as Bilcik that would leave the Griffins depleted on offense as the game would eventually go into running time and both teams would get an opportunity to use their reserves.

Ten players would score for West Lutheran.  The only players who didn't record a point were Colin Shanahan and Zach Smith.  Other player in double figures for the Warriors were Kokkinen with 15, Phillip Ellis with 14 points and Lauria added 12.  Bodden was the only Griffin in double figures with a game high 19 points.

West Lutheran begins the season 1-0 and will head to New Ulm on Friday, December 8 to play in the Martin Luther College Tournament against the Minnesota Valley Lutheran Chargers at 6:30 PM.  Groves Academy falls to 0-1 and returns to action on Thursday, December 7 as they host the Academy for Science and Agriculture Eagles at 7 PM.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Owatonna Huskies Win Class AAAAA Title

The defending Class AAAAA champion Elk River Elks run oriented offense got grounded by a monumental game from Jason Williamson as he scored six touchdowns to lead the Owatonna Huskies to a 63-26 win in the championship game Saturday in the 2017 Prep Bowl at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

It was the second state title for the southern Minnesota school in their seventh trip to state.  Their last state title came in the final Prep Bowl game played at the Metrodome in 2013 with a win over the Brainerd Warriors.

Both teams would tally in the first quarter.  The Huskies scored on Williamson's 33 yard run.  The Elks would reach the end zone following an encroachment penalty that would put them first and goal at the Owatonna five yard line and a one yard touchdown run from Arik Nordenstrom.

The Elks would take the lead on Adam Nelson's 39 yard run :08 into the second quarter.  It would be the last time Elk River would be ahead because on the kickoff, Williamson would return the ball 67 yards for a touchdown to put the Huskies ahead.  The junior running back would also score on a nine yard run.  Owatonna would conclude the first half scoring as Alex Raichle recovered an Elk River fumble and quarterback Abe Havelka scored on a five yard keeper to give the Huskies a 28-14 halftime lead.

In the third quarter, Williamson would open the scoring as he ran down the right side of the field and scored from 43 yards.  Defense also played a role for Owatonna when Alex Raichle recovered an Elk River fumble and scored a 29 yard touchdown.  Williamson would make his fifth trip to the end zone on a nine yard touchdown run.  But lo and behold, the Elks would end the Huskies run of 42 unanswered points as Nelson scampered down the center of the field for a 78 yard touchdown with 1:41 left and Owatonna led 49-20 after the third quarter.

Williamson was not done in the fourth quarter.  After a 39 yard gain where he broke through four Elk River tackles, he would score on a five yard run 1:32 into the quarter.  The Elks would score their first Prep Bowl touchdown in eight quarters on a passing play as Mitchell Stroh threw a 25 yard touchdown pass to Devon Garrison.  The Huskies would also go deep to end the scoring on Havelka's 53 yard touchdown pass to Noah Budach to send the game into running time.

Williamson led the Huskies with 23 carries for 213 yards.  He also caught three passes for 54 yards.  Nelson led the Elks with 17 carries for 172 yards.

Owatonna ended their season with a 12-1 record and Elk River finished with a record of 11-2.

The attendance for the two day Prep Bowl was 37, 454.

Pierz Pioneers Pound St. Croix Lutheran Crusaders for Class AAA Title

Reese Kapsner ran for three touchdowns and Jalen Jansen added two more to lead the Pierz Pioneers to a 34-21 win over the St. Croix Lutheran Crusaders 34-21 Saturday afternoon in the Class AAA championship game in the 2017 Prep Bowl at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

It was the third state title for the Pioneers in their 14th trip to state.  Last time Pierz won a state championship was 2015 when the Prep Bowl was held at TCF Bank Stadium.

Neither team would score in the first quarter.  The Pioneers would break the scoreless tie in the second quarter following a fourth down Crusader fumble that was recovered by Teryl Scholl and Jansen would cash in with a 52 yard touchdown run up the middle.  Kapsner would put Pierz up by 14 as he would cut to the left side and score from 38 yards.  St. Croix Lutheran would get on the scoreboard as James Chermohorsky ran like he was headed to Chicago Ave. and scored a 58 yard touchdown run.  Pierz would wrap up the first half scoring on Jansen's 49 yard run to the right side with 2:52 left and the Pioneers would lead at halftime 21-7.

Following a turnover plagued first half, it looked like the Crusaders would bounce back as quarterback Jonathan Liesener would throw a 21 yard touchdown pass on fourth and goal to Garett Maag, capping a 7:54 drive.

But fumbleitis would be St. Croix Lutheran's undoing in the fourth quarter as Kapsner would go around left end and score from 10 yards and he would recover a Crusader fumble and score his third touchdown of the game on a one yard run.  Mike Stern would wrap up the scoring for St. Croix Lutheran on a one yard run.

Pierz was led by Jansen who ran 16 times for 178 yards and Kapsner with 20 carries for 128 yards.  St. Croix Lutheran was led by Chermohorsky with 13 rushes for 92 yards.

The Pioneers conclude the season with a 13-0 record and the Crusaders conclude the season with a record of 12-1.

Seven State Titles for Minneota Vikings

A Southwestern Minnesota Shootout opened up the Saturday session of the 2017 Prep Bowl that featured Isaac Hennen rushing for 291 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Minneota Vikings to a 28-13 win over the Wabasso Rabbits in the Class A championship game at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

It was the seventh state championship and third in the last four years for the Vikings who played in their 14th state tournament.

Isaac Hennen almost gave Minneota the early lead but his touchdown run was called by due to an illegal shift penalty.  The Rabbits would strike first as Nick Altermatt blocked Alex Pohlen's punt and Isaac Schmiesing recovered the ball at the Viking two yard line.  Two plays later, Cooper Taylor scored on a one yard touchdown run to put Wabasso ahead 7-0.

Cooper Taylor had an opportunity to increase the Rabbits lead with a 40 yard gain but they would lose the ball to the Vikings on downs.  It was Isaac Hennen who would reach the end zone from 24 yards to tie the game at seven and that would be the result at halftime.

Minneota would take the lead in the third quarter on Pohlen's one yard keeper touchdown.

Wabasso would tie the game at 13 in the fourth quarter on Kyle Jacobson's one yard touchdown run :37 into the quarter.  Could the Rabbits eventually win their first state title?  It wouldn't happen as Isaac Hennen went around left end and ran like he was headed to the light rail tracks and scored a 54 yard touchdown to put Minneota in front and he would send the blue and gold faithful home happy scoring a 15 yard touchdown with 2:22 left in the game.

Cooper Taylor led Wabasso with 16 carries for 74 yards.

The Vikings concluded their season with a 14-0 record and the Rabbits with a record of 13-1.

Friday, November 24, 2017

It's State Title Number 11 For Eden Prairie Eagles

Antonio Montero, the StarTribune's Metro Player of the Year put on a show for the large throng in attendance Friday night as he scored three touchdowns and booted a field goal to lead the Eden Prairie Eagles to a 38-17 win over the Minnetonka Skippers in the Class 6A championship game in the 2017 Prep Bowl at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

It was the 11th state championship for the Mike Grant led Eagles in their 21st trip to state. The game was a rematch of a game played October 13 that the Eagles won 39-21.

Solo Faliniko was an asset in Eden Prairie's first touchdown.  He gained 12 yards to set up first and goal at the Minnetonka seven yard line.  He reached the end zone on his next carry.  It looked like Grant Harstad would score the Eagles net touchdown.  But the replay official ruled that he was stopped at the one yard line which would enable Montero to score on a one yard run.  The Skippers would get on the scoreboard on a 21 yard field goal from Grant Altman and the Eagles led 14-3 at the end of the first quarter.

Montero would open the second quarter scoring for Eden Prairie with his second one yard touchdown.  Aaron Syverson's 33 yard touchdown pass to Owen Freese would trim the Eagles lead to 21-10.  Defense would also prevail for Eden Prairie as Kyler Kluge would intercept a Syverson pass.  Montero would also excel with his foot as he sent the ball toward the goal posts and it would go over from 42 yards with :44 left in the half.  The Skippers had the last possession of the first half so Syverson threw a long pass toward the end zone and Jackson Owens would make a great catch as the clock hit 0:00 and Eden Prairie led 21-17 at halftime.

Running back depth has been the key to the Eagles success and it showed when DJ Johnson ran left side six yards for the lone third quarter touchdown.

Montero would wrap up the scoring and his Eden Prairie football career with a one yard touchdown run.  With the game decided late in the fourth quarter.  Grant gave the reserve players a chance to shine on the US Bank Stadium turf.

The Eagles ended their season with a 13-0 record and the Skippers finish with a record of 11-2.

Holy Angels Stars Win Class AAAA Championship

Despite committing five turnovers, the Holy Angels Stars still managed to reach the end zone on a touchdown pass from Joseph Heimbold and a run from Thomas Shelstad that propelled them to a 14-0 win over the unbeaten Cloquet Lumberjacks Friday night in the Class AAAA championship in the 2017 Prep Bowl at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

It was the first state title for the Richfield school in their sixth state tournament appearance.

Both teams had trouble reaching the end zone in the first quarter.  The Stars lost their first possession on a fumble that was recovered by the Lumberjacks.  Cloquet couldn't convert on fourth and five so the ball went back to Holy Angels.  There would be good news for the blue clad Stars fans when Heimbold threw a 46 yard touchdown pass to Ryan Mazurek and they would go up 7-0.

The margin would remain at seven the remainder of the first half.  Holy Angels would attempt a field goal but an errant snap turned into a pass play for holder Jason Kraus as he completed a pass to Reed Lewis for a first down.  The Stars would get another field goal opportunity but Aaron Sanchez's kick bounced off the right upright.  Shelstad would score from one yard with :58 left to eventually wrap up the scoring.  The Lumberjacks had a chance to get on the scoreboard as Tim Pokornowski had a 19 yard keeper run but his pass on fourth and goal was incomplete.

Shelstad would lead Holy Angels with 15 carries for 91 yards.  Tim Pokornowski gained 113 yards on 22 carries.

The Stars wrapped up their season with a 12-1 record and Cloquet ended their year with an identical record of 12-1.